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After school students learn about Haiti

Haiti, February 26, 2010

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Kristin Shiller

Downtown Express
February, 2010

Even as they munched on their after school snacks, about 20 students from P.S. 89 were attuned to the many New Yorkers that might be going without food at the very same moment. “Does hunger exist in New York City?” was the question posed to them by Sarah Bever, education officer at the Mercy Corps Action Center, to which the children did not hesitate to respond with a resounding “yes,” offering stories about some of their own encounters with homeless and hungry people throughout the city.

The discussion was part of a new weekly after school program called “Hang Out For Change” run by Mercy Corps at its center on River Terrace in Battery Park City.

Cassandra Nelson, a Mercy Corps field worker just back from Haiti, paid a visit Tuesday. The students had been learning about hunger in Haiti for the past few weeks in anticipation of her arrival. She showed pictures and told stories from her experience in the earthquake relief effort, focusing on the problems surrounding access to food and clean water. The students asked questions about the challenges that kids like them are currently facing in Haiti, such as if they were able to go to school.

“Hang Out for Change” was developed in partnership with P.S. 89 , but it is open to all children in grades 3-6 and the suggested fee is $30 per month.