In an amazing outpouring of generosity from residents of the 82nd Assembly district in Throggs Neck, parts of Pelham Bay, Co-op City, and City Island, Assemblyman Michael Benedetto distributed a truckload of school supplies to some of the borough’s neediest school children.
Residents of Benedetto’s district donated everything from pens and pencils to book bags and notebooks that benefit homeless and poor students.
Benedetto donated the goods to H.O.U.R.S., a community based organization that helps young people become involved in civic affairs and find internships and jobs during and after high school. H.O.U.R.S. helps homeless and poor children.
Three students from Bronx Guild High School at the Adlai Stephenson campus joined volunteers and staff from H.O.U.R.S., at Benedetto’s Throggs Neck office to load the boxes of school supplies.
“You can see a marked increase in the school-supplies drive from last year,” Benedetto, who helped load the supplies into a waiting van, said. “There were people who approached me in August and asked if I was doing the drive, and frankly it had slipped my mind. People are caring, and genuinely want to help those who are less fortunate.”
Benedetto also spent time with three students who attend Bronx Guild, a school, which combines internship experiences with traditional classes, about what he feels are the important, pressing issues in the upcoming elections.
On the state and local level, Benedetto spoke about what are two main concerns this year: deciding whether or not to keep mayoral control of New York City’s public schools, and extending term-limits to allow the mayor and other city officials to run for third-terms.
Benedetto urged the young people, who were formally homeless and now have significantly improved their lot, to consider careers in public service, whether they are involved in government finance, or in a field like teaching. One common theme of the graduating seniors who helped load the van for the drive was the desire to work.
“We are up to par on our credits, and we just want to learn more about working life,” Starr Ntrafton, an 18-year-old student.
Some have very specific work-related goals they want to attain.
“I want to get more work experience in a field like animation, game design, or music – any of the three,” said student Kevin Caple. “I would also consider fashion.”
Whatever their long-term goals, the students who are currently enrolled in high school and have to overcome the adversity of being poor and homeless will benefit from the drive.
“I am truly amazed to see how good people are when they see others need help,” Benedetto stated. “This is a wonderful program and I hope to extend it.”