NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - January 29, 2014) - Last week, at its 2014 conference, Beyond Housing: A National Conversation on Child Poverty and Homelessness, the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness (ICPH) presented the inaugural Beyond Housing Award to the New York City-based nonprofit KidCare in recognition of the organization's tireless work with homeless children.
The Beyond Housing Award honors people and organizations whose work exemplifies the idea that homelessness is much more than a housing issue. Recipients' work goes "beyond housing" to provide services and support to homeless families without losing sight of the children. KidCare's motto, "Let Kids be Kids," sums up its work in alleviating the stresses that impoverished children often face and bringing the joys of childhood to those who might not otherwise have the chance to be carefree kids.
Jon Dorfman, Brian Morgan, Adam Turkewitz, and Morgan Turkewitz formed KidCare in 2009 to help underprivileged children reach their full potential. Recalling how they were able to play and explore while growing up, and realizing that so many children living in poverty couldn't afford the same opportunities, the KidCare founders felt it was their responsibility to give back. Through KidCare, they sponsor and run activities such as a yearly Tee Ball games, after-school arts activities, movie nights, guitar lessons, and an annual toy drive to help make the holidays a bit brighter. In addition, they host "Job Hops," through which professionals help expose teens to a variety of career paths and motivate them to succeed.
"KidCare embodies what can be done when a small group of committed people with a simple yet powerful idea come together and actually do what they say they want to do," said Homes for the Homeless executive vice president Aurora Zepeda, who nominated KidCare for the Beyond Housing Award. "It's more than the resources they provide. They provide their time, their connections, their friends, their family. They realized and understand that there is something very powerful with in allowing children to be children. Children need the opportunity to dream, to breathe, to learn, to laugh, to have fun, and KidCare provides that."
Homes for the Homeless, ICPH's sister organization, houses approximately 800 children each night in its four shelters, located in Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx. Homes for the Homeless and KidCare have developed a partnership to engage these children in fun and educational activities aimed at helping them thrive despite the obstacles they face. The children have benefitted from the numerous activities sponsored and run by KidCare, including the annual toy drive, which has now collected toys totaling over $50,000 in value.
Jon Dorfman, Morgan Turkewitz, and Brian Morgan accepted the award on behalf of KidCare at Beyond Housing: A National Conversation on Child Homelessness and Poverty. The biennial conference brings together a diverse group of service providers, practitioners, policymakers, homeless and formerly homeless individuals, and researchers to share expertise on research, education, health, and advocacy.
"We started KidCare in 2009 with the goal of helping underprivileged children who, through no fault of their own, were put in a tough situation. The four of us were fortunate to have very loving families who guided us and helped us grow, and our hope is to provide the children of Homes for the Homeless with those same opportunities," said Dorfman during KidCare's acceptance speech. "Over the past five years we've learned a lot. We've learned that everyone wants to help; they just need to be pointed in the right direction. Homelessness among children is a far-reaching issue and a lot bigger than one organization can tackle alone. If everyone can help and continue to bring awareness to this issue, we can really make a difference. When you see even one kid smile, it makes everything that you do worthwhile."
The Beyond Housing Award will be given to one or more people or organizations at each of ICPH's conferences. Guidelines for nominating an individual or organization for the award will be made available at beyondhousing.icphusa.org.
The Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness (ICPH) is an independent nonprofit research and policy analysis organization based in New York City. ICPH studies the impact of poverty on family and child well-being and generates research that will enhance public policies and programs affecting poor or homeless children and their families in New York City and nationally. www.ICPHusa.org