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NYC Debate Exec: ‘We Look Past Wins And Losses To Focus On Life Outcomes’

Diverse, informed and courageous leaders

November 14, 2023 (newsweek.com) – Amisha Mody Mehta is the executive director of the New York City Urban Debate League (NYCUDL). She has been involved in the NYCUDL since 2014 as a parent, volunteer and coach and spends much of her time at the league working on concrete ways to make debate more accessible to New York City’s most underserved students at all levels. She has also done significant work to create relationships and opportunities for the League and our students in the legal and finance community.

The holiday season provides us with an opportunity to reflect on all that we have to be grateful for and share that with the world. I am grateful for our incredible New York City Urban Debate League family. I first encountered this community nearly 10 years ago, when my own children participated in the NYCUDL’s summer camp. Then rising third and sixth graders, they were excited to debate in a league that was fun, safe and filled with love. A decade later, it has been my honor to witness and steward the NYCUDL’s incredible work as a parent, Board Member and Executive Director.

I am grateful to have seen my NYCUDL family grow. The League started in 2011 with a goal of getting just 100 students to debate. Last year, we served 3,100 young people who attend over 200 schools across all five boroughs of New York City. Over 80 percent of our students are students of color and over 80 percent come from schools where 50 percent of students or more qualify for free or reduced lunch. I am grateful for the many partners that helped open the doors for students of all levels to join the NYCUDL community. Our collaboration with NYC Public Schools—including Districts 7, 9, 15, 16, and the Literacy Collaborative—helped us to bring debate to underserved students across the city.

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