Bridging the Opportunity Divide

This Program Helps Homeless Students Stay in School

August 22, 2018
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This Program Helps Homeless Students Stay in School
Yuhong Pang, Robert Tokanel
S.I.M.B.A and A.S.E.T help kids who have experienced homelessness find college and career support among their peers.

During the 2016-17 school year, over 111,500 students in New York City experienced homelessness at some point. For the past decade, S.I.M.B.A — which stands for “Safe in my Brothers Arms” — has been helping that same population overcome their struggles with homelessness.

Operated by NYC’s Department of Education, S.I.M.B.A. offers academic resources, extracurricular activities and college- and career-readiness training to a current class of 50 young men. In 2008, it launched a sister organization, A.S.E.T. — or “All Sisters Evolving Together” — to serve female high school students. This year, A.S.E.T serves a cohort of 38 young women.


“High school students, above all other homeless cohorts, were dropping out at an exponentially higher rate,” says program director Wayne Harris. “So when I took this position, I said, ‘If that’s what the data says, that’s the population that I want to work with.’”

Since its inception, S.I.M.B.A. and A.S.E.T together have served over 1,000 high school students. Last year, it celebrated its 10th anniversary, and its most recent class of seniors all graduated high school with multiple offers to attend college.

Watch the video above to learn more about S.I.M.B.A. and A.S.E.T.’s work.

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