On Friday, members of Robin Hood’s Teen Council visited Common Ground’s Prince George residence on East 27th Street to provide education and awareness about their street outreach program as well as their transitional and permanent supportive housing programs.
Homelessness in New York City is at record levels. Every night 53,200 people sleep in New York City shelters. Shelters, while necessary in providing temporary housing, are not a long term solution for the homeless.
Common Ground’s staff opened the meeting by explaining:
“We are all really just one life event away from becoming homeless; 77% of Americans are 1 or 2 paychecks away from being homeless.”
To help demonstrate this statement, they led the teens in an exercise, “Step Across the Line.” The teens were asked a question and had to step over the line if they know someone who had experienced a given issue. Questions included: Do you know someone who has been separated from their family? Suffers a mental illness? Suffers from substance addiction? Has no health insurance? With many teens stepping over the line, they left with a better understanding of how a family or individual can find themselves homeless.
When Will Platt’s, Physical Science class at Clay Middle School in Caramel, Indiana began a unit on Roller Coasters, he decided one morning to wear a t-shirt that pictured the remains of the destroyed Jet Star roller coaster from the Jersey Shore. Little did he realize, this visual statement happened to coincide with the one year anniversary of Super Storm Sandy that devastated the East coast.
While the news channels were recapping the damage caused, his fellow students felt a new “connection” that was not realized until this year. This began a discussion of the current conditions of the areas affected and those still, one year later, in need of repair. The students wanted to help and got excited about the potential to raise money to aid relief efforts of Sandy. With the cooperation of the entire Science Department at Clay Middle School, work began to start a fundraising a campaign which raised money to send to Robin Hood to distribute as part of our Sandy Relief efforts.
Over the next few months, through various fundraising efforts, Clay Middle School raised more than 4,000 dollars for the victims of Super Storm Sandy.
Everyone at Robin Hood was so moved by the spirit of these middle school students and the generosity of a community more than 700 miles from those areas impacted by the storm. To show our appreciation we sent the school a package of Robin Hood felt hats and a thank you card signed by all of our staff members.
Recently, the staff at the school decided to have a special lunch for the students, bringing in community representatives, including one of the local channel 13 news anchors, a former Olympian, the Mayor of the City, and others, to “give a voice” to the card. At the concussion of the lunch, the Principal presented a framed display of the card for permanent display in their hallways.
These students are really making some noise not just for this cause but also for the idea of charity in general. Charitable children hopefully grow into charitable adults and surely, society could benefit from more of them.
Thank you to all of the Clay Middle School students and staff for continuing to help your friends in New York and New Jersey as they rebuild their homes, their communities and their lives.
Robin Hood’s Poverty Tracker:
We know that poverty is complex. For many New Yorkers, the lack of income is not the only obstacle they face.
To gain a more realistic view of the experience of poverty in NYC, we partnered with Columbia University’s Population Research Center to develop a first-of-its kind survey.
The first wave of results have been calculated. They show that poverty and hardship are worse for New York City residents than official measures indicate.
Explore the data at our new website: povertytracker.robinhood.org
So awesome to have brilliant #TEDactive minds help us kickstart the #RHPrize to find new #edtech solutions to raising community college grad rates. The teams brought forth great insights and ideas to build prototypes of apps! And thank you to @ideo SF for facilitating the week!
Learn more: bit.ly/RHPrize