Honoring Remarkable New Yorkers at the Robin Hood Heroes Breakfast
Celebrating the Poverty-Fighting Contributions of NPower, Partnership with Children, and Touchdown NYC
Every day, thousands of New Yorkers who are living in poverty overcome enormous challenges to build better lives.
Yesterday morning, we came together once again for our 32nd Annual Heroes Breakfast to honor three truly heroic New Yorkers who are prime examples of what it means to conquer adversity and build better lives for themselves and their communities: Yahaira Moore, Marcus Pass, and Derrick “Nkosi” Cain.
This year, Robin Hood was proud to grant the “Robin Hood Heroes Award” to three community partners who are a part of their stories and a part of Robin Hood’s — NPower, Partnership with Children, and Touchdown NYC — to acknowledge their contributions in the fight against poverty here in New York City.
Yahaira Moore | NPower: Yahaira was a first-generation college student who was forced to drop out when she became pregnant in an unhealthy marriage. A month after giving birth, she moved to a domestic violence shelter with her newborn son. Determined to transcend her circumstances, Yahaira enrolled in NPower’s intensive tech education program while still in the shelter. Through persistence and passion, Yahaira graduated with an internship at Deloitte and three amazing job offers. She’s been working as a consultant at World Wide Technology ever since and continues to rise through the ranks as she builds a better life for her and her son.
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned on this journey, it’s that everything happens for a reason. NPower asked me to speak at graduation, and when I finished my speech, a Senior Executive from Deloitte offered me an internship on the spot. Now I’ll be honest, I didn’t know anything about Deloitte. I had never heard of the Big 4. But sitting at orientation in a room full of Ivy League grads, that’s when it hit me how powerful NPower really is. They helped give me, a homeless mom, a seat at that table.”
NPower creates pathways to economic prosperity by launching digital careers for military veterans and young adults from underserved communities in eight regions around the country. In today’s economy, over 50% of all jobs require some degree of digital skill. A recent report estimates that the total number of new technology-oriented jobs in the U.S. will grow to 13 million by 2025. Since 2000, Robin Hood has been funding NPower’s local program to provide low-income New Yorkers the opportunity for mobility-wage careers in the technology sector.
Marcus Pass | Partnership with Children: Marcus was raised in a tough neighborhood in Brooklyn and went to work in a local after-school program at the age of 13 to help his mom make ends meet. He quickly discovered his passion for working with children, and is now serving as a Community School Director at P.S. 165 in Brownsville, Brooklyn through Partnership with Children, working to ensure that his students and their families have the resources and support that they need to get back on track.
“The truth is, every single day these families inspire me. I’ve got parents who can’t read, working multiple jobs and they still bring their kids to us every single day hoping for better opportunities than they currently have. Living in Brownsville requires the strength and resilience to get up every morning and keep going, even when you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. It takes courage to hope for the kind of success you haven’t seen in the generations that came before you, that you haven’t even experienced yourself.”
Partnership with Children (PWC) works to strengthen the social, emotional, and cognitive skills of historically underserved students so they can reach their full potential. Today, more than 700,000 of the 1.1 million New York City students enrolled in public schools are living in financial poverty. Robin Hood has been funding PWC for nearly two decades to ensure that children in under-resourced schools have access to mental health support and a community-minded approach to education. Today, PWC provides expert mental health services, enrichment programs, and support for the emotional well-being of over 30,000 students and their families at 32 high-poverty schools across all five boroughs of New York City.
Derrick “Nkosi” Cain | Touchdown NYC: Nkosi was serving an 18-year sentence in prison when he met the man who would become his mentor and change the course of his life. From that day on, Nkosi committed himself to education, going on to obtain multiple degrees and helping to transform the criminal justice system. Nkosi helped to found the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, but after continuously noticing gaps in the ecosystem, he was inspired to found Touchdown NYC.
“When I was in prison, someone asked what hope looked like. Now that I’m out of prison, hope looks like someone feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, sheltering the homeless. Hope looks a lot like Robin Hood. Hope looks like Touchdown NYC. Hope is providing basic human needs, basic human connections, so that everyone has the support they need to thrive.”
Touchdown NYC is a social good startup that matches transformative mentors with returning citizens to help them to create a strong foundation for their success. Over 100,000 people are released from prisons and jails every year in New York State alone, and 77% will be arrested again within five years. Meanwhile, funding for reentry programs has reached 30-year lows. When coming home to their communities, returning citizens face major barriers in accessing work, housing, and government benefits. Touchdown NYC knows that social ties are critical during the reentry journey, so they connect returning citizens with mentors who know personally what it takes to rebuild a life after incarceration.
This year’s event was an opportunity for us to come together again in celebration of a select few of the 300+ impactful nonprofits that we invest in annually as we continue to work to get families back on their feet, get kids back on track, and get New Yorkers back to work.
To learn more about the Robin Hood Heroes Breakfast, visit www.robinhood.org/heroes.