MetroFocus: November 18, 2016

Tonight, after multiple setbacks and numerous protests, New York City is pressing play on its body camera program. The NYPD will be moving forward with a $6.4 million contract with the company VieVu to provide cameras and data storage for what would be one of the country’s largest body camera programs. Across the river in New Jersey, another city is already testing out police body cameras: Camden, one of the poorest and most dangerous cities in the country. But now, after decades of economic downturn and violent crime, change is coming with help from the newly formed police force. MetroFocus producer William Jones takes to the streets of Camden, where officers are testing out this new technology to improve policing.

Next, as life expectancy reaches an all-time high, we as a city are aging. More than 1.4 million New Yorkers are 60 years of age or older. By 2030 that number is estimated to swell to more than 1.8 million, or 20% of city residents, raising demand for affordable housing and health and social services. We get a look at how the nonprofit Selfhelp is answering that call, providing care and services to thousands of aging New Yorkers.

Finally, maybe you’ve caught a compelling story on The Moth Radio Hour on WNYC, downloaded a podcast, or been to a live “story-slam”. The Moth has been dedicated to the art of simple storytelling, told live on stage with no script, just a microphone, a spotlight and a room full of strangers. We caught a behind the scenes look at one woman’s personal storytelling journey from the rural mountains of Nepal to women’s health advocate as part of The Moth’s global community program “Women In The World,” recently performed at Jazz At Lincoln Center.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT ON 'METROFOCUS,' A LOOK AT THE NEW FACE OF POLICING AS THE NYPD MOVES FORWARD WITH ITS BODY CAM PROGRAM.

AND WE'LL TAKE YOU ON A RIDE-ALONG WITH CAMDEN COUNTY COPS WHO HAVE HAD SUCCESS USING THEIR BODY CAMERAS.

YOU'LL MEET A GROUP OF NEW YORKERS HELPING SENIORS LIVING ON THEIR OWN.

AND ORDINARY PEOPLE SHARE THE POWER OF STORYTELLING.

ALL THAT AND MORE AS 'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

Announcer: THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAPHAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY --

Announcer: CORPORATE FUNDING FOR 'METROFOCUS' WAS PROVIDED BY MUTUAL OF AMERICA, YOUR RETIREMENT COMPANY.

AND BY PSE&G, SERVING CUSTOMERS, STRENGTHENING THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY, AND INVESTING IN THE FUTURE.

> GOOD EVENING.

WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS' TONIGHT WE TALK ABOUT THE BODY CAMERA PROGRAM.

THE DEPARTMENT IS ROLLING OUT THE POLICY DESPITE THE CONCERNS ABOUT THE COMPANY MAKING THE CAMERAS.

THE COMPANY HAS A DEAL WITH THE COMPANY CALLED V-VIEW FOR WHAT COULD BE ONE OF THE LARGEST BODY CAMERA CONTRACTS IN THE COUNTRY.

BUT V-VIEW'S RIVAL TASER HAS ACCUSED THE COMPANY OF SELLING NYPD CAMERAS THAT DON'T WORK.

ANOTHER AGENCY THAT RECENTLY TESTED THESE CAMERAS FOUND THAT THE CAMERAS NYPD IS CURRENTLY PLANNING TO BUY DROPPED FRAMES IN EVERY VIDEO.

THEY'RE ACTUALLY LOSING EVIDENCE.

THESE ARE PRETTY BIG ISSUES THAT PROBABLY MERIT SOMEBODY HITTING THE PAUSE BUTTON AND DOING A RIGOROUS TESTS.

TASER HAS FILED COMPLAINTS BUT SAYS IT WON'T SUE THE CITY.

WHILE THE NYPD HAS REJECTED THE CLAIMS AN IS MOVED FORWARD.

THAT DECISION COMES AFTER THE DAILY NEWS REPORTED LAST MONTH THAT V-VIEW'S PARENT COMPANY HAD PREVIOUSLY PAID A $30 MILLION FINE FOR SELLING DEFECTIVE BODY ARMOR.

REGARDLESS, THE CAMERAS ARE EXPECTED TO HIT NEW YORK CITY STREETS EARLY NEXT YEAR.

AND THE CITY HOPES THAT BY THE FALL 1,000 OFFICERS COULD BE WEARING THEM.

NEW YORK IS NOT THE FIRST CITY IN THE TRI-STATE AREA TO TURN TO BODY CAMERAS TO RECORD THE POLICE IN ACTION.

WILLIAM JONES RECENTLY VISITED CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY, TO SEE HOW THAT POLICE DEPARTMENT IS USING THEIR CAMERAS, WHICH WE SHOULD NIGHT ARE MADE BY TASER.

WILL JONES JOINS ME NOW.

Reporter: CAMDEN IS A CITY THAT'S BEEN THROUGH TOUGH TIMES IN RECENT YEARS, IT'S ONE OF THE POOREST AND MOST DANGEROUS CITIES IN THE COUNTRY.

THERE ARE SIGNS OF HOPE, HOWEVER.

A NEW POLICE FORCE IS IN OPERATION AND THEY'VE BEEN ABLE TO REDUCE CRIME.

THEY'VE ALSO BEEN ONE OF THE FIRST POLICE FORCES IN THE COUNTRY TO INTRODUCE THE BODY CAMERA TECHNOLOGY.

THEIR POLICE CHIEF INVITED US DOWN TO THE CITY TO SPEND TIME ON THE FRONT LINES AND LOOK AT THE IMPACT THIS TECHNOLOGY IS HAVING ON POLICING IN THE COMMUNITY.

THE POLICE FORCE HAS UNDER GONE SIGNIFICANT CHANGES IN THE PAST YEAR.

IT WAS BACK IN 2013 THAT THE CITYWIDE POLICE FORCE WAS DISBANDED.

THAT WAS AMID VIOLENT CRIME RATES AND HOM SCHEIDT RATES THAT WERE REALLY SOARING.

AT THAT POINT, A COUNTY POLICE FORCE WAS BROUGHT IN.

UNDER THEIR LEADERSHIP, THOSE RATES OF HOMICIDE AND VIOLENT CRIME DROPPED BUT AMID THE IMPROCHMENTES ISSUES OF TRUST.

IT'S ALWAYS DIFFICULT TO BUILD RELATIONSHIPS WITH A NEW POLICE FORCE.

THAT'S WRT BODY CAMERAS COMING IN.

THE IDEA THAT YOU CAN IMPROVE THE RELATIONSHIP WHERE THE COMMUNITY AND HOLD YOUR POLICE OFFICERS TO GREATER ACCOUNT.

WE MET UP WITH OFFICER FERRELL AND OFFICER BACKBY IN NORTH CAMDEN.

IT ACE A DISTRICT EMLEMM ATTIC OF THE CITY'S STRUGGLES.

NO MORE THAN FOUR YEARS AGO THIS USED TO BE THE WORST PART IN CAMDEN CITY.

THERE WERE OPEN AIR DRUG MARKET TRADES, A LOT OF HOMICIDES BECAUSE DRUGS BRING GUNS.

AND GUNS BRING DRUGS.

NOW FOUR YEARS OR SO AGO, WE WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN ABLE TO WALK THIS WITHOUT SEEING ANY TYPE OF CRIMINAL ACTIVITY AND UNFORTUNATELY THERE WERE NOT A LOT OF KIDS PLAYING AROUND.

A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE BEEN COMING UP TO US, GRANDMOTHERS, MOTHERS AND THEY'RE TELLING US, WE'RE SO HAPPY WITH THE JOB YOU'RE DOING BECAUSE NOW WE FEEL A LITTLE SAFER WITH OUR CHILDREN PLAYING, RIDING THEIR BICYCLES.

Reporter: THIS FOCUS ON COMMUNITY POLICING HASN'T GONE UNNOTICED.

PRESIDENT OBAMA VISITED CAMDEN LAST YEAR.

AND THE HOPE IS THIS CAMERA TECHNOLOGY SETS AN EXAMPLE NATIONWIDE AFTER TIME AND RELATIONSHIPS WITH POLICE DEPARTMENTS AND MANY OF THE COMMUNITIES THEY SERVE ARE TENSE.

HOW BIG A GAME CHANGER IS TO TO POLICING?

I THINK IT'S A VERY POSITIVE TOOL IN THE WORLD OF POLICING.

LAST YEAR, I HAD SOME USE OF FORCE INCIDENTS, AND THIS YEAR I HAVE ZERO BECAUSE IF A SITUATION GOT ESCALATED, I WOULD TELL THE PERSON OR PERSONS, LOOK, I'M FILMING THIS ENTIRE THING.

IF YOU WANT TO PUT YOUR HANDS ON ME, THAT'S FINE.

BUT JUST KNOW THAT WHEN THE TIME COMES AND WE GO TO COURT, EVERYONE IS GOING TO SEE THIS.

AND IT WILL DEESCALATE THE SITUATION.

Reporter: THE USE OF THESE BODY CAMERAS IS NONDISCRETIONARY.

THE POLICE ARE REQUIRED TO SWITCH THEM ON AS SOON AS THEY BEGIN THEIR PATROL AND THEN INFORM CIVILIANS THAT ANY GIVEN INCIDENT IS BEING RECORDED UNLESS IT'S UNSAFE TO DO SO.

THAT FOOTAGE IS THEN ARCHIVE FOR 90 DAYS.

CIVIL LIBERTIES ISSUES ARISE AND THE POLICE FORCE CONSULTED THE AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION PRIOR TO INTRODUCING THE TECHNOLOGY.

BEFORE HEADING DOWN TO CAMDEN, WE WROTE TO THE ACLU TO GET THEIR TAKE ON THE FINAL POLICY.

THEY COMMENDED THE FORCE FOR THEIR OUTREACH BUT REMAINED SKEPTICAL ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS TO THE FOOTAGE ONCE IT'S RETURNED TO HEADQUARTERS.

I POSED THOSE CONCERNS TO THE POLICE CHIEF.

MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC CAN'T VIEW THE FOOTAGE UNLESS THEY FILE LAWSUIT?

IF SO, IS THAT FAIR?

A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T HAVE THE RESOURCES TO GO FORWARD AND FILE THE LAWSUIT EVEN IF THEY FEEL TREATED UNFAIRLY BY THE POLICE.

A LOT OF THIS IS GOVERNED ALSO BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL DIRECTIVE ON BODY-WORN CAMERAS, WHICH MEAN IT'S UNIVERSAL ACROSS THE STATE AND IT'S FOR UNIFORMITY IN HOW THE INFORMATION WILL BE HANDLED.

ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE DO IS THAT IF SOMEBODY HAS A COMPLAINT AGAINST AN OFFICER AND THEY COME IN, WE DO REVIEW THAT FOOTAGE WITH THEM.

WA WHAT WE'RE NOT GOING TO DO IS JUST RELEASE IT TO THE PUBLIC.

AND IF THERE'S EVER ANY CONCERN WITH THE FOOTAGE THAT THEY WISH TO SEE OR THEY WISH TO ACQUIRE, THEY DON'T NECESSARILY EVEN HAVE TO GO FILE A LAWSUIT BECAUSE THEY CAN APPEAL TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR IN A PROCESS AND THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR IS THE --

THE ACLU HAS CONCERNS THAT THE POLICE OFFICERS CAN REVIEW THAT FOOTAGE BEFORE WRITING THEIR REPORT ON WHAT HAPPENED OUT THERE IN THE FIELD.

HOW DOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THAT, SHOULD POLICE HAVE EASY ACCESS TO THE FOOTAGE AFTERWARD?

I THINK THAT'S A LEGITIMATE CONCERN.

HOWEVER, WHAT WE REALLY WANT IS THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER N. FACT, THAT COULD BE EXCULPATORY INFORMATION AS WELL.

AN OFFICER COULD REMEMBER SOMETHING DIFFERENTLY, GET BACK AND LOOK AT THE VIDEO FOOTAGE AND SAY, THAT REALLY DIDN'T OCCUR THE WAY I THOUGHT IT WAS.

MAYBE MY EMOTION PLAYED INTO THIS.

IT COULD ULTIMATELY END UP IN SOMEBODYING BEING RELEASED NOT CHARGED.

THE CHIEF HELD A SERIES OF TOWN HALL MEETINGS TO HEAR THE COMMUNITY'S SUGGESTIONS BEFORE INSTALLING THE BODY CAMERAS.

WE HEADED BACK TO NORTH CAMDEN TO MEET WITH ACTIVIST NATALIE RIVERA WHO IS VOCAL THEATE THOSE FORUMS.

THE CAMERAS I BELIEVE ARE WONDERFUL.

I THINK IT'S A GREAT IDEA.

I THINK IT BRINGS ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE.

IT BRINGS ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO DO COMMUNITY POLICING CORRECT.

AND I BELIEVE WE'RE A MODEL.

I DO SEE THE EFFORT WITH THE COUNTY METRO DEPARTMENT WITH COMING TO THE PARK DOING POP-UP BLOCK PARTIES AND INTERACTING WITH THE KIDS AND JUST THROUGHOUT THE CITY AT THE COMMUNITY CENTERS, DOING MOVIE NIGHTS AT THE PARK.

I THINK IT'S A PEACEFUL SITUATION NOW.

THAT ENTHUSIASM NATALIE EXUDES ISN'T UNIVERSALLY SHARED.

THERE ARE ELEMENTS OF THE COMMUNITY FRUSTRATED THAT THEY NEVER HAD A SAY IN THE POLICE TAKEOVER.

COME DOWN TO THE CAMDEN HIGH SCHOOL, WE'LL MEET WITH A TEACHER NAMED KEITH BENSON.

IN ADDITION TO BEING A HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER HE'S ALSO A VERY VOCAL COMMUNITY ACTIVIST.

HE'S BEEN A LONGTIME CRITIC OF THE POLICE FORCE AND DOESN'T BUY THE ARGUMENT THAT THE CITY OFFICIALS HAVE PUT FORWARD THAT CAMDEN IS EXPERIENCING THIS SO-CALLED RENAISSANCE.

IT SHOULD BE QUITE INTERESTING TO SEE WHAT HE HAS TO SAY ON THESE NEW POLICE BODY CAMERAS.

I THINK FOR THE PUBLIC HAVING ACCESS TO THE INFORMATION IS POTENTIALLY GOOD.

BUT THE BIGGEST QUESTION IS, WHAT HAPPENS AFTER IT?

IF WE SEE POLICE ACTING OUT OF THE REALM OF WHAT WE DEEM REASONABLE AND WE SEE NOT ACTION COME OUT OF WHAT WE ALL SEEN AS ACTS OF INJUSTICE THAT COULD SERVE TO CREATE BIGGER VOIDS IN THE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN THE COMMUNITY AND POLICE.

YOU SAID BACK IN 2013 THE COMMUNITY DIDN'T REALLY GET A SAY WHEN IT CAME TO THIS COUNTY POLICE FORCE MOVING IN.

BUT WHEN IT CAME TO THE ADOPTION OF THESE POLICE BODY CAMERAS, THE POLICE FORCE HELD A NUMBER OF COMMUNITY MEETINGS WHERE THEY WELCOMED INPUT, OPINIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY.

WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THOSE MEETINGS?

I WOULD SAY WHAT WE CONSIDER TO BE COMMUNITY MEETINGS, WHAT ARE CALLED COMMUNITY MTGS REALLY ARE NOT COMMUNITY MEETINGS.

WHY?

BECAUSE WHAT HAPPENS AT COMMUNITY MEETING IS THAT THE MAYOR'S FRIENDS, THE CONNECTED POLITICIANS' FRIENDS, CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS' FAMILY OR EVEN THE ELDERLY, SENIORS WHO ARE AWARE AND ARE ABREAST OF THE CERTAIN ISSUES, THEY'LL SHOW UP TO A MEETING.

BUT UNDERSTAND CAMDEN IS AN EXTRAORDINARILY YOUNG CITY.

SO COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT ACTUALLY IS A -- COMMUNITY MEETINGS IS ACTUALLY GOING THERE TO THEM AND HOLDING THESE SORT OF INFORMATIONAL SETTINGS.

SO I WOULD SAY THAT THE IDEA OF COMMUNITY MEETINGS ARE CONTRIVED IN OUR COMMUNITY AT ALL.

WE FINISHED THE DAY BACK WHERE WE BEGAN, IN NORTH CAMDEN, SCHOOL WAS OUT, THE WORKING DAY WAS OVER, AND WE SPOKE TO A NUMBER OF THE RESIDENTS.

IT WAS THERE KEITH'S CRITICISMS WERE TO AN EXTENT SUPPORTED.

YOU HAD NO IDEA THEY CAMERAS.

I HEARD BUT I DIDN'T KNOW CAMDEN HAD THEM.

YOU WEREN'T AWARE --

I SAW ARTICLES OF THEM.

THEY'VE BEEN HERE FOR MONTHS.

I HAVENT NOTICED THEM.

I THINK I KNEW ABOUT THEM, I JUST DIDN'T KNOW IT WAS IN CAMDEN.

I THOUGHT IT WAS DETROIT, CHICAGO, STUFF LIKE THAT.

I JUST DIDN'T KNOW WAS IN CAMDEN.

IT'S WORTH NOTING THAT ED, WHO YOU HEARD FROM THERE, WASN'T ALONE.

WE SPOKE TO MORE THAN TWO DOZEN CAMDEN RESIDENTS THAT EVENING.

THE MAJORITY OF WHOM HAD NO IDEA THAT THE POLICE WERE NOW EQUIPPED WITH BODY CAMERAS.

AS NEW YORK PREPARES TO FOLLOW CAMDEN'S EXAMPLE, IT SEEMS VERY CLEAR THAT ONE OF THE FOCUSES NEEDS TO BE THAT MAKING SURE THESE COMMUNITIES ARE BETTER INFORMED.

> LET'S HEAD DOWN TO ONE POLICE PLAZA WHERE MAYOR BILL de BLASIO AND POLICE COMMISSIONER JAMES O'NEIL HELD A PRESS CONFERENCE EARLIER TODAY TO ADDRESS THE MASSIVE TRAFFIC PROBLEMS SURROUNDING PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD TRUMP'S HOME AT TRUMP TOWER ON FIFTH AVENUE AND 56th STREET.

LET'S LISTEN IN NOW TO WHAT THE CITY HAS IN MIND AT LEAST UNTIL INAUGURATION DAY.

FIRSTLY, WE'RE NOT CLOSING FIFTH AVENUE ON ANY KIND OF PERMANENT BASIS.

IT WAS CLOSED FOR BELIEF PERIODS OF TIME TO IMPROVE SECURITY.

BUT AGAIN, NO WHOLESALE CLOSE YOU'RES OF FIFTH AVENUE ARE PLANNED.

TRUMP TOWER AS YOU KNOW IS LOCATED AT EAST 56th STREET AND FIFTH AVENUE, ONE BLOCK SOUTH OF ONE OF THE BUSIEST INTERSECTIONS IN NEW YORK CITY AND POSSIBLY THE NATION.

WHAT YOU'RE SEEING IN THAT AREA NOW IN TERMS OF OUR NEW SECURITY MANAGEMENT IS WHAT WE EXPECT WILL REMAIN IN PLACE THROUGH THE INAUGURATION.

IN MANY RESPECTS, THIS IS NO DIFFERENT THAN THE MANY MAJOR EVENTS THE NYPD SECURES EACH AND EVERY DAY.

IN TERMS OF SECURITY, THERE ARE MANY THINGS THE PUBLIC WILL SEE AND MANY THINGS THE PUBLIC WILL NOT SEE.

WE'LL HAVE OUR EXPLOSIVE DETECTION K-9s, SPECIALIZED UNITS LIKE THE CRITICAL RESPONSE COMMAND AND STRATEGIC RESPONSE GROUP AS WELL AS PLAINCLOTHES OFFICERS AND SURVEILLANCE TEAMS WORKING HAND IN HAND WITH OUR INTELLIGENCE BUREAU AND PARTNERS IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, SPECIFICALLY THE SECRET SERVICE.

AGAIN, NONE OF THIS IS NEW FOR US AND AGAIN AS WE ALWAYS DO, WE'LL CONSTANTLY REASSESS THIS PLAN AND MAKE ANY ADJUSTMENTS WE DEEM NECESSARY TO MAKE SURE WE MAINTAIN THE PROPER BALANCE OF SECURITY AND EVERYDAY LIFE IN OUR GREAT CITY.

NOW, NEW YORK CITY HAS A LONG HISTORY OF DEALING WITH EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS, NONE MORE SO THAN JUST OVER A YEAR AGO WHEN WE HAD POPE FRANCIS AND OVER 150 WORLD LEADERS AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES ALL IN TOWN IN THE SAME DAYS.

NYPD DID AN EXTRAORDINARY JOB WORKING WITH OUR FEDERAL PARTNERS IN THAT TIME KEEPING EVERYTHING MOVING AND KEEPING EVERYONE SAFE.

SO THIS EXTRAORDINARY DEPARTMENT IS NO STRANGER TO THESE CHALLENGES, AND IT IS A KNOWN FACT THAT PRESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES, INCLUDING OF COURSE PRESIDENT OBAMA, HAVE COME INTO NEW YORK CITY ON A REGULAR BASIS THROUGHOUT THEIR PRESIDENT DENSECYS AND THEY'RE VERY REFINED APPROACHES TO HANDLING THOSE VISITS.

SO THE NYPD IS PARTICULARLY WELL SUITED TO TAKE ON THIS CHALLENGE.

BUT IT IS AN UNPRECEDENTED CHALLENGE.

IN THE MODERN WORLD, WE HAVE NEVER HAD A SITUATION WHERE A PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATESED WOULD BE HERE ON SUCH A REGULAR BASIS, ALTHOUGH AGAIN THE DETAILS OF HIS FUTURE PLANS ARE UNKNOWN.

BUT WE CERTAINLY KNOW OF THESE NEXT 65 DAYS HE WILL BE HERE VERY REGULARLY.

WE'VE NEVER HAD THAT SITUATION BEFORE AND CERTAINLY NOT WITH THE FOCAL POINT LOCATION BEING IN THE HARD OF MIDTOWN MANHATTAN.

> AS LIFE EXPECTANCIES REACH RECORD HIGHS, WE AS A CITY ARE AGING.

MORE THAN 1.4 MILLION NEW YORKERS ARE 60 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER.

BY 2030, THAT NUMBER IS ESTIMATED TO SWELL TO MORE THAN 1.8 MILLION.

OR 20% OF CITY RESIDENTS.

OUTNUMBERING THE CITY'S SCHOOLCHILDREN.

THE GROWTH BRINGS A RISING DEMAND FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES.

THE NONPROFIT SELF HELP IS ANSWERING THAT CALL PROVIDING CARE AND SERVICES TO THOUSANDS OF AGING NEW YORKERS.

SANDY MYERS SELF HELP DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENT AND EXTERNAL RELATIONS JOINS ME NOW.

THANKS FOR BEING WITH US.

THANKS SO MUCH FOR HAVING ME.

SANDY, SELF HELP DIDN'T START SPECIFICALLY TARGETING THE SENIOR CITIZEN POPULATION.

HOW DID IT GET ITS START 80 YEARS AGO?

AS YOU MENTIONED, WE'RE CELEBRATING OUR 80th ANNIVERSARY RIGHT NOW.

AND WE STARTED IN 1936 AS A VOLUNTEER-LED ORGANIZATION SERVING PEOPLE WHO ARE FLEEING NAZI PERSECUTION BEFORE TWORLD WAR II.

TODAY WE'RE GRON SIGNIFICANTLY AND NOW WE SERVE 20,000 OLDER ADULTS FROM DIVERSE BACKGROUNDS AT 27 LOCATIONS THROUGHOUT NEW YORK CITY AND IN HOMES ALSO THROUGHOUT NEW YORK CITY AS WELL AS NASSAU COUNTY.

SO WHAT SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS AND ACCOMMODATIONS TO SPECIFICALLY HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS AS YOU SERVED THAT POPULATION DID THEY REQUIRE AND HOW DID THAT NEED CHANGE?

SURE.

WHEN WE INITIALLY STARTED THE ORGANIZATION BACK IN 1936, WE HELPED PEOPLE RESETTLE HERE IN THE UNITED STATES AND IN NEW YORK WITH EVERYTHING FROM JOB TRAINING TO CASH ASSISTANCE, CASE MANAGEMENT, AND HOUSING.

AND THROUGHOUT THE '60s, AS WE STARTED TO GROW WITH THE CREATION OF MEDICARE AND MEDICAID, WE STARTED SERVING A DIVERSE POPULATION.

AND REALLY LEARNED THE SAME LESSON, THAT THE WAY TO SERVE HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS IN TERMS OF AVOIDING INCONSTITUTIONALIZATION IS REALLY BENEFICIAL FOR SENIORS FROM DIVERSE BACKGROUNDS.

SO THE ORGANIZATION GREW QUICKLY AND REALLY EXPANDED.

WE STARTED OPERATING SENIOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING WHERE WE ENABLED SENIORS TO LIVE IND PENALTY AND STAY AT HOME AS OPPOSED TO AN INSTITUTIONAL SETTING.

SO THE SITES, FOR EXAMPLE, ARE BUILT WITH THE SNEEDS OF SENIORS IN MIND.

ALL OF OUR BUILDINGS HAVE ELEVATORS.

WE ALSO HAVE HALLWAYS THAT ARE WIDE ENOUGH TO ACCOMMODATE WHEELCHAIRS AND WALKERS.

SO IF PEOPLE MOVE IN AT THE AGE OF 70 AND THEY MIGHT STILL BE TOTALLY MOBILE, THEY'RE ABLE TO STAY THERE AND AGE UNTIL THEIR 90s AND WELL INTO THEIR 100s HOPEFULLY AND STILL STAY IN THEIR APARTMENT.

SO WE SAW THAT NEED WITH HOLOCAUST YOU SURVIVORS, WE SAW THAT NEED AND DESIRE TO STAY IN HOMES AND COMMUNITIES AND WE REALLY APPLIED THAT TO THE BROADER SENIOR POPULATION.

AND AMONG THE ELDER POPULATION ARE A LOT OF IMMIGRANTS, RIGHT?

WHAT KINDS OF ACCOMMODATIONS DO THEY REQUIRE?

SURE.

SO WITH THE IMMIGRANT COMMUNITY, IT'S ON THE ONE HAND SIMILAR, WE HAVE FOLKS THAT WANT TO STAY IN COMMUNITIES.

NEW YORK CITY IS REALLY A COMMUNITY OF IMGRABT COMMUNITIES.

THAT'S WHAT WE SEE ESPECIALLY IN QUEENS WHERE SELF HELP HAS A BIG PRESENCE.

WE HAVE A LOT OF DIFFERENT SITES IN FLUSHING, SOME OF OUR AFFORDABLE HOUSING THERE, ALSO A NUMBER OF SENIOR CENTERS IN QUEENS, FIVE IN PARTICULAR AND TWO IN FLUSHING, CASE MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS.

AND IN FLUSHING ALONE ACTUALLY WE SEE A BIG CHINESE COMMUNITY AND SELF HELP ACTUALLY SERVES ABOUT 5,000 CHINESE SPEAKING ELDERS WITHIN OUR 20,000 SENIORS ACROSS ALL OF OUR PROGRAM AREAS.

AND WE SEE THAT, AGAIN, THEY WANT TO STAY IN THEIR HOMES.

THEY ENJOY ACTIVITIES AT SENIOR CENTERS WE HAVE A HIGH RATE OF PARTICIPATION AT OUR SENIOR CENTERS.

WE'RE ABLE TO PROVIDE CULTURALLY COMPETENT PROGRAMMING TO THIS POPULATION AS WELL.

AND IN CASE MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS, TOO, WE HAVE SENIORS WHO -- WE HAVE STAFF I SHOULD SAY THAT SPEAK THE LANGUAGES OF OUR CLIENTS SO WE'RE ABLE TO COMMUNITY WITH THEM AND BEST ASSIST THEM IN MAKING A LIFE AND CONTINUING TO AGE IN NEW YORK CITY.

AND SELF HELP HAS TAKEN ON TECH NOW.

HOW ARE YOU INTEGRATING THAT?

YES.

ONE OF OUR MOST INNOVATIVE PROGRAMS WAS IN TECHNOLOGY CALLED OUR -- PRETTY MUCH WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE.

BUT TO DESCRIBE -- IMAGINE A HOMEBOUND INDIVIDUAL SITTING ON THE COUCH AT HOME.

THEY ARE ABLE THROUGH OUR VIRTUAL SENIOR CENTER TO CONNECT TO ABOUT 40 CLASSES PER WEEK.

THEY'RE LIVE.

THEY'RE INTERACTIVE.

AND THEY ARE COMMUNICATING WITH OTHER HOMEBOUND SENIORS AS WELL AS SOME SENIORS AT THE LOCAL NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER.

SO WE HAVE CLALSS SEVEN DAYS A WEEK ALL THROUGHOUT THE DAY.

AND IT'S EVERYTHING FROM EXERCISE, MUSIC, LANGUAGE, WE EVEN HAVE MUSEUM TOURS WHICH I THINK IS SOME OF THE MOST EXCITING.

WE HAVE PEOPLE WHO ARE HOME BOUND WHO CAN'T EVEN GET TO THE LOCAL GROCERY STORE WHO ARE ABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN A CLASS THAT'S A TOUR OF A MUSEUM HALFWAY AROUND THE WORLD.

WE ACTUALLY HAVE ONE CLIENT WHO I WAS SPEAKING TO RECENTLY WHO ACTUALLY TOLD ME SHE PLANS HER SCHEDULE AND HER LUNCHTIME AROUND THE CLASSES THAT DAY.

SO IT'S REALLY AN AMAZING PROGRAM THAT HELPS THIS POPULATION TOO STAY CONNECTED AND TO STAY ENGAGED.

HOW SAVVY DO YOU HAVE TO BE TO PARTICIPATE?

DO YOU HAVE A BIG PARTICIPATION RATE?

WE DO.

WE SERVE ABOUT 300 SENIORS ON THE VIRTUAL SENIOR CENTER.

YOU DEFINITELY DO NOT HAVE TO BE TECH SAVVY.

WE HE BUILT THIS JUST LIKE OUR HOUSING WITH THE NEEDS OF SENIORS IN MIND.

IT'S EASY TO USE TECHNOLOGY.

WITH THE CLICKS OF A FEW BUTTONS THAT YOU JUST NEED TO PRESS ON THE COMPUTER, YOU CAN JOIN ANY OF THE CLASSES.

IT'S EASY TO USE AND REALLY SUPPORTS THIS POPULATION.

SANDY, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BEING WITH US.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

> EVERYONE HAS THEIR STORY AND WHO IF ANYONE WILL TELL IT?

FOR NEARLY 20 YEARS, AN ORGANIZATION CALLED THE -- HAS EVERYDAY PEOPLE SHARE THEIR STORIES ONE AT A TIME TO A ROOM OF STRANGERS.

THIS SIMPLE PROCESS HAS THE ABILITY TO MOVE THE HEARTS OF LISTENERS AS ONLY THE GIFT OF GOOD STORYTELLING CAN.

WE CAUGHT UP WITH A STORYTELLER AND HER COACH AT A RECENT EVENT IN NEW YORK CITY.

IT IS A NOT FOR PROFIT ORGANIZATION DEDICATED TO THE ART AND THE CRAFT OF TRUE PERSONAL STORY.

WE SAY THAT THESE PERSONAL STORIES HONOR BOTH THE COMMONALTY AND THE DIVERSITY OF THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE.

SOMETIMES THEY'RE HUMOROUS AND SOMETIMES THEY'RE HEARTBREAKING.

MOST OF THEM COVER THE POINTS IN BETWEEN.

WE HAVE A COUPLE OF DIFFERENT SERIES.

ONE IS THE MAIN STAGE WHICH IS THE BULK OF WHAT YOU HEAR ON THE RADIO HOUR AND THE PODCAST.

WE HAVE OPEN MIKE SLAM NIGHTS WHICH ARE NOW IN 26 CITIES.

AND WE HAVE THE COMMUNITY PROGRAM, WHICH BRINGS PERSONAL STORYTELLING WORKSHOPS TO COMMUNITY GROUPS IN THE STATES BUT NOW ALSO IN AFRICA.

TOMORROW NIGHT THE THEME IS GLOBAL STORIES OF WOMEN AND GIRLS.

OUR NEXT STORYTELLER, WHEN I ASKED HER, WHAT IS YOUR SUPER POWER?

SHE SAID THE PERFECT ANSWER.

SHE LOOKED AT ME AND SAID, BEING A WOMAN.

PLEASE WELCOME!

ON THE HIGH MOUNTAINS IN NEPAL IN AN ASSIGNMENT FOR THE GOVERNMENT.

I'M AN BSTETRICIAN AND GYNECOLOGIST.

I'M FROM NEPAL AND BASED AT THE MOMENT IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

THE MORE YOU CAN VISUALIZE IT AND THE MORE YOU CAN PUT US INTO THE MOMENT WITH YOUR FEELING, ALL THE STORYTELLERS WERE PART OF PERSONAL STORYTELLING WORKSHOPS.

THE PURPOSE IS REALLY TO FIND THESE PERSONAL STORIES THAT THE STORYTELLERS CHOOSE TO TELL, THAT THEY WANT TO TELL.

THEY WILL WANT TO TELL THOSE STORIES AND OTHER STORIES OUT IN THE WORLD.

LET'S TRY IT.

I'LL TAKE SOME NOTES AND WE'LL TIME IT.

WE HAVE -- ON A REGULAR BASIS, WE CAN TALK TO HER AND SHE'S REALLY TRAINING ME ON STORYTELLING.

I'VE BEEN HELPING OUT IN HEALTH CARE.

I'VE JUST FINISHED A SURGERY AND RESTING OVER A CUP OF TEA.

EVER SINCE I WAS A SMALL GIRL, I HAD ALWAYS THOUGHT I WOULD BE A DOCTOR ONE DAY.

THAT THAT WAS WHAT MY DREAMS WERE.

BUT PARTICULARLY BECAUSE IN OUR COUNTRY SO MANY WOMEN ARE JUST -- THAT'S WHY I DECIDED TO DO OBSTETRICS AND REALLY BE ABLE TO HELP THESE WOMEN.

THE PHONE RINGS.

I QUICKLY GRAB THE PHONE AS I KNOW IT'S FROM HOME.

WHEN SUDDENLY I HEAR A STRANGE MAN'S VOICE ON THE OTHER END.

I WANT YOU TO CHANGE THE REPORT OF A YOUNG GIRL YOU EXAMINED TWO MONTHS BACK.

THE PERSON YOU GAVE THE REPORT AGAINST IS ONE OF -- AND HE'S IN POLICE CUSTODY.

SO WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT THE REPORT IS CHANGED TO NOT BEING SEXUAL ASSAULT.

WE BELONG TO THE ARMED REBELS, AND YOU KNOW WHAT THE CONSEQUENCES ARE IF YOU DON'T.

I WAS FRIGHTENED.

I DID NOT KNOW WHAT THIS MEANT FOR ME.

IN THE WORKSHOP, WE TAKE A LOT OF TIME TO FIND IN MANY CASES THEIR BIG DECISIONS THAT YOU HAD TO MAKE THAT CHANGED THE COURSE OF YOUR LIFE.

FLASHES OF THE GIRL KEPT COMING TO MY MIND.

SHE WAS ONLY 13 YEARS OLD.

AND THAT WAS THE VERDICT I HAD GIVEN.

NOW AT GUNPOINT I WAS MADE TO CHANGE MY DECISION.

BUT ALL ALONG, I KNEW WHAT MY DECISION WOULD BE.

I WANT TO MAKE SURE I'M FEELING AS CLOSE TO YOU IN YOUR STORY AS POSSIBLE SO TELL ME HOW THAT FELT.

GIVE P ME ALL OF THE FEELING, THE FEELING BACKS UP THE PLOT POINTS.

WE SAY IT'S NOT AND THEN AND THEN AND THEN.

IT'S WHAT'S AT STAKE FOR YOU.

WAS IT NECESSARY FOR ME TO SAY THAT I'M NOW NO LONGER DOING A CLINICAL PRACTICE?

THE REASON IS MY WHOLE LIFE I WAS AN OBSTETRICIAN, DOING ALL THAT.

AND NOW I'M --

I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT.

FOR ME, IT'S SO IMPORTANT IN MY LIFE.

YES.

YES.

THAT YOU HAD TO GIVE IT UP.

UH-HUH.

I JUST GET EMOTIONAL.

LET ME ASK YOU, WHY DO YOU EMPOWER THE HEALTH WORKERS?

WHY DO YOU TEACH THE HEALTH WORKERS LIKE YOU DO?

THE REASON BEING, LIKE SO THAT THEY ARE CONFIDENT AND THEY ALSO UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS.

BECAUSE ONCE WE HAVE THOSE CONVERSATIONS TO I SAY PULL OUT ALL THE PIECES, THEN WE TRY TO FIGURE OUT HOW WE CAN PUT IT BACK TOGETHER AGAIN SO THAT THERE'S A VERY DEFINABLE PERSONAL ARC.

THAT THESE GIRLS DESERVE JUSTICE.

THEY DESERVE THE RIGHT TO LIVE WITH DIGNITY.

I DECIDED I WOULD BE THEIR VOICE.

AT THE END, THERE WERE ALSO PEOPLE WHO CAME TO ME AND JUST HELD MY HANDS AND REALLY CONGRATULATED ME, WHICH CLEARLY SHOWED THAT THEY REALLY FELT THE WAY I DID.

THE EXPRESSION WHICH THEY HAD IN THEIR FACE LIKE THEY WERE LIVING THOSE MOMENTS WITH ME.

TO EMPOWER THEM SO THAT THEY CAN STAND FOR THESE GIRLS.

THEY CAN STAND FOR THE SURVIVAL.

NO MATTER WHAT THE RISK.

NO ONE WILL EVER TURN THEIR BACK ON THEM AGAIN.

THANK YOU.

Announcer: FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY --

©2022 WNET. All Rights Reserved. 825 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10019

WNET is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Tax ID: 26-2810489