At the beginning of the summer I was invited to participate in a Robin Hood Fellowship. This program lasted for a week and focused on fighting poverty. On one of the days we went to an early childhood center in Staten Island, GABI (Group Attachment Based Intervention), and got to interact with kids and mothers there. Before we traveled to Staten Island, we heard a presentation on why early childhood development is so important for providing children with the tools to become successful adults. This center helps equip struggling parents with the support to raise their children in a way that is beneficial to their kids, but also to them. On the last day we did a presentation on one of the places we had visited during the week, and I got to present on the importance of early childhood development and the work GABI does.
On another day, we met the president of the Center for Urban Community Services and visited one of their residential buildings in the Bronx. The Center offers “supportive housing,” which gives people housing after they have been homeless, in the hospital, or in other difficult circumstances. We met with a few people who live there, and they all said how much of a positive impact this affordable housing has had on their lives. The Center provides not only housing, but also a range of activities, such as therapy and job training.
On the last day we visited Housing Works, where we learned about safe injection sites and harm reduction, both of which are intended to limit drug overdoses. At this site we saw a presentation and interacted with people use the health care programs at Housing Works. This experience helped me to understand how different people’s lives can be. It also showed me that life is such a lottery, because we can’t control what circumstances we’re born into.