SIGNATURE PROGRAMS AND SERVICES FOR HEARTS OF GOLD
FRESH START UNIVERSITY
Hearts of Gold Fresh Start University (FSU) is a workforce development program which provides intensive occupational training classes, self-assessment and life-skills workshops, as well as living-wage paid internships to New York City’s ever-growing number of homeless, formerly homeless and low-income single mothers, many of whom are victims of intimate partner abuse.
Hearts of Gold also provides Fresh Start Bags:
reusable laundry bags filled to the brim with essentials such as pots and pans, bath towels, cooking and eating utensils, drinking glasses, and personal items to alleviate some of the initial financial burden for single mothers entering and exiting the New York City shelter system.
Mothers and their children are one of the largest and fastest growing segments of the homeless population in New York City, underscoring the need for programs like Hearts of Gold FSU. Entering the employment sector for the first time, or after several years of being unemployed, can feel overwhelming to most women, however it is especially daunting to women escaping domestic violence and facing homelessness.
Our goal is to help these deserving women establish economically sustainable career paths, and the confidence, self-esteem, skills and experience they need to build a brighter future for themselves and their children, and become productive, engaged members of their community.
Hearts of Gold FSU provides each mother with the opportunity to participate in classroom training that emphasizes both the hard and soft skills required to establish economically stable career paths, which will enable them to support their children and household. Topics covered in class include self-assessment techniques, career exploration, resume writing, interview skills, professional attire and salary negotiations.
Complementing the classroom portion of our program, each mother is given the opportunity to earn a steady living-wage and gain valuable work experience through an internship at our upscale resale store, The Thrifty HoG and/or The Hearts of Gold Learning Center. The duration of each internship is approximately 18 hours per week for 18 months.
In addition, each mother is invited to attend a wide variety of workshops before, during and after participation in our program. Recent topics have included strategies to obtain and retain affordable housing, managing challenging personal relationships, interview tips and role
playing, financial literacy and balancing childcare with a work schedule. Also, on an individual, as-needed basis, Hearts of Gold will provide scholarships to support higher educational opportunities and related expenses.
Our Hearts of Gold FSU graduates have achieved amazing success. One graduate, who is pursuing her BA, now helps other homeless single mothers create a fresh start in her position as a Director of Housing at a shelter for homeless families. Her ability to draw from her own experiences and the transformative impact of Hearts of Gold FSU, has made her a highly effective role model for her clients, proving to them that they too can “do it.”
Hearts of Gold provides private and semi-private tutoring at our Learning Center, as well as summer enrichment programs and school supply giveaways to motivate homeless, formerly homeless and low-income children in grades K-12 to stay in school, excel, and pursue their dreams of higher education. Our approach reflects our Founder’s vision of helping each struggling child reach the highest academic bar he or she can imagine, while giving them the opportunity to create a future that will outshine and redefine their past. Our methods reflect the New York Common Core Learning Standards, best practices recommendations from leading industry researchers and practitioners, as well as our own twenty-five years of experience educating and training homeless mothers.
ACADEMIC TUTORING- out of school time
Homeless children struggle academically and developmentally due to instability in their living situation, and low self-esteem following escape from abusive relationships.
The Hearts of Gold Learning Center provides the stability and support that New York City’s most vulnerable children desperately need to thrive. Tutors focus on improving each child’s academic performance based on individualized tutoring plans, provide homework guidance, administer assessment exams, prepare the children for test-taking, and review each child’s report card.
Additionally, each child is provided a full meal upon arrival because we believe that “hungry brains don’t learn”. Our ultimate goal is to bring children with the capacity to take on a rigorous academic challenge up by at least two levels beyond their grade level in order to give them a real shot at higher education opportunities. Since opening for the 2014/2015 school year, Hearts of Gold’s Learning Center has provided tutoring services to more than 200 homeless and formerly homeless children living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and the Bronx. The support and study skills learned at our center have enabled children to win scholarships and graduate from top institutions such as Brown University, Georgetown and Boston College.
SUMMER TEEN ENRICHMENT PROGRAM (S.T.E.P.)
Hearts of Gold established S.T.E.P. in 2011 for New York City’s homeless children between the ages of 10 and 15 to help them continue their academic and social development by remaining productive and active throughout the long, hot summer months. Highly engaging and educational, while at the same time being FUN, S.T.E.P. opens the door to iconic cultural experiences that help homeless children learn and grow beyond their otherwise limited worlds.
Children enjoy daily trips to universities such as Yale, museums such as the The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, and The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, as well as Broadway Shows with backstage tours and amusement parks. Each child is provided with daily transportation, lunch, snacks, water bottles, T-shirts, a baseball cap and a backpack. Our lead summer counselors typically hail from-tier universities such as Yale and Georgetown and are supported by two additional counselors. Approximately 15 children participate each summer.
SUMMER OF S.T.E.A.M.
In 2019 Hearts of Gold established a summer program for homeless children between the ages of 6 and 9, focused on the S.T.E.A.M. disciplines — Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics.
Our goal is to build the children’s proficiency in S.T.E.A.M., as well as spark their imagination and build their leadership, teamwork and problem-solving skills and through hands-on activities like building a suspension bridge, and field trips to the Liberty Science Center and the local farms and zoos. Each child and their caregiver are provided daily transportation, lunch, snacks, water bottles, T-shirts, a baseball cap and a backpack.
BACK TO SCHOOL BACKPACK GIVEAWAY
Each year Hearts of Gold provides hundreds of backpacks filled with grade appropriate school supplies to New York City’s homeless children in order to help them get off to a bright start for the new school year and feel fully prepared to succeed.
Witnessing the joy on the faces of the children and their mothers as they receive their brand-new school supplies, is priceless.
COATS FOR CHRISTMAS
Each year Hearts of Gold presents hundreds of children living in New York City’s shelters with brand new, warm winter coats and accessories to ensure that these vulnerable children aren’t forced to face the harsh winter elements ill-equipped. This has been and continues to be one of the most sought after and successful services that Hearts of Gold provides each year. To date, 18,000+ coats have been gifted over the past 25 years.