Breaking Ground, Children’s Aid, The Door, and Terra Firma Honored for Their Transformative Poverty-Fighting Work

New York, NY – November 7, 2017 – This morning Robin Hood, New York’s largest poverty-fighting organization, held its 28th annual Heroes Breakfast and honored four of the 200 exceptional organizations it funds – Breaking Ground, Children’s Aid, The Door and Terra Firma.

Robin Hood Board members Katie Couric, the award-winning journalist; Kaya Henderson, former Chancellor of D.C. public schools; and Marta Tienda, Princeton University’s Maurice P. During ’22 Professor in Demographic Studies, Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs introduced the audience of Robin Hood supporters to three young people whose lives have been transformed by these organizations.

Victor: A teenager who survived a harrowing journey from El Salvador to New York with his younger brother

When he was 18 and living in El Salvador, Victor refused to join MS-13, one of the deadliest gangs in the world. A few days later, the gang’s leader put a gun to his head. To save their lives, he and his younger brother fled the country. The extended journey to the United States was traumatic and complicated, but they persevered and eventually made it to New York City.

Victor was determined to make the most of his new life, but he didn’t know where to start — until he found Terra Firma. Terra Firma is a comprehensive program built around a medical-legal partnership addressing the complex needs of unaccompanied immigrant children and families seeking U.S. protection. Children and families receive medical, mental health, and legal services, as well as case management and youth enrichment programming all in one place. Terra Firma is a partnership between Montefiore, Catholic Charities and The Children’s Health Fund.

Wendy: A single mom to twins simultaneously grappling with a custody battle and a fight with cancer

After becoming pregnant with twins, Wendy vowed she’d give them a better childhood than her own. But when the girls were only six months old, Wendy — a single mom who escaped an abusive relationship — was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma.

Despite the challenges she faced, Wendy was able to make good on her vow with help from Children’s Aid. Founded in 1853, Children’s Aid is one of New York City’s most respected youth-serving organizations and a longtime Robin Hood partner.

Ninoska: A young woman who escaped domestic abuse and overcame many challenges to find her true home

Ninoska ran away from her abusive mother carrying bags stuffed with clothes and a fierce determination to find a true home. Though often homeless, she found many helpers along the way. Two Robin Hood community partners played central roles in helping Ninoska move out of the shelter system for good: The Door and Breaking Ground. At The Door, Ninoska found a one-stop-shop for young people looking to rebuild their lives. At Breaking Ground, New York’s largest provider of supportive housing, she found a home.

In recognition of their outstanding leadership in the fight against poverty, each organization received a $50,000 award from the American Express Foundation.

“Robin Hood’s Heroes Breakfast is an opportunity for us to highlight the incredible resilience of New Yorkers fighting through poverty in all of its forms, as well as the life-changing work our community partners do every day to empower that resilience,” said Wes Moore, Robin Hood’s CEO.  “I walk away from this breakfast with my heart filled with inspiration from what Wendy, Victor, and Nina have overcome; hope for their futures, and energy for our role in this fight against poverty.”

After the heroes shared their stories, Robin Hood co-founder, Paul Tudor Jones II, closed the event with a reflection on the organization’s 30-year commitment to helping New Yorkers in need break free from poverty.

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