Monday, February 8, 2016

Spotlight on Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC

Since 1904 Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City has helped over 100,000 needy children. It is one of the oldest and largest youth mentoring organizations in the United States. There are many different programs within the organization, the biggest one being the Traditional Mentoring Program, where kids aged 7-17 are paired up with an adult mentor. Other programs include the 9/11 Together We Stand Program where children who lost a parent or a close relative in the World Trade Center attacks are provided long-term help, the New American Partnership, which helps first generation youth Americans navigate a new world and culture, the Young Mothers program, which provides friends, information and resources to teenage mothers, and the FDNY Partnership Program that gives youth who lost a parent in the FDNY in the line of duty a mentor who is an active or retired firefighter, works for the FDNY or is a relative of someone in the FDNY. There are other programs, as well, that work with children in school, ones that help juveniles entangled in the criminal justice system, and ones that work with gifted students, to name a few.
The organization aims to help “children develop supportive relationships with positive role models” in order to “make a direct and lasting impact on their lives” (Big Brothers Big Sisters). Big and Littles are required to meet up at least twice a month. They can go anywhere and do anything (as long as the parent of the little is okay with it). Over the course of at least one year, the Big and Little form a relationship that helps both of them grow and learn. This relationship has been shown to have a lasting impact.
Studies that have been conducted on the Big Brother Big Sister program show unbelieveable results. According to the organization, researchers found that after spending 18 months with their Bigs, the Littles were less likely to begin using illegal drugs, begin using alcohol, skip school, skip a class, or to hit someone compared to those children who aren’t in the program. Moreover, the research showed “that the Littles were more confident of their performance in schoolwork and getting along better with their families” (Big Brothers Big Sisters).
Because of organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters needy children are given the opportunity to have a mentor and learn directly from a role model. It can help keep these children off of the streets and in school. The importance of programs such as this is clear from scientific studies conducted on participants. It just goes to show that a little bit of caring can go a long way.

Hell's Kitchen

The Atelier is located in the heart of the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood in Manhattan, the fastest growing area of the city. Also known as Clinton and Midtown West, Hell’s Kitchen stretches from 34th street up to 59th street and from Eighth Avenue to the Hudson River. It is full of residencies, businesses, companies, doctor’s offices, and fun things to do. 
With its close proximity to Broadway theaters, the Atelier in Hell’s Kitchen is the perfect conveniently located place for Broadway actors who are looking for a place to stay while they are performing. 
Hell’s Kitchen is a quaint neighborhood that is located close to many great amenities such as Columbus Circle, Central Park, Penn Station, Port Authority Bus Terminal, the High Line, The Javits Convention Center, and the Hudson River. It’s ideal for residents of the Atelier to be close by, yet slightly removed, from so many great and useful places. 
For those working in Midtown Manhattan, or really anywhere in the city, the 7-train is conveniently located just a few blocks from the Atelier, allowing you to connect to almost any other Manhattan subway line, or easily get across town. 
Currently, many people are flocking to Hell’s Kitchen, including current New York City residents that are moving from other areas of the city, even from the neighboring Chelsea neighborhood. 
Hell’s Kitchen is home to Restaurant Row, which is located on West 46th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. It got its name as the result of the abundance of restaurants that are located there. Specifically, it is known for its many ethnic restaurants. You can find food such as Caribbean, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Italian, Irish, Mexican, Thai, Afghan, Argentine, Ethiopian, Peruvian, Turkish, Indian, Pakistani, and Vietnamese. No matter what type of food you are looking to get, it is definitely near the Atelier. 
Over the course of the next few years, Hell’s Kitchen is expected to grow even more with the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project, which is a mixed-use real estate development. It is expected to consist of 16 skyscrapers that will contain new office, residential and retail space. The neighborhood will see new shopping opportunities pop up, some great new local bars, delicious restaurants, more parks, a cultural center and additional schools come into being over the next few years, As part of this revitalization, the 7 train was extended to the 34th Street- Hudson Yards Station, at 34th Street and 11th Avenue. 
With the upgrades that have already happened and the planned renovations for the neighborhood, it is clear that Hell’s Kitchen is the perfect neighborhood to be in. The residents at the Atelier have everything they need within a short distance away. The amenities just keep piling up!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Facts About Child Homelessness in New York City

There is no accurate measure of the population of New York City’s unsheltered homeless. As a result, we aren’t able to truly gauge the homeless problem. Nevertheless, as a result of the people living in shelters and educated estimates, we are able to get what we believe to be an accurate representation. Child homeless makes up a large percentage of the New York City homeless population. Almost forty percent of homeless people in New York City are children (The Children’s Aid Society). According to the Huffington Post, as of March 2015 there are a record number of homeless children in New York City. The Coalition for the Homeless has found that there are nearly 42,000 homeless New York City children, 23,912 of which are part of homeless families.

Homelessness affects every aspect of a child’s life. According to the Family Housing Fund, “the experience of homelessness inhibits the physical, emotional, cognitive, social, and behavioral development of children”. Children born into homelessness are at a greater risk of death and are more likely to miss out on receiving essential immunizations. If a child stays homeless into their toddler years they are more likely to show significant developmental delays, which have been shown to influence behavioral and emotional problems later in life.

Being homeless when you reach school-aged is detrimental as well. A report made using data from the New York City education department showed that in 2015 there were homeless students in every school district across the city and that the number of New York City school children who are living in homeless shelters or temporary housing has significantly increased in the past few years. Life for these school aged children is tough. Since they have to worry about where they will sleep that night and how they will get basic necessities to survive, their focus isn’t on school. The report found that thirty-eight percent of these homeless school-bound children are chronically absent. Moreover, their grades suffer. In the 2013-2014 school year only about 17% of homeless students passed the 3rd and 8th grade math exams, compared to 35.2% of students citywide who passed.

Frequently moving and constant instability can really take a toll on children in other ways as well. Many homeless children suffer from chronic health problems and stress. They are also more likely to grow up and form addition problems. Additionally, homeless children are more susceptible to hunger, abuse and human trafficking.

The sheer number of homeless children in New York City is staggering. Research has shown that being homeless is detrimental in many ways for anyone, but it is especially bad for children. What can you do to help? Check out one of my earlier blog posts about organizations that help the homeless children of New York City to see how you can get involved and make a difference!