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April 28, 2017
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JP O'Hare

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Matilda Raffa Cuomo To Receive First Liberty Partnerships Program Lifetime Achievement Award

Award Will be Presented Tonight During 13th Annual Empire Promise Youth Summit 

Drop-out Prevention Initiative Serves Approximately 13,000 Students in Grades 5-12

Matilda Raffa Cuomo will receive the first Liberty Partnerships Program Lifetime Achievement Award for her work Friday, April 28, State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia announced today. The Liberty Partnerships Program (LPP) is New York State’s only state-funded dropout prevention program directly connected to higher education which prepares students for post-secondary education and careers. Governor Mario Cuomo established LPP in 1988 to address the significantly elevated high school dropout rate among New York’s youth, and Mrs. Cuomo has been involved with the program since its inception.

“For decades, Matilda Cuomo has worked to help students embrace lives of opportunity, promise and fulfillment through innovative programs that help students transition through high school graduation to college or the workforce,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. “Mrs. Cuomo has touched countless lives through her passion for education and mentoring and lifelong dedication to service. I thank her for her work to improve the lives of so many of New York’s children.”

“Matilda Cuomo’s unanimous selection for the first Liberty Partnerships Program Lifetime Achievement Award could not be more appropriate,” Commissioner Elia said. “Her long and continuous record of support for LPP since its creation and during the initial formative years of the program helped make it the success it is today. New York’s former First Lady is a tireless advocate for New York’s children and I’m honored to recognize her lifetime achievement.”

“Nothing is more important than the success of New York State children, and the Liberty Partnerships Program has been a long-standing force for positive change,” Matilda Raffa Cuomo said. “It is an honor to continue the legacy of my husband Mario Cuomo, and I am proud to accept this distinguished award. Becoming a mentor in the NYS Mentoring Program has the power to change lives and marks the investment of a lifetime. Only by working to lift up children and families across New York, can we create a stronger, brighter future for us all.”

The first LPP Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Mrs. Cuomo as part of the 13th Annual Empire Promise Youth Summit tonight. More than 400 students, parents and staff gather over three days at the Desmond Hotel and Conference Center in Colonie, NY to participate in workshops and lectures that showcase the vast opportunities for youth and recognize the successes of program participants. Commissioner Elia will present the award to Mrs. Cuomo during the LPP Partnerships Program Lifetime Achievement Award Dinner on Friday, April 28. 

As First Lady of New York State for 12 years, Mrs. Cuomo diligently worked with state and elected officials and community leaders to establish programs to prevent child abuse, strengthen families, promote adoption for foster care children, and improve school absenteeism and retention. Her work has been invaluable and its impact can be felt even today. Mrs. Cuomo has been described as the most active First Lady in New York State’s history.

Established by Governor Mario Cuomo in 1988 to address the significantly elevated high school dropout rate among New York’s youth, the LPP is a drop-out prevention initiative that serves approximately 13,000 students in grades 5-12. The program is designed to support the successful transition of middle and high school students at-risk of dropping out of school into graduates, fully prepared for the rigors of higher education and the competitive demands of a fluid workplace in a global economy.

There are currently 41 LPP programs at higher education institutions, working in collaboration with school districts and community-based organizations, across New York State. LPP provides students with one year of continuous services which include skills assessment, tutoring, academic and personal counseling, family counseling and home visits, and mentoring programs.  

For more information, please see the NYSED LPP website.