The Robin Hood Foundation Honors Five New York City Heroes

Honored Organizations Represented By Heroes Receive $50,000 Award Grants

Chancellor Joel I. Klein to be the First Public Official to Receive a Hero


Dec 02, 2005, 00:00 ET from Robin Hood

    NEW YORK, Dec. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Robin Hood, one of the city's leading
 poverty-fighting organizations, today honored five New Yorkers at the 16th
 annual Robin Hood Heroes Award breakfast held at the Mandarin Oriental New
 York.  Chancellor Joel I. Klein was honored as the first public official to
 receive a Robin Hood Heroes Award in recognition of his work to improve New
 York City's public school system.
     Three organizations represented by the recipients of the Heroes Award -
 Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center, Goddard Riverside Community Center and
 Red Hook on the Road - received an additional grant of $50,000 from Robin
     Each year, Robin Hood honors outstanding people whose work is transforming
 the lives of the poorest New Yorkers.  Presenting this year's awards were
 Robin Hood board members Tom Brokaw, Marie-Josee Kravis, Dan S. Och and Alan
 D. Schwartz.
     "These remarkable New York City Heroes are an inspiration to all of us who
 believe that anything is possible in this city and that each person can truly
 make a difference in bettering the lives of our neighbors and our
 communities," said Glenn Dubin, chair of Robin Hood's board of directors and
 host of the Heroes Award breakfast.
     The 2005 Robin Hood Heroes:
     Joel I. Klein, Chancellor, NYC Department of Education
     Since becoming chancellor in 2002, Joel I. Klein has handed parents and
 children in poor neighborhoods their first chance on the education
 superhighway out of poverty.  He is phasing out poor performing, large and
 overcrowded high schools, and has already launched well over 100 smaller ones,
 with many more to come.  He has created an ambitious Leadership Academy to
 train principals and has partnered with the private sector, including Robin
 Hood, to inject millions of dollars into New York City's education budget.
 Chancellor Klein also set out to create 50 charter schools in five years - and
 he's already ahead of schedule.  He took the bold step of turning over space
 in public schools to charters so they could begin to take root.  Today, the
 best of the charter schools are lifting thousands of struggling children to
 academic heights these children and their families had never even dreamed
 about a few years ago.  And overall the city's schools are performing at
 levels never seen before.
     Dr. Angela Diaz, Director, Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center
     When Dr. Angela Diaz came to Mt. Sinai Adolescent Health Center (MSAHC)
 for treatment during her last year of high school, the odds were against her
 ever graduating.  Today, with a medical degree from Columbia University
 College of Physicians and Surgeons and a Master's in Public Health from
 Harvard University, Dr. Diaz has been named one of the most influential
 doctors in America.  Since she took over MSAHC in 1988, the program has
 tripled in size and its budget has grown to $10M from $4M.  It is the largest
 adolescent health center in the country.  Dr. Diaz, who credits MSAHC with
 changing her life, has increased programming around issues of sex, race,
 trauma and abuse.  Today as its Director, she has shaped and saved the lives
 of tens of thousands of adolescents in New York City.  Through her health
 advocacy and policy work in the United States and abroad, she has an impact on
 the lives and health of young people worldwide.
     George Sanders and Georgiette Morgan-Thomas, Goddard Riverside Community
     George Sanders, a resident of Goddard Riverside's Corner House, fled his
 aunt's home at age 13 to escape constant beatings and was homeless for the
 next 30 years.  Mentally challenged, he got by living on the streets until
 Goddard finally found him in Central Park.  George had participated in other
 homeless programs before, but only Goddard was successful.  Today, for the
 first time in 30 years, George is mentally stable, has been sober for more
 than two and a half years, is working, and lives in his own apartment.
     Georgiette Morgan-Thomas has run Corner House, Goddard Riverside's
 permanent housing facility for the mentally ill and elderly since 1997.
 Georgiette is passionate about caring for the mentally ill and destitute and
 integrating them into society.  She has made Corner House an integral part of
 the community and her efforts have helped to revitalize a once dangerous
     Julio Perez, Program Director, Red Hook on the Road
     Julio Perez, who has been program director of Red Hook on the Road (RHOR)
 for almost four years, knows first-hand that this nonprofit works. His father
 was a graduate.  RHOR, an innovative job training program, enables unemployed
 and underemployed New Yorkers to secure positions as drivers of trucks, buses
 and vans.  Many of its graduates have been homeless, incarcerated, on public
 assistance or struggling to survive with low-paying, dead-end jobs.  RHOR
 provides supportive services including assistance with child care, housing and
 budget concerns, as well as counseling for domestic violence and substance
 abuse through its umbrella program, Fifth Avenue Committee.  They also offer
 an Individual Development Account program that gives a $2 to $3 match for
 every $1 saved, depending on household income.  Julio works tirelessly on
 behalf of RHOR participants to encourage them to complete the program and
 obtain employment that can sustain themselves and their families.
     Daniel Francois and Marisol Gonzales, RHOR graduates, presented the award:
     Daniel Francois was unemployed with a child when he attended RHOR.  One
 day after passing his road test, he landed a job with a kosher food company,
 earning $500 per week.  Daniel took advantage of the program's Individual
 Development Account program to set aside money for his Class A license.  Since
 then, he's doubled his salary and hopes to start his own trucking company.
     At 4 foot 9, Marisol Gonzales doesn't fit the image of a typical truck
 driver.  A single mother of three, Marisol came to RHOR after years of living
 on public assistance.  She completed the training, passed a driving test with
 Gate Gourmet at JFK airport and was quickly offered a job.  Today she earns
 $13.20 an hour with full benefits driving a 26-foot truck.  Marisol talks
 movingly of how proud she is to be a role model for her children.
     About Robin Hood:
     Robin Hood works to save lives and change fates by targeting poverty at
 its roots.  We find and fund the best poverty-fighting programs in New York
 City, give them management assistance to maximize results, and, through
 independent evaluation, hold them accountable.  We also partner with them to
 create initiatives to address unmet needs.  Robin Hood's board of directors
 underwrites all administrative and fundraising costs so that every single
 dollar you donate to Robin Hood goes directly to programs that help New York
 City's poor build better lives for themselves and their families.

SOURCE Robin Hood