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Growing Kids With Dignity

September 2, 2013

The Bronx is home to the poorest Congressional district in the United States. New York’s 16th Congressional District is home to approximately 700,000 people, over 40 percent of whom live under the federal poverty line. It’s also the quintessential food desert, where, access to food is generally through a convenience store rather than a grocery store and fresh fruit and vegetables too expensive for folks living on food stamps.

And that’s what makes Stephen Ritz’s TEDxManhattan talk so engaging. Ritz is a special education teacher at Discovery High School in the South Bronx. The children he teaches often came to school hungry and rarely graduated. So he tried something new…project-based learning in a food-centered curriculum. His attendance rate increased from 43 to more than 90 percent, and most of his students graduate and go on to find meaningful employment or go on to college.  It’s an absolutely inspiring story. Watch him tell it at his TEDxManhattan talk from 2012, and watch the 2013 update as well.

The 2012 talk

The 2013 update

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