Homeless NYPD auxiliary officer Harvard, auxiliary getting a better schooling.
A volunteer cop from Queens has gone from residing in a homeless shelter to learning at Harvard College, and she or he hopes to be an inspiration for others struggling to enhance their lives.
Athena Capo-Battaglia, 18, stated she knew that getting a better schooling would put her on a path that will change her world.
“I felt I needed to get into school as a result of this isn’t the place I wish to keep,” stated the auxiliary NYPD officer who utilized to high schools whereas residing in a shelter. “I used to be like, ‘OK, that is a technique that I can get out and possibly sooner or later get a great job.’ ”
Capo-Battaglia and her mom entered the shelter system two years in the past as a result of they had been struggling to pay lease after her mom was recognized with breast most cancers and her grandmother died.
“It was form of laborious for us to get into the groove of issues,” she stated. “We simply didn’t manage to pay for to afford an residence after a number of years.”
“It occurs to much more individuals than you suppose,” stated Capo-Battaglia. “All types of individuals find yourself there for every kind of causes. It’s not simply because individuals are lazy.”
As of this month, there have been 63,839 homeless individuals and 15,492 homeless households residing in New York Metropolis shelters, the Coalition for the Homeless stated.
Capo-Battaglia ended up residing in a shelter in Jamaica, Queens, the place she joined the auxiliary police, which helps the NYPD maintain the general public secure. She volunteered with the 103rd Precinct.
“I assumed it might be an excellent alternative to get to know individuals and expertise the surface world extra, actually perceive what the police do,” she stated. “An enormous a part of the auxiliary police is constructing connections between the group and the police, so I assumed I’d actually prefer to be part of that.”
Whereas attending highschool in Manhattan and making use of for schools, Capo-Battaglia skilled twice per week, studying NYPD protocols and procedures and self-defense.
“I felt like I used to be doing one thing good,” she stated. “It’s quite a bit about sustaining public security.”
After which, final March, she was accepted into Harvard College.
“I referred to as my good friend, and I simply screamed, ‘Oh my God, I received into Harvard!’ ” she recalled. “It was actually thrilling. I wished to see if I might get in. I’m used to difficult myself. That’s what I needed to do my entire life.”
“[Her mother] was superexcited, as nicely,” she stated. “She was superproud.”
The accomplishments stored on coming for Capo-Battaglia. She graduated from the auxiliary police final April and was class valedictorian. The mayor’s workplace additionally acknowledged Capo-Battaglia and 100 different college-bound highschool college students with an award and $1,000 scholarships.
“I felt like I achieved one thing,” she stated. “It’s all the time good to be rewarded.”
Capo-Battaglia, who plans to enter the sphere of neuroscience, lives on Harvard’s Cambridge, Mass., campus, has a job at an area cafe and attends lessons full time.
“It’s quite a bit, however there are such a lot of alternatives, particularly at Harvard,” she stated.
Again in New York throughout faculty breaks, Capo-Battaglia lives along with her mom on the shelter, nonetheless volunteers with the 103rd Precinct and says she may even contemplate becoming a member of the NYPD.
“It depends upon what jobs I resolve will go well with me the very best. I undoubtedly plan to proceed in auxiliary. My experiences right here have been actually nice,” she stated.
“I by no means actually really feel just like the wrestle is over,” stated Capo-Battaglia. “It’s undoubtedly rewarding to present again.”