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Citicorp, an international banking institution with 600 jobs in our area, was introduced to West Hertel Academy through a program called "Principal for a Day." Citicorp then "adopted" our school.

The greatest challenge was to bring parents into the school community. Our children are bused in from the inner city, and this hampers parental contact. Many are being raised by single parents, grandparents or foster parents, and the majority come from homes that lack the financial means to accommodate transportation to school. Some families struggle to put food on the table.

And many parents feel educationally inadequate and find it hard to relate to school personnel and their child's education.

Citicorp began sponsoring shuttle buses to bring parents to school for various social andacademic events in order to enforce the family unit. It has also introduced students to the arts. It has initiated incentive programs for our children, and contests to encourage the artistic and academic ability in so many of our students that would otherwise not be recognized.

Many students fall by the wayside because of their social conditions. Hopelessness breeds low self-esteem. We must do all that we can to bring structure to our students and their families in order to help them make educated choices. We all have something to contribute to help rebuild Buffalo and build a strong foundation for our future.

With guidance, caring and parental and community input, children become smarter, better listeners, more inspired, more respectful and more enthusiastic in their learning. Their self-esteem soars when they have a purpose.

We must do everything in our power to keep businesses in Western New York. The key to our future is working together.

We look forward to the day when all of our parents put forth the effort to be a part of our school community. Citicorp has listened to our needs and worked with us to bring all of our efforts together.

Judy Parlato

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