Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind Sesame Street, isn't afraid to keep it real for kids. Last year they introduced Julia, the first muppet with autism. Now they've launched an initiative called Sesame Street in Communities that, amongst other things, will bring the first muppet to experience homelessness. Her name is Lily and she was originally introduced in 2011 as a character whose family was struggling with hunger.
Unfortunately, Lily’s path is common for many children experiencing homelessness.
“We know children experiencing homelessness are often caught up in a devastating cycle of trauma—the lack of affordable housing, poverty, domestic violence, or other trauma that caused them to lose their home, the trauma of actually losing their home, and the daily trauma of the uncertainty and insecurity of being homeless,” said Sherrie Westin, President of Global Impact and Philanthropy at Sesame Workshop. “We want to help disrupt that cycle by comforting children, empowering them, and giving them hope for the future. We want them to know that they are not alone and home is more than a house or an apartment—home is wherever the love lives.”
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"When Lily was first launched, she came out as part of the food insecurity initiative. So she's not brand new, but this seemed like a really perfect extension of her story, so that we could use her to help children identify with," Westin said. "With any of our initiatives, our hope is that we're not only reaching the children who can identify with that Muppet but that we're also helping others to have greater empathy and understanding of the issue."
Although her journey with homelessness will not appear in televised episodes of "Sesame Street" at this point, she will be in separate videos and materials in the initiative.
Do you live in New York City? Do you like cookies? Are you into cookies so hard that you carry cash with you, just in case the opportunity to buy cookies arises while you're going about your day?
If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, read on.
The girls of Girl Scout troop 6,000 all have one thing in common: They all live in homeless shelters in New York City. Troop 6,000 came into being back in March of 2017 thanks to a partnership between the Girl Scouts of Greater New York and New York City's Department of Homeless Services. Currently, troop 6,000's membership includes kids from 15 different homeless shelters in the NYC area. This year, the girls of the troop are selling Girl Guide cookies for the first time:
From Eyewitness News 7 NY:
"The biggest impact that we see and when you talk to the girls you'll hear them say, is that they belong to something, they have a sisterhood within the other Girl Scouts," said Meredith Maskara of the Girl Scouts of Greater New York. "They talk to other girls who may be in their same situation who feel alone, and they feel like they have a stronger sense of community and belonging overall."
Buying any Girl Scout cookies, which are the crack cocaine of sugary treats, is a win. Buying them from troop 6,000? That's way more cool: not only will doing so help to grow the bonds of friendship and belonging in a group of disenfranchised children, the cash you fork over will also help those kids to take part in amazing experiences that may have been all but unattainable to them, otherwise. Read the rest
Using electronic key cards, homeless men and women in New York City will soon be able to get three free items a day from one of these orange vending machines. Basic but necessary items like socks, tampons, toothbrushes, and water will be made available to them. There will also be food, like fresh fruit, chips, sandwiches, and chocolate (all donations from local supermarkets, charities, and shops). One of the most popular items? Books.
The man behind the project is Huzaifah Khaled. He's the founder of Action Hunger, a British charity that is "committed to alleviating poverty and hardship amongst the homeless."
Khaled was recently interviewed on WBUR, and talked about the first machine already being used in Nottingham, England since January:
"The early data and feedback has been very, very promising. In fact, it's far surpassed even our own expectations. It's offering them a little more dignity. It's giving them a little more agency over their own lives. It's really heartwarming to see our service being used exactly as designed."
images via Action Hunger Read the rest
Viral marketing agency head Rob Bliss used Amazon's same-day delivery service to sent gifts of shoes, long johns, and other much-needed items to some people living on the cold streets of New York City.
He writes: "I'm sure this technique could be used with Postmates or whoever else too. I simply wanted to demonstrate how easy and convenient it can be to bring a person in need, what they need, and to encourage that behavior." Read the rest
After two homeless men were murdered in Las Vegas by the same method, cops put out a bait mannequin that looked like a homeless man sleeping under a blanket. During the stakeout, Shane Shindler began beating the mannequin with a hammer similar to the weapon used in the other deaths. Read the rest
Lee Parker and Ivan White found and reported a bomb allegedly planted by Ahmad Khan Rahami in Elizabeth, New Jersey. You can thank them by supporting the local homeless program. Read the rest
If you visit the Bournemouth, England bus station after midnight, you'll be treated to the fine squeaky sounds of Alvin and the Chipmunks. Why? According to the BBC, the music is part of a Bournemouth Borough Council strategy to "deter anti-social behaviour and rough sleeping, which could cause waiting passengers to feel intimidated."
"The only way I can describe it is like how people are held at Guantanamo Bay," says resident Aron Kennedy. "If they're laying down in their sleeping bags and they've got this constant music going through their head, it'll make them go insane." ALVIN!!!
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Banning the homeless from sleeping outside when they have nowhere else to sleep is unconstitutional, argues the United States Department of Justice in a statement of interest filed regarding a Boise, Idaho court case about an anti-camping ordinance. Read the rest
Donald Gould became a viral celebrity after this video of him performing a classic rock anthem exploded on Facebook. He is homeless. Read the rest
The publicly funded, $35B cleanup of radioactive soil around Fukishima is staffed by homeless men recruited from Tokyo Sendai subway stations. They are preferentially sent to the most radioactive zones, and work for less than minimum wage. Mobbed-up subcontractors confiscate as much as two thirds of their pay in "fees." Everyone involved in sourcing the labor for the cleanup denies responsibility for the illegal practices, blaming sub-subcontractors or cowboy recruiters. The president of one contractor, Aisogo Service, defended the practice of not scrutinizing the labor force or the conditions under which it worked, saying "If you started looking at every single person, the project wouldn't move forward. You wouldn't get a tenth of the people you need."
Workers are also recruited from publicly funded homeless shelters. One man worked for a month for a total payout of $10. After this fact was verified and made public, the man disappeared. Workers are charged exorbitant rates for lodgings and food, and are docked pay for being too ill to work. As a result, some workers are in debt to their employers, a debt that deepens the longer they stay employed.
The decontamination project is two to three years behind schedule. Read the rest
A naked "caveman" whose life and political beliefs have intrigued residents of El Paso, TX may soon be evicted from his cave home. There's a video interview with him here.
The local ABC TV affiliate learned that his dwelling "is actually an intricate structure comprised of three main living quarters." This includes the cave he spoke through when he told a reporter he'd been living there for three years. "It appears he was also living underneath some of the portions of the broken concrete slabs in a kind of underground labyrinth connecting the three main structures."
(via NYDN) Read the rest