Description Of Organization
Reciprocity Foundation serves homeless, runaway, and foster care youth. These young people are at high risk of dropping out of school, failing to find and secure employment, and becoming dependent on the human service system. New York City's homeless, runaway, and foster care youth are among the most disconnected and at-risk young people in the city. They face distinct educational, career, mental health, housing, and stability challenges; they lack strong family supports and they are at high risk of substance abuse, becoming involved with the juvenile justice system, and otherwise not achieving independent adulthood. However, their strong survival skills and unique life experiences equip them with great potential to become self-sufficient adults, engaged citizens, and mindful members of our community. However, scarce resources are dedicated to develop longer-term solutions to homelessness-a tragedy for the nation's homeless youth. As a result, nearly 80% of homeless youth that age out of the youth shelter system either transfer to adult shelters/state funded housing, return to abusive homes or live on/off the streets for much of their lives. It is this long-term poverty that we address at the Reciprocity Foundation.
In contrast to the "Externally Focused" homeless sector, the Reciprocity Foundation leverages Buddhist principles and practices to alleviate the underlying causes of homelessness that include lack of self-esteem, spiritual isolation, disconnection from one's body and an overstimulated mind. Our programs target the "Inner Life" of homeless youth and work towards helping them to reconnect to their bodies, spirits and the deep wellspring of positive energy in the world.
Buddhist teachings and practices rarely reach urban, low-income, youth of color in New York City even though this population has experienced tremendous suffering. They are typically victims of sexual, physical or psychological abuse. They are isolated from their families. They are living without many material comforts. But more importantly, when they enter our programs, they are ready to transform their lives. They have gained first-hand knowledge of the suffering created by their minds and by their life circumstances. They are ready to look for ways to transform their suffering and to realize their full potential as living beings.
In 2013, The Reciprocity Foundation received a Women in Buddhism grant for $2,500 to create three one-day Urban Women's Retreats. The Foundation donated an additional $2,500 for this program as part of a matching grant.
In 2015,The Reciprocity Foundation received a Women in Buddhism grant for $2,500 to hold a series of workshops for young women held in Non-Secure Placements (NSPs) or a juvenile detention home where they can either turn around or be incarcerated.