While progress has been made, we have not come close to realizing this dream. New York City’s poverty rate is up to 21% percent in the poorest communities of every borough. Citywide, the unemployment rate is 8.4% percent, and more than 350,000 youth between the ages of 16 and 24 in New York City are not in school and without a job.
Without opportunity, the number of disenfranchised youth in our most vulnerable communities will continue to grow. Crime, generational poverty, and unmet potential are poised to engulf even larger areas of our city. Today, extraordinary numbers of youth are filling New York’s homeless shelters.
The Doe Fund is now focusing on the needs of this generation through a new initiative, which provides housing, on-the-job training, education, and a strong support network. Our goal is to help these youth find full-time employment while reinforcing independent living skills and connections to the community.
The young men in our program have already demonstrated that they can and will succeed, given the opportunity. Over and over again, they tell us, “I’m young. I still have hopes and dreams,” echoing Dr. King’s historic message.
Help us help these young men maintain hope and fulfill Dr. King’s dream.