On October 20, The Catalog For Giving hosted the 2016 Urban Heroes Awards Benefit at The Pierre Hotel. As a longtime partner of The Catalog, CPNYC was invited to nominate a Young Urban Hero that has shown tremendous transformation as a result of the agency’s services. Of the 15 Young Urban Heroes nominated, The Catalog selected Legasii to address an audience of 600 people at the award ceremony that evening. As he shared his story the audience rose to its feet and gave him a standing ovation to recognize his courage and perseverance.
Good evening, my name is Legasii Fox, I am honored to be recognized as an Urban Hero and hope by sharing my struggles, I will be able to inspire other children who have had rough times. First, I’d like to thank the Catalog for Giving and all of the guests here tonight for this award and for being a wonderful support to Children of Promise, NYC an organization that has changed my life. Ms. Content, Mr. Tom, My mom, and the rest of the staff at Children of Promise have supported me through many struggles in recent years and I’m very grateful to them for continuing to see the best in me.
Between the ages of 1 and 6, I was in and out of homeless shelters due to my father’s physical and emotional abuse of my mother. I have not had the chance to know my father as he has been absent much of my life. I used to feel bad because I wanted to have a good relationship with my dad, but it seemed like he did not want to be with me. Many nights when he was home, he was violent so my mom and brother and I slept on trains or in shelters. Eventually my dad went to prison.
When my mother met my step-father, he became a huge part of my life and we started to bond. However, I watched as police arrested him for past actions that caught up to him. Honestly, I was doing badly in school at the time and when the police came through the door, I thought they might be coming for me because of my bad grades, so I hid behind my bed. After my stepfather went to prison, I felt like I lost a father figure for the second time, and I began acting out in school.
When I came to CPNYC, I was on the verge of being left back in 4th grade. I received multiple suspensions from school and I knew I was being labeled as a ‘bad kid’ by my teachers and other kids. I worried I would be judged over my situation and couldn’t handle my emotions.
I came to CPNYC, an afterschool program for children like me who have an incarcerated parent. I participated in individual, family, group, and art therapy where I began to feel safe to open up and talk openly about what my mother and I had overcome and to see that there were other kids that had gone through what I had gone through. I learned ways of controlling my anger in school when I felt frustrated or overwhelmed so I didn’t get in to more trouble.
I soon showed my family I was able to get better grades because I was no longer fighting all the time. Two years ago I did so well I was accepted to a great charter school where I am now getting 80’s and 90’s on my report card, when I used to be told that I would have to repeat a grade.
I am so thankful for Children of Promise and my mom for helping me to feel safe to share the challenges in my life and not feel ashamed of what we went through. The feeling of being listened to and being told I’m a good kid was what I experience at CPNYC. I look forward to one day going to college and having the opportunity to work with children who struggle like I have and tell them they can make it too. Once again, I want to say to The Catalog and everyone here who has helped support programs like Children of Promise, you are all truly changing the future for children like me and for that I say, thank you.