Estel Fonseca joined the Mount Hope staff 15 years ago with the mission to establish and implement a $ 3million dollar federally funded, multi-year, multi-component targeted to provide educational services to youth in Community District # 5. She named the department: Project R.E.A.D.Y. (Resources for Employment and Academic Development for Youth). Within the first 6 months of her tenure, Ms. Fonseca launched multiple program components including: GED classes, College and Career Readiness Program, After School and Summer Programs and Construction and Computer Training classes.
Over the years, additional programs were developed. The Adult and Senior computer training classes were quite popular and would still be in operation if not for funding constraints. Prior to the construction of the Mount Hope Community Center, several activities were held in the streets including the Playstreet (a summer camp program) and Winterfest (a toy give-a way and holiday block party) to which hundreds of children, parents, community residents and local organizations participated annually.
Once established at the Mount Hope Community Center, the project READY staff and program participants took on the challenge to eliminate graffiti from the community by creating two wall murals: the first was designed as an homage to the mothers of the community and the second focused on children at play. It a testament to the appreciation and esteem to which these art pieces are held by community residents, that they have remained intact and unmarred for over 3 years. The goal of bringing beauty and unity to the surrounding community has been achieved.
Ms. Fonseca came to Mount Hope with and impressive and long list of accomplishments. A firm supporter of woman’s rights, she has served on the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women and was a board member on the National Displaced Homemakers Network, based in Washington, D.C. In addition, Estel founded and served as Program Director for two Displaced Homemakers Programs in New York City. Her administrative skills include: strategic planning workforce development, fundraising and development, grants management and contract compliance, budget management and analysis and outstanding track record to organize community special events.
In the Mount Hope community, she is best known for her work with youth. During her tenure hundreds of youth have found their direction, completed high school, entered college or the workforce. Ms. Fonseca has dedicated her time, energy and talents to provide the youth of the Mount Hope community the resources, tools, and information they need to develop clear and achievable goals for themselves. With the unwavering support of Ms. Fonseca and her staff, working with families over the past 15 years, the vast majority of the youth who have come through our doors, are now strong, confident productive young adults and citizens.
In addition to her dual BA degrees from Brooklyn College in Psychology and Foreign Languages, Ms. Fonseca hold a New York State SAC certificate and a Director’s Certificate, which serve as her credentials to operate programs for school youth at the Mount Hope Community Center, and certifies the center as well. However, in addition to her strong belief that education is the foundation to opening the doors to success, Ms. Fonseca credits experience as the key element that helps you to continue growing once you have passed through the door to opportunity. Drawing on life experiences, using common sense, exercising self-control, developing a strong work ethic and adopting the attitude that, “Failure is not an option” has served her well. She shares this formula with both youth and adults alike, as they strive to achieve their goals, overcome obstacles, and realize their dreams.