Thursday, December 23, 2010

New York Children Caught in the Cycle of Poverty

When Children Are Caught in the Cycle of Poverty
Mascia, Jennifer. New York Times, Dec. 18, 2010.

The economic collapse has taken a toll on vast segments of society, but it has affected some groups disproportionately. Among those are children.

In New York City, 30 percent of children are living in poverty. One out of every five children relies on local food banks or pantries for sustenance, and of these children, 79 percent rely on the National School Lunch Program.

Poverty stymies performance in school and negatively affects mental and physical health, experts say. Poor children have higher rates of asthma, are more likely to suffer a higher rate of cognitive delays and developmental disorders.

Absent intervention, these children will face great difficulty in transcending the disadvantages of their early lives and, as adults, are likely to perpetuate a cycle of poverty that has consumed generations in areas like East New York, Brooklyn; Jamaica, Queens; Morrisania in the Bronx; East Harlem; and Port Richmond on Staten Island.

Such an outcome is not acceptable to advocates like Richard R. Buery Jr., president and chief executive of the Children’s Aid Society, who said, “Those who love our country, and believe in its ideals, cannot be satisfied until the promise of equal opportunity is made true for all of our children.”

Christmas Wish: No New York youth sleeping on the streets this winter

Kids shoudn't have to live on the street. Help us bring them inside. Donate.

Covenant House was founded 38 years ago with the mission to help homeless teens and young adults get off the street and into productive lives.

They serve as a refuge to:
  • young people who are running from abuse at home
  • youth who've been kicked out of the house (often because of their sexual orientation)
  • young people who "age out" of the foster care system at age 18 and face the adult world alone.
Covenant House connects these young people with:
  • Shelter, including a transitional housing program
  • Access to medical care
  • Coaching in basic life skills 
  • Opportunities to finish high school
  • Resources for job skill development
Staff work with youth on developing a long-term plan for their lives.

Covenant House's Transitional Housing Program: Youth pay rent to Covenant House for their apartment, and after 12-18 months when they graduate from the program, they are given ALL of their rent to help them to put a deposit on an apartment and set up a household.

My Christmas wish: No kid sleeping on the street this winter. Can you help Covenant House make it real? Donate.