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On the morning of May 6th, local supporters of the Peartree Preschool, founded by Denise Adusei ’10, gathered to inaugurate the opening of the new eco-preschool in Harlem. The ribbon cutting festivities were hosted by the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone (UMEZ), a corporation that supports the economic sustainability of communities in Upper Manhattan through job creation, corporate alliances, strategic investments and small business assistance.
Elected City Officials including Council member Robert Jackson, Senator Bill Perkins, and Congressman Charles Rangel, as well as representatives from UMEZ and Columbia University, were in attendance. Ken Knuckles, the UMEZ President and CEO, welcomed everyone to the ceremony. “This is a space that will have an impact for many generations of young children to come,” said Ken of the pre-school. “Denise is a mother on a mission who believes we should take great care in building schools that are a safe, creative and nurturing environment for which our neighborhood children can inspire and grow. We are proud to be a part of that mission.”
Denise expressed gratitude to her investors which include UMEZ, The New York Public Library, The Eugene M. Lang Entrepreneurial Initiative Fund, The New York Business Project Corporation and Jalia Ventures, a capital fund co-founded by Kesha Cash ’10 while she was still a business school student. “I did not do this alone,” Denise said. “I believe in Harlem and believe that when we all come together – from local vendors, to Columbia, UMEZ, the New York Business Fund, and Jalia Ventures who provided our first seed capital – we can have an impact in our community like we have through the building of this much-needed school.”
Denise is also a member of the Columbia Community Business Program, a program that supports the growth and development of for-profit businesses in Upper Manhattan. She credits Columbia’s support for providing the guidance she needed to move forward with her pre-school. “The opening of this school is a shining example of what we can do when we collaborate and work to support our community, and for that I am most grateful,” Denise added.
Sabin Streeter ’67, represented the Lang Fund at the ceremony. The fund was established by Eugene Lang ’40 to foster an entrepreneurial environment at Columbia Business School by providing early stage investing opportunities to qualifying student business initiatives. ”Denise is a true hero,” Sabin stressed, “as this school would never have been established without her leadership. This is a very special place with a very special leader and the Lang Fund feels privileged to be a part of it.”
Congressman Charlie Rangel, who led the ribbon-cutting proceedings (view photos), echoed the sentiments expressed by all at the ceremony. “There is no limit to what a child can do once exposed to a quality education early on,” the congressman said. “These kids are lucky and we can all get a spiritual uplift from knowing we played a small part in making this opportunity happen.”
Peartree PreSchool is currently accepting applications for the fall 2013. To learn more, visit www.peartreenyc.com.
About Peartree Preschool
Peartree Preschool showcases a community's commitment to its children and their future, who in turn learn from an early age the importance of being responsible stewards of their community and the larger world. The school’s philosophy is learning through play, which they believe is essential in child development. The curriculum, which provides a balanced preschool program, is guided by Bank Street’s Developmental Interactive approach to early childhood and New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene standards.
The Peartree facility features ample clean air and sunlight, along with zero toxic materials and harmful chemicals.
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