2014: Robin Hood Teen Council, by Johanna Zwirner

The Robin Hood Foundation is a wonderful philanthropic organization that offers outreach to teens seeking to learn more about poverty in New York City. Throughout the duration of the 2013/2014 school year, I attended monthly Teen Council meetings at the Robin Hood headquarters. I learned an incredible amount this year, being present for visits from food pantries such as P.O.T.S. in the Bronx to watching the acclaimed documentary “A Place at the Table.” All of these meetings allowed me to expand my knowledge of poverty beyond the statistics.

Robin Hood strives to show the members of its Teen Council that poverty is not just comprised of the people we see on the streets of New York or in the subway begging. It is single mothers struggling to make enough money to vanquish food insecurity; it is families going from shelter to dangerous shelter; its teenaged contingent is 40% LGBTQ teens who were abused or discriminated against in the very own homes, and teens who ran away from home and, after surfing couches, had to find a roof to sleep under more permanently. Poverty is an epidemic in America, and with it comes food insecurity and obesity from eating unhealthy  foods when families are simply unable to afford the healthy alternatives.

Last summer I attended the Robin Hood Fellows program, a week-long exploration of poverty  that is made up of tours of different sites whose common mission was to teach people more about poverty in New York City, or to provide jobs for those who needed them. I plan to take part in this program again this summer.

Robin Hood has truly expanded my base of knowledge regarding poverty in the city I have called home for 17 years. I am so happy to have been able to be a part of it this year, and I hope to continue as a part of it next year as well.

Below is a photo of our last Teen Council meeting for this school year.

Robin Hood Teen Council Last Meeting 2014

2 thoughts on “2014: Robin Hood Teen Council, by Johanna Zwirner

  1. Johanna, I so appreciate reading this description of your involvement with the Robin Hood program. I understand it was a significant commitment of time and thought. I am moved by your paragraph in which you give a human face (human faces, actually) to poverty. I look forward to hearing more about this if you continue to work with the Robin Hood organization in the future. Great photo!

  2. Dear Johanna,

    I was wondering how I could become involved in the Robinhood Teen Council. I am currently working on a project involving homelessness in NYC. Thanks!

    -Mary Kate Viceconte

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