AT&T gives $100k to nonprofit in LIC

Students from Long Island City's Academy of Finance and Enterprise were present as AT&T gave $110,000 to Junior Achievement of New York. Both the business and nonprofit team up for enrichment programs for Academy students. Photo by Rebecca Henely
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Communications company AT&T visited Long Island City’s Academy of Finance and Enterprise earlier this month to give a $110,000 check to the nonprofit Junior Achievement of New York.

The money, which AT&T raised through its employees and corporate sponsors, will help fund Junior Achievement’s programs throughout the city and Long Island, which enable high school students to meet business people in their classrooms as well as shadow them in the workplace and get real-life experience.

“We have a responsibility as a corporation to help prepare people like you,” Tom DeVito, vice president and general manager of AT&T’s New York and New Jersey region, told the academy students at the presentation March 22.

Gilberto Vega, principal of the academy, said the institution has participated in the Job Shadow program since the school was created seven years ago.

“These are two of our best partners in both areas,” said Joe Peri, president of Junior Achievement, of the academy and AT&T.

DeVito said the company is involved in multiple programs across various communities aimed at giving high school students a leg up on their careers. He said more than 300 employees and various corporate partners helped raise the $110,000 for Junior Achievement.

Peri said the grant from AT&T will benefit multiple schools in the New York City area, but the academy was chosen as the place to hold the ceremony because it was one of the nonprofit’s best partner schools.

“We thought it was a great fit to really celebrate together,” he said.

Vega said almost all students at the academy, in one of LaGuardia Community College’s buildings, at 30-20 Thomson Ave., participate in Junior Achievement’s programs. He said the Job Shadow program helps students understand the options available to them.

“It allows them to make informed decisions about what they want to do,” he said.

Junior Achievement also has programs on entrepreneurship, financial literacy and college readiness, Peri said.

Daniella Charis, a ninth-grade student at the academy, said through the Job Shadow program she went to an AT&T store on Flushing’s Main Street and got to observe the employees at work.

Another ninth-grader, Richard Torrenegra, said when he did the job shadowing at an AT&T store, he met both the district manager — who was one of the youngest to be a manager — and door-greeters.

The district manager told Richard he had started as a door-greeter.

“I learned to get to the top, everyone must start somewhere,” Richard said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Updated 8:48 am, April 9, 2012
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