Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 28, 2019
Contact: Arianna Fishman (fishmana@dss.nyc.gov, o: 929-221-5249 c: 646-629-4723)

NYC Honors More Than 100 Homeless College-Bound High School Graduates

City officials award graduating seniors with scholarships and laptops at fifth annual Future Leaders ceremony

NEW YORK—On Thursday, June 27, the de Blasio Administration commemorated the achievements of more than 100 college-bound high school graduates experiencing homelessness and residing in shelter. Together with their families, the graduates joined Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio, Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks, Department of Education Deputy Chancellor for the Division of School Climate and Wellness LaShawn Robinson, Department of Homeless Services Administrator Joslyn Carter and Department of Homeless Services leadership and staff, NYC Chief Service Officer Patricia Eng, as well as Agency partners, at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian for an evening reception and celebration, where they were awarded a free laptop and "college move-in" duffel bags full of college supplies to help them with their studies.

DHS received a generous donation from the Thompson Family Benevolent Fund to the Future Leaders Scholarship Program for college-bound high school seniors who are experiencing homelessness and demonstrate educational success, as well as a commitment to their school attendance. Eight students were awarded one scholarship each at a value of $2,000. All students received a DHS-funded laptops and "college move-in" duffel bags full of supplies, funded by Deloitte, Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA), New York Times, and AlphaSites, coordinated through NYC Service's corporate volunteer program, Be In-Kind.

Honorees have been accepted to colleges including, New York University, Cornell University, Stony Brook University, Baruch, City College of New York and Manhattan College.

Future Leader Honoree Alexus Lawrence has been accepted to Brooklyn College. Lawrence hopes to become a pediatrician, as she seeks to give back to her community and help other children overcome barriers to realizing their future. Both inside and outside the classroom, Lawrence embodies leadership qualities in her pursuits, from being the Vice President of Student Government and high school valedictorian to mentoring and tutoring children at the Brooklyn Public Library. Lawrence is a 2019 Future Leaders Scholarship honoree.

Future Leader Honoree Ronaldino Crosdale was accepted to Baruch College. Crosdale plans to apply his experience in the arts and technology to innovative storytelling. Crosdale is a recent recipient of the Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship, and has also been

"Congratulations to the Future Leaders Class of 2019," said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio. "The strength and resilience of these young people is inspiring. And it is this same strength and resilience that has prepared them for anything and will propel them forward as they join our next generation of future leaders."

"Congratulations to these young scholars as they embark on this exciting new chapter of their lives," said Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks. "As we turn the tide on homelessness, enhancing educational resources that provide more young people with opportunity is our top priority—and through partnerships like these, we're continuing to offer new resources to families as they get back on their feet. I look forward to seeing these exceptional students leading our City soon"

"These Future Leaders are role models for us all—showing us that no matter what obstacles you may face in life, you can achieve your dreams," said Department of Education Deputy Chancellor for the Division of School Climate and Wellness LaShawn Robinson. "We are so proud of all they've accomplished, and can't wait to see the way they change the world. Congratulations, class of 2019!"

"I congratulate the Class of 2019 and celebrate their incredible determination in the face of great odds," said Department of Homeless Services Administrator Joslyn Carter. "Their success is truly hard-won and well deserved—and we can't wait to see where these role models go from here. They are a source of inspiration for us all.

"I am thrilled to celebrate the achievements of the 2019 Future Leaders Scholars!" said NYC Chief Service Officer Patricia Eng. "NYC Service is grateful to the Department of Homeless Services staff for leading this powerful initiative, and of course, our corporate partners, volunteers, and national service members for supporting this effort. To our Future Leader Scholars: Know that your community - volunteers, businesses, and all residents of the city – are cheering you on. As you pursue higher education and your unique life purpose, we look forward to the impact you will have as civic leaders in your community."

"As I celebrate this incredible milestone with my exceptional fellow students, I'm overwhelmed with pride" said Future Leader Scholarship Honoree Alexus Lawrence. "The challenges I overcame strengthened my self-determination to achieve my goals and appreciate my larger role in society, making me realize that on my way to stability and success, I should never forget to help others in need."

"I want to thank everyone who helped me get to where I am today, and for their support as I realize my dreams in the future," said Future Leader Scholarship Honoree Ronaldino Crosdale. "I hope that my passion to tell creative stories that represent my experience and resilience will inspire more compassion and curiosity in the world."

About the New York City Department of Homeless Services

The Department of Homeless Services (DHS) works to prevent homelessness before it occurs, address street homelessness and assist homeless New Yorkers in transitioning from shelter and the street to permanent housing. DHS collaborates with not-for profit partners to provide temporary shelter and services that homeless New Yorkers need to achieve and maintain housing permanency. In April 2016, Mayor de Blasio announced a major restructuring of homeless services in New York City, followed by the release of a comprehensive plan in February 2017 to turn the tide on homelessness, neighborhood by neighborhood. The plan's guiding principle is community and people first; giving homeless New Yorkers, who come from every community across the five boroughs, the opportunity to be sheltered closer to their support networks and anchors of life in the communities they called home in order to more quickly stabilize their lives. Learn more about how DHS is turning the tide on homelessness, neighborhood by neighborhood, at nyc.gov/tide.