METROFOCUS: APRIL 23, 2019

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, tonight we shine a light on this problem, expose how wide spread it is in our area, and what is being done to protect the innocent. Climate change and its effect on our local wildlife is causing concern and producing some unexpected success stories.  The Nature Conservancy’s Bill Ulfelder has the details. Food: nutritious, fresh, necessary, and hard to come by right here in the metro area.  A look at so-called “food deserts” and City Harvest’s fight against them. The National Dance Institute of New York offers inner city kids a chance of being creative and free while developing the full mind. You don’t want to miss it!

Aired on April 23, 2019.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT ON METRO FOCUS, THEY'RE NEW YORK'S YOUNGEST VICTIMS AND SOME OF YOUR NEIGHBORS AND EVEN THE CLASSMATES OF YOUR SONS AND DAUGHTERS.

THEY ARE TOO OFTEN LEFT HIDING IN THE SHADOWS.

APRIL IS CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION MONTH AND TONIGHT WE EXPOSE HOW WIDESPREAD THIS HEART BREAKING REALITY IS IN OUR AREA AND TELL YOU WHAT'S BEING DONE TO PROTECT THE INNOCENT.

THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE CAN BE DEVASTATING IN OUR LOCAL WILDLIFE, BUT THERE IS HOPE.

A REPORT ON THE PROBLEM AND THE SUCCESS STORIES JUST AHEAD.

> FRESH NUTRITIOUS FOOD IS OF COURSE ESSENTIAL AND SADLY HARD TO COME BY IN SOME PARTS OF THE METRO AREA.

THE CONTINUED FIGHT AGAINST IT.

THE NATIONAL DANCE INSTITUTE OF NEW YORK IS OFFERING INNER CITY KIDS FREEDOM IN A WAY YOU MAY HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE.

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

THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAPHAEL PI ROMAN, JEFF FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY 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.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM IS ALSO PROVIDED BY THE JPB FOUNDATION AND THE FORD FOUNDATION.

OVER THE PAST YEAR NEW YORK CITY'S ADMINISTRATION FOR CHILDREN'S SERVICES, THE ACS, HAS BEEN UNDER FIRE FOR ITS FAILURE TO PREVENT CHILD ABUSE FATALITIES.

AND AS THE NEW COMMISSIONER BEGINS THE DAUNTING TASK OF FIXING THE ACS, THE NEED SEEMS MORE CRITICAL NOW THERE ARE MORE THAN 250 CASES OF CHILD NEGLECT AND ABUSE REPORTED EVERY DAY IN NEW YORK CITY.

WELL, THE ADMINISTRATION FOR CHILDREN'S SERVICES IS THE CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICE SYSTEM.

SOME OF THE MOST SEVERE OF THOSE CASES OF ABUSE ARE REFERRED TO THE NEW YORK SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO CHILDREN, A NONPROFIT PRIVATE AGENCY WORKING ALONGSIDE THE ACS.

THE SOCIETY WHICH WAS FOUNDED IN NEW YORK CITY MORE THAN 140 YEARS AGO, IS THE FIRST AND OLDEST CHILD PROTECTIVE AGENCY IN THE WORLD.

ITS MISSION IS TO MEET THE URGENT NEEDS OF THE CITY'S MOST VULNERABLE CHILDREN AND HELP KEEP THEM SAFE FROM ABUSE AND NEGLECT.

APRIL IS NATIONAL CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION MONTH AND TO TALK ABOUT THIS VERY IMPORTANT ISSUE IS THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE NEW YORK SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO CHILDREN, DOCTOR MARY PALIDO.

WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING ME.

LET'S BEGIN AT THE BEGINNING.

HOW DID YOUR ORGANIZATION HOW DID THE SOCIETY GET ITS START?

THE NEW YORK SOCIETY FOR PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO CHILDREN WAS STARTED RIGHT HERE IN NEW YORK CITY IN 1875 IN HELL'S KITCHEN.

THERE WAS A LITTLE GIRL NAMED MARY ELLEN WHO WAS BEING HORRIBLY ABUSED AND THERE WAS A CHURCH WORKER NAMED ETTA WHEELER WHO HEARD OF THE ABUSE BUT SHE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO DO BECAUSE IN 1875, THERE WERE LAWS TO PROTECT ANIMALS, NOT LAWS TO PROTECT CHILDREN.

SO, SHE ACTUALLY WENT TO THE ASPCA AND MET WITH TWO ATTORNEYS, HENRY BERG AND ELBRIDGE GARY.

THEY SENT PEOPLE IN TO RESCUE LITTLE MARY ELLEN AND THEN THE ASPCA ATTORNEY GARY FOUNDED THE NYSPCC AND WROTE THE BASIC TENET OF CHILD PROTECTION LAWS THAT ARE STILL ON THE BOOKS TODAY.

SO, THE CHILD PROTECTION MOVEMENT STARTED RIGHT HERE.

SO, BEFORE 1875, CRUELTY THAT YOU COULD COMMIT ON A CHILD YOU COULDN'T COMMIT ON AN ANIMAL.

THAT'S CORRECT.

OH, MY GOD.

BRIEFLY I TOUCHED ON IT IN THE INTRODUCTION ABOUT THE MISSION OF THE SOCIETY, BUT I WONDER IF YOU CAN ELABORATE WHAT IT IS AND HOW IT HAS EVOLVED OVER THE YEARS.

SURE.

WELL, INITIALLY WE WERE ACS BEFORE THERE WAS ACS.

SO, OVER OUR HISTORY WE HAVE INVESTIGATED OVER 650,000 CASES OF CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT INVOLVING 2 MILLION CHILDREN.

THEN IN THE 1970s, THE GOVERNMENT REALIZING HOW WIDESPREAD THE PROBLEM WAS, TOOK OVER THAT INVESTIGATIVE REMOVAL AND SPCCs WHICH BY THAT TIME HAD FLOURISHED THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES, EITHER WENT OUT OF BUSINESS OR CHANGED THEIR MISSION AND THEIR FOCUS.

SO, TODAY WE PROVIDE MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELING AND HEALING FOR CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN ABUSED.

IF CHILDREN ARE REMOVED, WE WORK WITH THE FAMILIES AND THE CHILDREN TO REPAIR AND RESTORE THOSE RELATIONSHIPS AND OUR SUPERVISED VISITATION PROGRAM, AND WE OFFER SERVICES THAT I THINK THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE OF THE THINGS WE OFFER IS PREVENTION SERVICES.

WE ARE IN THE SCHOOLS EVERY DAY TRYING TO TEACH CHILDREN AND PARENTS AND TEACHERS HOW TO RECOGNIZE AND REPORT CHILD ABUSE AND HOW TO PREVENT CHILD ABUSE.

SO, YOU ALSO HELP CASEWORKERS AND FIRST RESPONDERS WHO ARE REALLY SUBJECTED TO TRAUMA SEEING THESE TERRIBLE THINGS EVERY DAY.

YOU HELP THEM COPE WITH THAT.

YES, YES, WE RUN THE CRISIS DEBRIEFING PROGRAM FOR NEW YORK CITY CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES AND FOR SOMETIMES HORRIBLE THINGS HAPPEN AT FOSTER CARE AGENCIES AS WELL.

AND WE WORK WITH THEM ON THEIR STRESS MANAGEMENT, ON COPING SKILLS, AND HELPING THEM FOCUS ON WHAT THEY NEED TO DO SO THEY CAN COME BACK AND CONTINUE TO DO THESE DIFFICULT JOBS DAY IN, DAY OUT.

WELL, YOU KNOW, OVER THE PAST YEAR, WE'VE DONE A NUMBER OF SEGMENTS ON, YOU KNOW, THE CRISIS, IF I CAN USE THAT WORD, THAT THE ACS HAS BEEN GOING THROUGH BECAUSE OF ALL THOSE CHILDREN ABUSE FATALITIES THAT WE'VE LEARNED ABOUT.

THE CITY'S DEPARTMENT OF INVESTIGATION SAID THAT THOSE CASES AND THE PROBLEMS AT THE ACS STEM FROM A SYSTEMIC DYSFUNCTION.

FIRST OF ALL I I WONDER DO YOU AGREE WITH THAT ASSESSMENT THAT THE ACS IS SYSTEMICALLY DYSFUNCTIONAL OR HAS BEEN?

AND WHAT DO YOU DO TO FIX IT?

YOU KNOW, THE 89,000 REPORTS THAT ARE CALLED IN EVERY YEAR ON CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT, OF THOSE THERE'S 55,000 ACTUAL INVESTIGATIONS THAT THE CPS WORKERS HAVE TO CONDUCT.

AND THAT INVOLVES AROUND 85,000 CHILDREN AND AROUND 40% OF THOSE CASES ARE INDICATED CHILD ABUSE OR NEGLECT AND SERVICES HAVE TO BE PUT IN PLACE FOR THOSE FAMILIES.

SO, THOSE INVESTIGATIONS ARE CHALLENGING, TIME CONSUMING, DAUNTING AND SOMETIMES DOWN RIGHT DANGEROUS AS WE KNOW.

THE MAJORITY OF TIMES, THOSE FAMILIES DO RECEIVE THE SERVICES AND THE HELP THEY NEED.

HOWEVER, AS HAS BECOME VERY CLEAR, THERE ARE INSTANCES AS THE LAST FOUR HORRIFIC FATALITIES POINT OUT WHERE ACS DID NOT DO WHAT WAS NEEDED TO BE DONE.

SO, THERE IS A NEED I THINK BETWEEN THE NEW COMMISSIONER, COMMISSIONER HANSEL COMING IN, I THINK THE CROLL INVESTIGATIVE REPORT NOW THAT THEY'RE AUDITING THE PROCEDURES, WILL SHOW THERE IS A NEED TO SUPPORT THE WORK OF ACS WITH THESE CRITICAL INVESTIGATIONS REGARDING TRAINING, REGARDING SUPERVISION, REGARDING SAFETY IN THE FIELD.

RIGHT.

AND I'M HOPEFUL THAT THAT WILL SURE UP THIS PART OF ACS THAT REALLY NEEDS THE ADDITIONAL ATTENTION RIGHT NOW.

WE HAVE LESS THAN A MINUTE LEFT AND I WANT TO GET INTO YOUR ORGANIZATION IS HOLDING ITS 6th ANNUAL SPRING LUNCHEON TO RAISE FUNDS FOR YOUR PROGRAMS INCLUDING YOUR SAFE TOUCHES PROGRAM.

WHAT IS THAT PROGRAM?

SAFE TOUCHES IS AN AMAZING PROGRAM.

IT'S OUR CHILD SEX ABUSE PREVENTION PROGRAM FOR KINDERGARTNERS THROUGH THE THIRD GRADE.

IT TEACHES CHILDREN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEIR PRIVATE PARTS AND NOT PRIVATE PARTS, WHO CAN TOUCH THEM, SAFE TOUCHES AND NOT SAFE TOUCHES AND WHAT THEY CAN DO IF THEY RECEIVE A NOT SAFE TOUCH.

WE'RE IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM EVERY DAY.

WE'VE REACHED OVER 25,000 CHILDREN, AND IT'S CRITICAL THAT WE GET TO THESE CHILDREN WHEN THEY'RE YOUNG BECAUSE THE AVERAGE AGE OF A CHILD BEING SEXUALLY ABUSED IS 8.

SO, WE NEED TO GET TO THE KINDERGARTNERS AND REALLY, YOU KNOW, THEY UNDERSTAND THESE CONCEPTS.

IT'S EVIDENCE-BASED.

WE HAD AN NIH GRANT THAT REALLY WENT IN AND LOOKED AT HOW ARE THEY LEARNING AND THE KIDS ARE LEARNING AND THEY'RE RETAINING IT.

SO, I THINK THIS WE WANT TO PREVENT.

I DON'T WANT THE CHILDREN COMING INTO MY CLINIC.

I WANT TO PREVENT THEM FROM COMING INTO MY CLINIC.

WELL, DOCTOR PALIDOS, YOU DO TREMENDOUS WORK AND WE APPRECIATE THAT AS WELL.

THANK YOU.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO CHILDREN AND ITS RESOURCES PLEASE LOG ONTO 'METROFOCUS'.ORG.

> WHEN WE THINK OF ENDANGERED SPECIES, WE TEND TO THINK OF MAJESTIC ANIMALS IN FAR PLACES, SNOW LEP LEP ERRED IN THE HIM LAY AS.

SOME LIVE HERE IN NEW YORK CITY.

TONIGHT AS PART OF OUR INITIATIVE, PERIL, CLIMATE CHANGE, WE'RE TAKING A LOOK AT HOW CLIMATE CHANGE, LOSS OF HABITAT, AND OTHER FACTORS ARE THREATENING WILDLIFE IN PLACES LIKE THE VERY SAN OWE BRIDGE AND JAMAICA BAY.

WE'LL ALSO LOOK AT SOME OF THE UNEXPECTED SUCCESS STORIES OF URBAN WILDLIFE.

SPECIFICALLY THE RECENT ARRIVALS THAT HAVE MADE THE CITY THEIR HOME AND NOT NOT JUST SURVIVING, BUT THRIVING.

JOINING US TO TALK ABOUT THAT IS THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR THE NEW YORK NATURE CONSERVANCY.

BILL, WELCOME BACK TO THE PROGRAM.

IT'S GREAT TO BE HERE, RAPHAEL, THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

WE DON'T OFTEN ASSOCIATE WILDLIFE WITH NEW YORK CITY.

THERE ARE ABOUT 100 SPECIES THAT CALL THE BIG APPLE THEIR HOME?

IT'S ACTUALLY A LITTLE KNOWN FACT THERE ARE MORE SPECIES THAT OCCUR IN NEW YORK CITY THAN ALL OF YELLOW STONE NATIONAL PARK.

REAL ANY

SO PEOPLE DON'T THINK OF NEW YORK AT THIS HOT BED OF DIVERSITY, BUT IT IS.

IT IS A SPECIAL PLACE OF CONVERGENCE OF SPECIES FROM THE NORTH AND SOUTH.

WE ALSO HAVE THE HUDSON RIVER, THE EAST RIVER, THE OCEAN, ATLANTIC OCEAN.

IT ALL SORT OF HAPPENS RIGHT HERE.

AS HAS BEEN SAID, WHEN HENRY HUDSON CAME HERE, THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN DECLARED A NATIONAL PARK.

IT WAS JUST SO SPECIAL.

AND WE'VE RETAINED A LOT OF THAT.

SO, GIVE US SOME EXAMPLES OF THE KIND OF WILDLIFE WE MAY NOT KNOW.

SOME OF THE ONES GOING TO THE POINT OF ENDANGERED SPECIES, ONE OF THE MOST SPECIAL ONES IS THE PERE GREN FALCON.

OUT IN THE WILD THEY WOULD BE LIVING ON CLIFF FACES.

BUT THERE ARE THESE MANMADE CLIFF FACES ALL OVER THE CITY.

SO, I LIVE NEAR RIVERSIDE CHURCH ON THE WEST SIDE AND THERE ARE PEREGRINS NETTING ON TOP OF THE CHURCH.

I CAN SEE THEM GOING INTO THEIR DIVES ON MY MORNING RUN.

THEY'RE THE FASTEST ANIMAL ON ETH.

THAT'S REALLY FUN.

WE'RE SEEING NOW THIS RESURGENCE YOU A ALLUDED TO IN THE OPENING WHALES ARE COMING BACK HERE.

HUMP BACK WHALES SWIMMING UP THE HUDSON RIVER, SORT OF FEEDING AND PLAYING AROUND THE GEORGE WASHINGTON BRIDGE WHICH WE HAVEN'T SEEN THAT KIND OF ACTIVITY AND BEHAVIOR IN YEARS.

SO, IT'S A SIGN THAT THINGS ARE COMING BACK.

THAT'S GREAT.

GIVE US SOME OTHER EXAMPLES.

WELL, ONE OF THE ONES, I THINK THE OTHER THING THAT'S IMPORTANT TO KNOW IS WE'RE STILL DISCOVERING STUFF.

SO, THE NATURE CONSERVANCY WAS PART OF A TEAM JUST A FEW YEARS AGO.

WE WERE DOING RESEARCH OUT ON STATEN ISLAND AND WE DISCOVERED A NEW SPECIES OF LEOPARD FROG.

MAY NOT BE AS COOL AS A FALCON OR HUMP BACK WHALE.

THIS WAS 20 YEARS AGO, 2015, WE'RE DISCOVERING SPECIES NOT YET KNOWN TO SCIENCE AND THAT, TOO, IS GOING ON HERE IN THE CITY.

SO, THERE'S A LOT.

AND DIFFERENT SEASONS BRING DIFFERENT SPECIES.

WE GET SPRING AND FALL, THE BIRD MIGRATIONS, THE WHALE MIGRATIONS, BUT ALSO WE GET HARBOR SEALS.

IF YOU GO OUT TO BROOKLYN AND QUEENS YOU CAN SEE SNOWY OWLS.

YOU MENTIONED WOLVES AND COYOTES THAT HAVE MATED AND THRIVING IN THE CITY.

IT IS INTERESTING.

I THINK THE CITY HAS CHANGED ITS POLICY AROUND COYOTES.

I THINK THE POLICE HAVE SAID, YOU KNOW, THEY'RE HERE TO STAY.

WE CAN'T ERADICATE THEM.

REALLY WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS LEARN TO LIVE WITH THEM.

THAT'S RIGHT, THE OLD SORT OF ONES WE EXPECT, RACCOONS AND POSSUMS.

THEY'RE HERE.

COYOTES AND DEER MAKE IT INTO THE CITY.

YOU'RE SAYING THESE ARE ENDANGERED.

WHAT IS ENDANGERING THEM?

I THINK THE NUMBER ONE THING WE NEED TO PAY ATTENTION TO IS CLIMATE CHANGE.

IN ONE SENSE, THIS SILENT THREAT, BUT THERE ARE THESE INTENSE ACUTE MOMENTS.

WITH CHANGES IN TEMPERATURE, PRECIPITATION PATTERNS, THESE ARE GOING TO HAVE DRAMATIC EFFECTS ON WHEN FLOWERS ARE FLOWERING, WHEN TREES ARE PRODUCING THEIR NUTS AND THEIR SEEDS.

AND THAT'S GOING TO HAVE BIG EFFECTS ON MIGRATION.

SO, IF YOU THINK ABOUT BIRDS BUT ALSO I SPENT SOME TIME THIS PAST FALL TAGGING MONARCH BUTTERFLIES.

THEY'RE FAMOUS FOR THIS MIGRATION BETWEEN MEXICO AND THE UNITED STATES.

IF YOU START HAVING GLOBAL WEIRDING AS I REFER TO IT AND THESE CHANGES IN FLOWERING AND PRECIPITATION, THAT'S GOING TO AFFECT ANIMALS QUITE A BIT.

BUT I THINK OTHER THINGS LIKE KEEPING GREEN SPACE, KEEPING TREES HEALTHY, YOU KNOW, KEEPING OUR PARKS IN GOOD SHAPE, THESE ARE ALL KEY HABITAT.

THAT'S IMPORTANT FOR THE CITY.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE SUCCESS STORIES, BESIDES THE WHALES COMING BACK, ET CETERA?

THE ONE I THINK WE SHOULD ALL BE MOST PROUD OF ARE THE BALD EAGLES AND I SAY THAT FOR TWO REASONS.

ONE IS THE BALD EAGLES ARE A NATIONAL SYMBOL.

WERE FOR A TIME ON THE ENDANGERED SPECIES LIST, NOW RECENTLY THEY'VE COME OFF.

AND JUST IN THE LAST FEW YEARS WE HAVE OUR FIRST NESTING PAIR AND NOW PAIRS INSIDE NEW YORK CITY.

THEY'RE STARTING TO MAKE THEIR HOME ON STATEN ISLAND AGAIN.

IN THE INTRODUCTION I SAID SOME OF THESE SPECIES ARE NOT ONLY SURVIVING, BUT THRIVING.

IS THERE A PROBLEM THAT MAYBE SOME OF THEM ARE THRIVING TOO WELL IN THE CITY?

WELL, I THINK AROUND SOME SPECIES LIKE COYOTES AND DEER, THAT'S WHERE THE QUESTIONS LIE.

SO, YOU KNOW, I KNOW THERE ARE A LOT OF DOG OWNERS IN THE CITY.

THE THREAT OF A COYOTE IS KIND OF SCARY.

YES.

SO, THAT'S VERY REAL.

WHEN WE ASK OURSELVES THE QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW DO WE LIVE WITH THESE ANIMALS, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

AND IF YOU'RE IN PARTS OF THE CITY WHERE COYOTES ARE STARTING TO APPEAR MORE AND MORE, WHAT ARE THE STEPS YOU TAKE TO KEEP YOUR DOGS, YOUR CATS, THINGS LIKE THAT SAFE, FOR EXAMPLE.

BUT OVERALL MOST OF THESE ANIMALS ARE FAR MORE AFRAID OF US THAN WE ARE OF THEM.

AND IT'S REALLY JUST AN OPPORTUNITY TO REV HE WILL IN THE IDEA WE CAN GO ON WHALE WATCHING TOURS, HARBOR SEA VIEWING TOURS AND BIRD WATCHING TRIPS ALL AROUND THE CITY AND SEE SOME FABULOUS THINGS.

SO, WHAT CAN REGULAR PEOPLE DO TO HELP TO KEEP THESE ANIMALS THRIVING?

WELL, I THINK THE NUMBER ONE THING IS EVERYTHING WE CAN DO TO REDUCE CARBON POLLUTION AND REDUCE OUR CARBON FOOTPRINT.

SO, KEEP USING PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION, YOU KNOW, SWITCH TO THE RENEWABLE ENERGY IF YOU CAN.

WE'VE JUST DONE THAT IN OUR APARTMENT BUILDING WHERE WE'RE GETTING NOW OUR ENERGY PRODUCTION FROM WIND AND SOLAR AND HYDRO.

ANOTHER IS TAKING CARE OF STREET TREES.

IF YOU DON'T HAVE IF YOU HAVE AN EMPTY PIT OUT IN FRONT OR THERE IS A TREE THERE BUT NOBODY IS LOOKING AFTER IT, REALLY CARE FOR IT AND TEND FOR IT BECAUSE IT'S GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND IT'S GOOD FOR WILDLIFE.

AND THEN IT SOUNDS SIMPLE, BUT JUST HELPING KEEP TRACK OF LITTER.

WHEN I WALK MY DOG OVER THE YEARS, I'LL USUALLY JUST SORT OF PICKUP LITTER ALONG THE WAY.

WHEN THERE IS A BIG RAINSTORM, A LOT OF THAT STUFF GETS WASHED INTO OUR SEWER SYSTEM AND GETS BLASTED OUT INTO THE RIVERS AND BAY.

AND THAT'S REALLY BAD FOR MARINE LIFE.

SO, IF WE CAN STAY ON TOP OF THAT, THOSE ARE ALL THINGS WE CAN DO IN OUR DAILY LIVES TO MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE.

BESIDES GOING TO THE HUDSON RIVER AND WATCHING THE WHALES, WHERE CAN SOME PEOPLE GO TO SEE SOME OF THIS WILDLIFE?

THE PLACES I RECOMMEND, CENTRAL PARK OBVIOUSLY ICONIC AND KNOWN.

ALSO PROSPECT PARK.

YOU MENTIONED JAMAICA BAY IN THE OPENING.

THESE ARE WORLD CLASS BIRDING DESTINATIONS.

THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO COME FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD TO EXPERIENCE THE FALL AND SPRING MIGRATION OF BIRDS.

BUT I REALLY DO SUGGEST FOLKS SIGN UP FOR THESE SEAL AND WHALE TOURS AND GO OUT INTO THE PARK AND SEE WHAT'S THERE.

WE JUST HAD A BALD EAGLE FLY PAST OUR WINDOW ON THE UPPER WEST SIDE NOT TOO LONG AGO.

SO, KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN WHEREVER YOU ARE IN THE CITY AND YOU MIGHT BE SURPRISED

ALL RIGHT, BILL, THANK YOU SO MUCH.

IT'S ALWAYS GREAT TO TALK TO YOU.

IT'S GREAT TO BE HERE.

THANKS, RAF.

HERE AT 'METROFOCUS' IT'S ABOUT CHASING THE DREAM INITIATIVE, POVERTY AND OPPORTUNITY IN AMERICA.

WE STRIVE TO PROVIDE YOU WITH A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING OF THE IMPACT OF ECONOMIC INEQUALITY IN AMERICA.

LEGALITY ME START OFF WITH THIS STATISTIC.

IN NEW YORK CITY MORE THAN A MILLION RESIDENTS ARE FACING HUNGER RIGHT NOW.

WITH HOUSING COSTS SOARING AND HEALTHY PRODUCE EXPENSIVE, VEGETABLES AND FRUIT ARE OFTEN LEFT OUT OF MEALS.

TONIGHT LET ME TAKE YOU TO WASHINGTON HEIGHTS AND INTRODUCE YOU TO A NEW PROGRAM WHICH IS PROVIDING NUTRITIOUS FOOD TO NEW YORKERS IN NEED.

THIS IS A NEIGHBORHOOD IN TRANSACTION.

THE NEIGHBORHOOD, A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE CUSTOMERS SHOPPING, MARKETS ARE DISAPPEARING.

AND RENTS ARE GOING UP.

PEOPLE ARE BEING CHASED OUT.

SO, THERE IS A NEED.

DAVID WILLIAMS HAS SEEN HIS WASHINGTON HEIGHTS NEIGHBORHOOD CHANGE OVER THE YEARS.

WILLIAMS ALONG WITH HUNDREDS OF HIS NEIGHBORS GET HELP FROM THIS MOBILE MARKET WHICH GIVES OUT FREE FOOD TO LOCAL RESIDENTS.

THE NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION CITY HARVEST HOSTS THESE POP-UP MARKETS ALL OVER THE CITY.

THEY'RE TARGETING FOOD DESERTS, THOSE AREAS WHERE HEALTHY FOOD IS EITHER INACCESSIBLE OR UNAFFORDABLE FOR MOST RESIDENTS.

I'M SEMI-RETIRED SO IT'S HELPING ME OUT WITH A LIMITED BUDGET AND THEY GIVE A NICE AMOUNT OF PORTIONS HERE.

I ALSO PASS IT ON TO OTHER NEIGHBORS WHO ARE IN NEED.

ALMOST ONE IN FIVE NEW YORKERS ARE FOOD INSECURE, MEANING THEY CAN'T ALWAYS AFFORD NUTRITIOUS FOOD.

FOOD INSECURITY IS WHEN PEOPLE STRUGGLE TO PUT FOOD ON THE TABLE.

A FAMILY MIGHT NOT BE FOOD INSECURE ALL THE TIME.

IT MAY HAPPEN AT THE END OF THE MONTH OR SOMEONE LOSES A JOB OR SOME TYPE OF FIGHT JUST HAPPENED.

MANY, MANY HOUSEHOLDS IN THE AWAY FROM REAL STRUGGLES LIKE THAT.

WHEN CITY HARVEST LAUNCHED IN 1982, IT ENSURED FOOD DOESN'T GO TO WAIST AND DISTRIBUTE IT TO PEOPLE IN NEED.

OVER THE YEARS THEY WORK CLOSELY WITH KITCHENS AND FOOD PANTRIES IN THE CITY.

IN THE EARLY 2000s THEY BEGAN THIS HEALTHY NEIGHBORHOOD PROJECT, IN BED STUY, NORTHWEST QUEENS, SOUTH BRONX, STATEN ISLAND AND HERE IN WASHINGTON HEIGHTS.

YOU TAKE A LOOK AT THE PEOPLE IN THE LINE.

MOSTLY OF THEM ARE SENIOR CITIZENS, PEOPLE LIVING ON FIXED INCOME.

FOOD COSTS AND WHAT IT COSTS IN THE CITY THESE DAYS, IT'S VERY HARD TO GET FRESH PRODUCE TO BE DELIVERED TO THEM RIGHT IN THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD.

IT'S A GOD SENT.

WORKING HAND IN HAND WITH LOCAL GROCERS, THE HEALTHY NEIGHBORHOOD PROGRAM ALSO TEACHES RESIDENTS HOW TO SHOP FOR AND COOK NUTRITIOUS BUDGET FRIENDLY MEALS.

PEOPLE SEE THE COMMUNITY, THEY SEE PEOPLE GOING AND COMING.

THEY DON'T LOOK AT THE PEOPLE AND RECOGNIZE THAT THEY ARE HUNGRY AND THEY DO NEED.

WE'VE BEEN BLESSED.

WE CAN LOOK AT OUR COMMUNITY AND SAY IT'S AN OPPORTUNITY FOR US TO BE A PART OF THE COMMUNITY.

SEE THE NEED OF OUR CITIZENS AND WORK WITH THEM.

WHAT'S CLEAR IS THAT HUNGER IS OFTEN A HIDDEN PROBLEM IMPACTING SENIOR CITIZENS, COLLEGE STUDENTS, THE WORKING POOR, AND EVEN THOSE WITH FULL-TIME JOBS.

ONE THING I NOTICE IS THAT THE LINES ARE GETTING LONGER AND LONGER, YOU KNOW, AND MORE AND MORE PEOPLE AND IT'S MUCH VERY DIVERSE.

DURING MY DAYS THEY USED TO HAVE THE FOOD INSIDE THE PROJECTS WHERE YOU USED TO GO GET THE PEANUT BUTTER AND THE JELLY, PUSH IT IN THE SHOPPING CART.

ALL THE YOUNG KIDS WHO ARE AFRAID TO LET THEIR FRIENDS SEE THEM, IT'S NOT LIKE THAT TODAY.

PEOPLE ARE PROUD TO COME OUT HERE AND TO GET FRESH PRODUCE.

TIMES BEING WHAT THEY ARE.

THE CITY HARVEST STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS ARE WRAPPING UP FOR THE DAY.

THIS MOBILE MARKET IN WASHINGTON HEIGHTS SERVED OVER 300 HOUSEHOLDS TODAY.

THAT'S BENEFITING CLOSE TO A THOUSAND PEOPLE.

FOR 'METROFOCUS,' I'M WILLIAM JONES.

♪ ♪

MAKING CHILDREN SUCCESSFUL BEYOND THE ELEMENTARY YEARS TAKES MORE THAN JUST GOOD GRADES AND TEST SCORES.

IT'S CULTIVATING THEIR PHYSICAL SELVES AS WELL AS ARTISTIC TOLERANCE.

YOU'RE DEVELOPING MIND AND BODY.

THAT'S THE VISION OF THE NATIONAL DANCE INSTITUTE, NONPROFIT TUITION FREE DANCE COMPANY THAT BEGAN HERE IN NEW YORK MORE THAN 40 YEARS AGO.

IT'S A PROGRAM OF BUILDING SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH DANCE HAS BEEN DUPLICATED IN CITIES AROUND THE WORLD.

TONIGHT WE BRING YOU TO THE HARLEM HEADQUARTERS TO SEE THE MOVEMENT OF A GENERATION.

ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE, SIX, SEVEN EIGHT.

DANCE TO ME IS ESSENTIAL FOR EVERYBODY BECAUSE IT'S A MATTER OF MOVEMENT AND THINKING AND BEING CREATIVE AND BEING INNOVATIVE AND ALLOWING YOURSELF TO BE FREE.

AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE DO TO CHILDREN IS THAT WE STOP THEM FROM BEING FREE.

FOR PAMELA PRICE HAINES, PRINCIPAL OF PS 161 IN HARLEM, ENSURING THAT HER STUDENTS PARTICIPATE IN DANCE INSTITUTE IS A ROUTINE PART OF HER CURRICULUM.

WE START OFF OUR YEAR WITH A LIST OF WHAT VENDORS WE WILL USE AND NDI IS ALWAYS ON THAT LIST.

IT'S JUST UNDERSTOOD THAT FOR FOURTH GRADE THAT WE BEGIN OUR YEAR WITH NDI.

ON ITS SURFACE, NATIONAL DANCE INSTITUTE OFFERS EACH FOCUSED DANCE CLASS FOR SCHOOL AGE CHILDREN BEGINNING IN THE FOURTH GRADE THROUGH EIGHTH.

FOUNDED IN 1976, NDI USES MUSIC AND DANCE TO INSTILL A LOVE OF THE ARTS AND A PASSION FOR LEARNING AND A DESIRE IN STUDENTS TO STRIVE FOR THEIR BEST.

THE ARTS ENGAGE EMOTION.

AND WHEN EMOTION IS ENGAGED, THAT'S WHEN LEARNING HAPPENS.

CHILDREN GET EXCITED ABOUT LEARNING.

ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE, SIX, SEVEN EIGHT.

THEY WANT TO WORK COLLABORATIVELY.

IT DEVELOPS THEIR CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS.

IT PROMOTES SELF-CONFIDENCE.

AND THEY LEARN TO TAKE RISKS.

THEY UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE AND THE VALUE OF HARD WORK AND LEG WORK.

AND I THINK IT BRINGS DISCIPLINE AND STRUCTURE INTO THEIR LIVES AND CHILDREN ARE HUNGRY FOR THAT.

ELLEN WEINSTEIN HAS BEEN WITH THE ORGANIZATION FOR 30 YEARS STARTING OUT AS A STUDENT HERSELF.

LEARNING TO PERFORM GIVES A LOT OF STUDENTS THEIR FIRST TASTE OF SUCCESS, AN EXPERIENCE SHE SAYS TRANSFORMS THEM.

YOU DON'T TAKE MATH BECAUSE YOU'RE GOING TO BE A MATHEMATICIAN.

YOU DON'T STUDY SCIENCE BECAUSE YOU'RE GOING TO GO INTO MEDICINE.

IN THE SAME WAY, DANCE IS WORTHY OF STUDY.

NOT NECESSARILY TO TRAIN PROFESSIONAL DANCERS, BUT I LIKE TO SAY TO MASTER THE CHOREO GRAPHY OF THEIR LIVES.

THEY LEARN TO TAKE CONTROL OF THEIR LIVES.

BUT NDI ISN'T JUST ABOUT DANCE.

EACH YEAR'S PERFORMANCE FOCUSES AROUND A THEME THAT TEACHERS CAN USE TO BUILD LESSON PLANS ON, FURTHER ENGAGING THE KIDS.

THIS YEAR THEY'LL CELEBRATE THE GREAT MIGRATION TO HARLEM AND THE MUSIC OF DUKE ELLINGTON AND ELLA FITZGERALD AS WELL AS THE CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT OF EAST HARLEM, WHICH IS GOOD BECAUSE AT PS 161, PRINCIPAL HAINES SAYS STUDENTS FROM THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, MEXICO AND YEMEN.

THEY DIDN'T THINK OF HARLEM AS THEIR COMMUNITY AS BEING SOMETHING THAT'S SOCIAL STUDIES WORTHY.

SO, THAT WAS VERY IMPORTANT TO THEM.

AND I THINK THE ARTS IS THE BEST WAY TO SHARE CULTURES AND TO KNOCK DOWN THOSE BARRIERS AND TO FIND THAT WE'RE MORE ALIKE THAN WE ARE DIFFERENT.

FOR THE FOURTH GRADERS IN THEIR FIRST YEAR DANCING WITH NDI, IT'S A CHANCE FOR PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL EXPRESSION THAT THEY HADN'T HAD BEFORE.

MY FAVORITE PART IS CLASSES BECAUSE I DANCE A LOT.

AND I WANT TO LEARN MORE DANCE MOVES.

I THINK IT'S PRETTY FUN BECAUSE IT GIVES DANCING YOU GET TO BE FREE AND YOU GET TO BE DOING TYPE OF DANCES AND IT'S REALLY COOL.

I LIKE NDI BECAUSE YOU GET TO EXPRESS YOUR FEELINGS, LIKE IF YOU'RE HAPPY, YOU GET TO DO A HAPPY DANCE.

MAD, YOU DANCE AND EXPRESS IT.

FOR ARTISTIC DEVELOPER ELLEN WEINSTEIN, SHE'S CONSTANTLY SEEING MANY MIRACLES LIKE ONE TEACHER WHO HAD A STUDENT STRUGGLING SOCIALLY AND ACADEMICALLY YET EXCELLING AT DANCE.

SO, IN A CONFIDENCE BUILDING EXERCISE, THE TEACHER HAD THE STUDENT DEMONSTRATE A SPECIFIC DANCE STEP BEFORE THE CLASS.

SHE HAD THE CLASS GIVE FEEDBACK, YOU KNOW, AND IT WAS ALL COMPLIMENTS.

I LOVED HOW HE DID THIS.

I LOVED HOW HE DID THAT.

AND WHEN HE SAT DOWN, HE LEANED OVER TO THE TEACHER AND SAID, ALL OF THOSE COMPLIMENTS JUST PUT THE PIECES OF MY HEART BACK TOGETHER.

THE WHOLE PROGRAM WAS WORTH IT FOR THAT ONE MOMENT, AND WE HAVE THOSE EXPERIENCES EVERY SINGLE DAY.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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