News / USA

Teens On Probation Help Victims of Hurricane Sandy

Teens On Probation Help Victims of Hurricane Sandyi
X
August 14, 2013 10:40 AM
Many victims of Hurricane Sandy are still in distress. But a new army of helpers has joined the recovery effort -- and they're coming from a source you might not expect. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York City communities still struggling to recover.
Bernard Shusman
Many victims of Hurricane Sandy are still in distress.  But a new army of helpers has joined the recovery effort -- and they're coming from a source you might not expect. 

Helpers are clearing a road at Breezy Point so government four-wheelers can access the beach and take care of wildlife there.

They are also helping victims of Hurricane Sandy by preparing food packages for them.

The helpers are New York City teens, who have been convicted of non violent crimes and are now on probation.

They too are being helped -- by a non profit group called YouthWRAP.  It helps teenage offenders break free of juvenile crime through community-oriented projects.

“The more time they spend doing good, the less time they are going to spend doing bad as far as we are concerned.  So part of it is for them to turn their lives around, part of it is for them to really do the work that New York City needs to recover from Sandy,” explained Vincent Schiraldi, New York City's Probation Commissioner.

During the storm, Breezy Point roads were washed out .  An electrical fire destroyed more than a hundred homes.  Teen probationers recognize the loss. "Actually what it means to me, that one, it was a bad thing. Two, right now actually means a lot cause I get to help people," stated one teen.

Not far away, in Brooklyn, Coney Island’s Salt and Sea Mission is working with YouthWrap, giving other teen offenders the chance to do good.  The Mission takes care of neighbors whose homes were destroyed.  

“Today we are giving out green beans, macaroni and cheese, diced tomatoes, apple sauce, apple juice, pesto beans, no kidney beans, and maple and the peanut butter,” stated another teen.

Teens in the program get paid up to $1400 (USD) for the summer.  But the the responsibility they take on is what drives them.

“It means a lot to me, helping people, this [is] new me. I was younger and all I knew was to do bad…and this program basically changed my life cause I actually started helping  people," said Daquan Jackson. "I started preparing stuff, it taught me some traits that I didn’t know before.”

Essence Walker agreed. “It meant a lot because it changed the way I see life and now I see people,” she said.

Pastor Debby Santiago is the Mission's leader.  She was once a drug dealer and bank robber.  But now she's a mentor backed by the city's Probation Department.

“They came one way, and they’ve just been changing into these people that I just want to hug all the time," Santiago said. "They are helping this community, most of them, I mean they are getting pleasure out of helping other people.”

Hurricane Sandy recovery projects in New York City involve some 450 teens on probation.  Many of them are on the road to a new life.

You May Like

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Peace Activists Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified border, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs