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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid