The Friends of Fresh and Green Academy was started to help improve the lives of the Ethiopian children who attend the school, and also help their mothers.
The children who attend our school are completely impoverished. Their mothers are usually single mothers, who are either the victims of rape, or their husbands won’t stand up, or they were just illiterate and got pregnant, and eventually found themselves with children. There is very little work available to them because they do not have a formal education and so they are unable to care for their children. We fund a school which feeds and educates the children of these parents. These children normally would be on the street begging for food or money, rather than attending school, because their parents don’t make any money to feed them. The school includes three meals a day, so they get breakfast, lunch, and dinner while they attend school and get an education.
The mothers work in a mothers’ cooperative, and they help do the meal preparation. The mothers are also taught some craft-making and developmental skills so they can produce craft items that we can sell there and in the United States which gives them an income. We are making sure that the moms have gainful employment, that they contribute to the school, that their kids are there, that their kids are getting fed and getting an education. I have been involved with this school for 10 years, so we have watched kids progress from kindergarten and first grade and actually leave our school after eighth grade to go into the high school programs, which are the free public schools. They still get their meals at our school. They continue the education process, and what we are hoping to see is that as these kids graduate high school and enter the workforce, that they give back and contribute to the school, creating some sustainability there.
To see these kids’ lives improve going from malnutrition, practically starving, and uneducated, to being able to speak English and be on par with the kids who are attending the public schools is absolutely amazing. We are at the point where we are going to start to see some of these kids graduate in the next couple of years, and then enter the workforce. If my dream is correct, and these kids come back and help the school and contribute to make that full circle, I am going to be very excited. We have been watching the kids just grow and thrive, and it has been an absolutely amazing ride.
If anyone has any interest in joining the board and helping the cause, just go to www.FriendsOfFreshAndGreen.com or .org, (either one). You can contribute time, energy, or money. It has been an absolutely amazing experience for me, and it really has changed my life and the way I look at things. To give and serve others without any expectation of return, is really a concept that I learned from my wife and many others. It really has been life changing.
Dr. Gregg D. Rubinstein, D.C., is a midtown Manhattan chiropractor with over 20 years of experience providing customized chiropractic treatment services to a wide range of clients in the Midtown Manhattan/West New York City area. Dr. Gregg Rubinstein and 57th Street Chiropractic can be reached at (917) 534-6484 and is located at 119 West 57th St. in New York, NY.