Manuel’s Story

Manuel is a man with a plan. He loves to cook and aspires to be a chef at a 5-star restaurant one day. Until then, he hones his skills at home preparing his children’s favorite meals each week. A hard-working, single father of three teenagers, ‘family first’ is his mantra and guiding force through good times and bad.

When a series of unfortunate events caused Manuel to lose his job, fall behind in rent, and eventually lose his apartment, he worried about his kids, he worried for himself; he needed to find a way to keep his family together.

Manuel and his children moved into SCO’s Flushing Family Residence in Brooklyn to help him get back on his feet. Manuel recalls, “They gave us a second chance at life. SCO provided me with a roof over my head, access to food pantries, and even provided us with fun and recreation that lifted our spirits.”

While at the shelter, the family received counseling, housing services, and family support services to ease the transition. Manuel laid out a clear path for his family. His goal was to “find us a home, build a foundation, and get the kids in school.” He wasted no time in setting that plan in action. Manuel found steady employment working at a men’s shelter, which he recalls “opened my eyes and pushed me to want to be better and do better for my family.” Staff helped Manuel find an apartment suitable for his large family and their cat Patrick, who had been living with a friend. And all three children settled into their new schools and new life.

“SCO is heaven sent,” exclaimed Manuel. “I am able to do more for my family now and live a productive life.”

Fatu’s Story

At 19, Fatu’s future looks bright. She plans to go to Monroe College in the fall to follow her dream of becoming a lawyer. She’s currently going to school and working full-time as a paralegal at Queens Defenders, which provides free services to low-income people. Not long ago, she was a recipient of those services.

You see, the future did not always look so bright for Fatu. When she came to live in one of SCO’s residences for youth in foster care in 2018, she had had a difficult childhood, and she’d been in trouble with the law.

When Fatu was 12, her mother returned to their native Liberia with her younger brother, leaving Fatu with an abusive family friend in Queens. She eventually ran away, joined a gang and got into trouble.

When she first came to SCO, Fatu was confrontational with staff and other residents. But despite her rocky start at her new home, SCO staff has been behind her since day one. They encouraged her to further her education and pursue her GED. They showed her the right way to do things, and most of all, they showed her they cared.

Fatu’s former Queens Defenders lawyer, Anthony Martone, played a pivotal role in her turnaround. He saw her potential and went the extra mile to help her by initiating an internship program at the firm for past clients who’ve been through the juvenile justice system. Fatu was the first intern and became the first full-time hire from the program.

Fatu is positive, respectful, and focused. She loves her job and it has inspired her to pursue a degree in Criminal Justice.

Her turnaround has been nothing short of miraculous, and it serves as an inspiration to other youth. Fatu is living proof of what is possible with a positive attitude, hard work, perseverance, and the help of caring adults who never stop believing in you.

See Fatu’s story in THE CITY.

(Photo: Ben Fractenberg-THE CITY)

Click here for IMPORTANT COVID-19 UPDATES from SCO

Resources for Families

Educational Resources

Dial-a-Teacher or call 212-777-3380
Online Learning Tools
Supplemental Remote Learning Resources
Early Childhood Learning Resources
Grade Specific Activities for Students

Educational and Online Activities

Bronx Zoo Virtual zoo – bringing the animals to you!
Garden of Dreams Enjoy virtual and interactive content from Garden of Dreams, New York Rangers, New York Knicks, the Rockettes, MSG Entertainment, MSG Networks, and more.
Digital Girl, Inc. STEM programming for young girls.
Watch the entire CNN/Sesame Street coronavirus town hall.
Arts & Culture Virtually visit 500+ museums and art galleries around the world.
At Home Art-Making Activities for Families – Drawing, collage, audio and movement activities inspired by artworks in the MOMA collection.
Children’s Museum of the Arts LIVE! Interactive sing-alongs, create your own artwork, creative movement, and more.
Community Conversations A facilitator, chosen by your group, leads a conversation for 8-20 participants using training and materials supplied by Humanities New York.
Cosmic Kids Zoga Yoga, mindfulness, and relationship for kids 3+.
Explore Our Community – Nassau County Museum of Art  Experience the museum from your couch.
Go Noodle Kid-friendly videos to get your kids up and moving around.
Metropolitan Museum of Art Virtual events for all audiences including storytelling, live performances, film screenings, art-making programs, and more!
Mets Amazin’ Activities  The NY Mets have created some fun puzzles and games for your kids including the Mets Activity Book and Goodbye, Germs!
Monterey Bay Aquarium Live stream of different aquarium exhibits.
Mystery Science Free, easy science for remote learning.
National Geographic Kids Interactive, engaging and colorful games, videos, and more.
New York Hall of Science Free, fun, at-home STEM activities including The Pack – STEM-based video game and DIY science tutorials
Road Trip from Home Explore different parts of the world, famous landmarks, beautiful works of art, historic marvels, science adventures and more!
Safari Tour Ride along on a live safari.
San Diego Zoo Tour the San Diego Zoo.
Scholastic Learn at Home Keep the learning going with four daily learning experiences, each built around a meaningful story or video.
Virtual Field Trips A list of virtual trips you can take to zoos, museums, and parks.
Yellowstone National Park Take a virtual tour of Yellowstone National Park.
Yankees Kids: At-Home Baseball Activities Pickleball and Home Run Derby, trivia and matching games, coloring pages, mazes, word scrambles, and more!

Home Activity Ideas

250 Things to Do at Home
Things to Do at Home with Kids
28 Indoor Activities for Kids
101 Ideas to Keep Kids Busy

Financial Resources

SNAP, Cash Assistance, Medicaid, and Fair Fares Online
Unemployment Insurance
File a New Unemployment Claim
HelpNowNYC
MOPD COVID-19 Resources for People with Disabilities
During this crisis, HRA will take no negative case actions on any current benefits case
NYS Department of Labor is waiving the seven-day wait period for unemployment insurance benefits.
Free legal advice to unemployed low-wage workers trying to access UI benefits.
NYC is updating a list of resources for those who are unemployed.
All NYS debt collection has been suspended per order of the Governor. This is debt owed to New York State only. New Yorkers with student debt, medical debt & other state-referred debt will have payments frozen for at least 30 days.

Food

Brooklyn Nets Resource Hub – provides food, educational resources, health and wellness, and volunteer opportunities in one place.
NYC.gov/getfood – food assistance programs and resources
NYC is delivering food for those who are home-bound and have no other alternatives
Food resources tracked around the city
Available food resources by many neighborhoods, updated every couple of days
Apply for SNAP online
NYPL compiled a list of food resources outside and inside the home
Plentiful – A website and app that lists many of the pantries in NYC and lets people make appointments for food pick-ups with those pantries that participate
Food Hub NYC – Food resources for children
NYC DOE – Food resources for students
Access NYC – Get Emergency Food Now
Invisible Hands Deliver – A group of healthy volunteers from communities at the least risk for severe COVID-19 reactions working to bring groceries and supplies to those in high-risk demographics
LemonTree – Website to help match volunteers to food organizations
Food Bank NYC – Updated map of pantries operating right now

Housing

There is an indefinite moratorium on evictions in New York State as ordered by the Governor. A tenant cannot be evicted from an NYC apartment during this crisis. As of March 17th, NYC Housing Court is closed and no new case filings will take place as well.

Help Running Errands/Mutual Aid

Mutual Aid NYC
Mutual Aid Groups (national)

Help for Small Businesses

Financial assistance from the city
Start Small Think Big

Additional Resources

“Coping through COVID” – NYC Administration for Children Services listing of resources available to families – including information about food pantries, free WiFi, housing assistance, and more.
Bereavement Counseling – American Red Cross program to support those who have lost a loved one due to COVID-19

Manuel’s Story

Homeless Services & Family Support

“SCO is heaven sent. I am able to do more for my family now and live a productive life.” - Manuel Learn More

Fatu’s Story

Changing Her Trajectory

At 19, Fatu’s future looks bright. She plans to go to Monroe College in the fall to follow her dream of becoming a lawyer. Learn More

99%

of at-risk families throughout Brooklyn & Queens remained together and stable with family support services

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9,900

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