NEW YORK (FOX5NY) - A newly formed Girl Scout troop in Queens is one of kind. All 21 members are homeless and living in a local shelter. About 70 percent of people living in shelters are families. That means a whole lot of young people are being deprived of the opportunities to reach their potential and chase their dreams. That is what makes this program so special.
Sanaa, 9, is a young woman full of life and potential. Undeterred by the seriousness of now, she is part of Troop 6000, based out of the Sleep Inn, a temporary shelter in Long Island City. She said her goal is to become an artist, a dancer, or a singer. She said that Girl Scouts helps her do all those things.
The program has become a sanctuary -- space where positive energy can flourish for young children in a difficult situation.
Giselle Burgess of Girl Scouts of Greater New York came up with the idea. She is also homeless and lives at the hotel, too. And when things got tough, she asked herself what she could do for the kids? She said that seeing the bond and sisterhood the girls have created is "awesome" and is payment for her.
Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks said the goal of the shelter system is to provide services to stabilize families. That means literacy, enrichment, and even employment. He called the program is a terrific partnership with the Girl Scouts.
Sanaa told me that the hotel is not home, but they treat her alright. And Fridays are for Girl Scouts. She said they read books, make T-shirts, write in notebooks, and then end the evening with pizza and a movie.