Kids Bring Hope in the New Year

Through all the chaos of the last year, we’ve noticed some unlikely heroes stepping up to support their neighbors in need: New York City’s kids. Here are just a few of the ways children from across the city have helped in the last year.

There’s Scott Hechinger’s 5-year-old son, whose deep compassion and awareness of the homelessness crisis compelled his father to post this Twitter thread. Scott’s son couldn’t understand why so many people in one of America’s wealthiest cities are hungry and homeless (neither can we). He was inspired by  other stories of kids helping the Coalition and wanted to see what he could do.

Our Executive Director Dave Giffen and his 7-year-old son hopped on a Zoom call with Scott and his son to talk about what kids can do to help people in need.

Then there’s Bond, also 5, whose father approached us in early December to tell us about a creative fundraiser his son started to benefit the Coalition’s Holiday Toy Drive . Bond, who has been practicing meditation since he was just over a year old, learned that the nearly 19,000 children spending the holidays in shelters aren’t as fortunate as he is on Christmas morning. “That made him sad,” his father wrote in an Instagram post.

Bond decided to meditate live on Instagram for 20 minutes — longer than he’d ever gone — and invite his friends. By the end of the year, this impressive group of kids had raised more than $30,000 to provide toys for homeless children. We were overwhelmed with gratitude.

In case you needed more evidence that New York City has some of the most creative young people on the planet, we received this video from Olivia, who sold homemade bracelets to raise donations for our Toy Drive.

To cap off the year, we also saw drives from schools around the city, including The Pine Street School, The Brearley School, and SAR Academy of Riverdale. Students collected masks, hand sanitizer, toys, and more for homeless New Yorkers.

We are so heartened by the compassion and understanding these kids have shown, and how engaged they are in learning about the solutions to homelessness. If the next generation understands that it is possible to eradicate modern homelessness, we believe they can help make it happen.