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Homeless to Harvard: NYPD Auxiliary Cop Makes an Inspiring Transition

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“Make the most of yourself…. for that is all there is of you.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Many of us take higher education for granted. Going to college is part of the American lifestyle, the stage in your life where you finally move out of home. However, for millions of people in the US alone, even a basic college education is a pipe dream. Athena Capo-Battaglia, an 18-year old volunteer cop from New York City, believed that a higher education could offer her a way out of her current predicament.

After the death of her grandmother and then her mother receiving a cancer diagnosis, Athena and her mother entered the homeless shelter system. With no way to pay the rent, she lived in different places over the next few years.

According to the Coalition for the Homeless, there are more than 15,000 families and 60,000 people registered as homeless in NYC. While living in a shelter in Queens, Athena became an auxiliary cop, volunteering with the 103rd precinct while continuing her high school education in Manhattan and applying to a number of colleges including Harvard where she was eventually accepted as a student

Her inspirational journey serves as a message for people struggling with difficult life situations. Her desire to improve her life gave her the courage to apply to an institution as prestigious as Harvard. Now, Athena aims to inspire people in her home city to work on improving their lives and enjoying a better quality of life.

Adding to her list of achievements, Athena graduated as the class valedictorian from her auxiliary police training. She received an award from the mayor along with a $1,000 scholarship.

A little self-motivation and a desire to make things better for yourself is all it takes to achieve great things, as Athena has shown. At Sheltering Grace, we wish her all the best with her personal endeavors and applaud her mission to inspire others.

Sheltering Grace Ministry, Ltd. is a 501(c)3 Ltd. non-profit ministry. We resolve the initial crisis of homelessness by providing mothers with a safe place to live during pregnancy. We also equip them with the tools they need to improve decision-making, enhance employment options, and increase family income to act responsibly as the head of their household. All of our services develop their self-reliance to progress to permanent independent living. Please join us in renewing and rebuilding the lives of these brave women – #Be1of5000.

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