A Girl Scout troop founded in a New York City homeless shelter will expand to reach hundreds more girls in more than a dozen additional shelters.
In April, the New York Times covered the creation of Girl Scout Troop 6000, 27 girls staying at a hotel in Long Island City that’s been made over into a homeless shelter. Now the Times reports that program is being expanded to 14 more shelters, with help from the city:
For the next three years, the Girl Scouts of Greater New York will lead the expansion. The Department of Homeless Services will provide about $320,000 annually, and about $55,000 a year will come from the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, which is led by Chirlane McCray, the wife of Mayor Bill de Blasio. The money will pay for uniforms, snacks and other expenses, like field trips.
The Times says that children “make up nearly 40 percent of the shelter system in New York,” where affordable housing grow scarcer every day. At a press conference, some of the girls in Troop 6000 talked about what the group had meant to them:
What did Tanae, 5, like most about Girl Scouts? After a long pause and a little help reaching the microphone, she said, “Everything.”
Sanaa, 9, was not as shy, telling the crowd, “We have been on TV a lot.”
She said the girls took pride in wearing the uniforms, in earning badges and especially in being pioneers of their troop. “The best part is that we get to be Girl Scouts in Troop 6000,” she said.
Eleven-year-old Karina said she’d learned “the true meaning of being a sister to every girl scout and how to emotionally support others.” It is deeply depressing that there are enough homeless girls across New York City for this to be such a valuable program, but heartening that it’s there and being supported.