It was a full house for the Program Presentation at The Covenant House in Newark NJ. We heard about the history of The Heart Gallery and how Do1Thing came to be. We saw the amazing videos posted on the site and got to hear the stories from the actual kids themselves. Miss New Jersey herself was here in the flesh signing autographs and supporting the cause. The kids were delighted to meet her. People young and old, from near and far gave their support, even the local girl scouts.
We had our first tour of The Covenant House in Newark NJ. The building is fairly a new addition. We were led around by the friendly staff who told us about their responsibilities with the kids.
It was not only interesting but extremely enlightening to discover all of the tasks these people have to juggle. They are not only employees of The Covenant House but also mentors, teachers, friends, providers and so much more. Their responsibilities include cooking for the kids, teaching them how to interview, providing them with the appropriate attire, and even extending themselves to connect on a personal level to help the kids discover their potential. The most amazing part is that many of them are volunteers.
I have to say, it is an absolutely amazing day here at The Covenant House in Newark NJ. As one of Najlah’s classmates I have seen what she can do and truly experienced the power of making change. I originally volunteered here to help out a fellow classmate but the added benefits to helping such a cause are astronomical. I have finally gotten a chance to meet the persons behind the faces in the images and videos on do1thing.org. These kids are amazing and their appreciation for the help they have received has been heart wrenching to witness.
As individuals we tend to think that we can’t ever make a difference. Do1thing is a perfect example of how one simple idea thought up by one individual can spiral into a life changing movement. I am truly amazed and grateful to be a part of it.
It is Valentine’s day and I am sitting next to my significant other blogging about the events we have seen here today. It is such a wonderful opportunity to take a day that is dedicated to being with the one you love and sharing that love with those who don’t know it exists. It’s important to realize that events such as this aren’t just a way to decrease the statistics of homeless teens. Through witnessing the stories of these kids today I realize more than ever, that we can change their lives. If everyone just took the time to let just one new person into their hearts, big things can happen.
~Stephanie Mendolia (Parsons Student)
Homeless youth, Shanita “Knowledge” Stubbs in Newark, NJ. Knowledge was
placed in foster care as a child, adopted and later back into state care. Mark Peterson has been documenting Knowledge for several months producing some outstanding work.
Shanita, known to her friends by Knowledge, entered foster care as a baby staying in care several years until being adopted.
Photojournalist Mark Peterson has been chronicling Knowledge’s journey as a homeless teenager. His photographsenter Knowledge’s private life, her experiences on the streets of Newark, her struggles with drugs, self esteem, depression and survival. His work is stunning.
Below is a recent photo from Mark’s project. More to come…..