On June 19, 2010, New Yorkers For Children’s Youth Advisory Board (YAB) volunteered at the the face painting booth for children with severe disabilities at the 5th Annual New Alternatives for Children (NAC) Kids Olympics. Larry Harris, Nicole Esposito, and Arlenis Sosa were on hand to show their support. Over 600 NAC children and family members participated in activities including relay races (with and without wheelchairs), rock-climbing, soccer and gymnastics at Chelsea Piers. These activities enable NAC’s special children to overcome physical and mental obstacles, meet new challenges and build self-esteem; as well as experience team spirit and healthy competition, get lots of exercise, and, most importantly, have a memorable and fun day as parents and friends cheer them on. Most of NAC’s children are living in poverty; many have had more surgeries than birthdays; and too many have lived the first years of their life in sterile hospital wards, not out of medical necessity but because their families could not care for them at home.
The YAB is a group of high school and college students in foster care who serve as advocates for youth in foster care in New York City. They meet at NYFC once a month to plan events and programs that positively impact younger children in foster care. The YAB also advises NYFC on the needs and desires of older youth in foster care and provides an opportunity for these youth to meet and socialize with one another.