tv America Tonight Al Jazeera April 2, 2016 9:00pm-9:31pm EDT
>> the strengths of sheroes. next here we meet a woman on a long road to making a difference. >> al jazeera america - proud of telling your stories. >> somebody to care about us man... >> we're live in ferguson, missouri. >> brick by brick, i will open it. it will take more than a few rocks to stop me from doin' what i have to do. >> suddenly heroin seems to be everywhere. >> there's no way i am willing to give up my family for a drug ever again. >> getting to the heart of the matter. proud to tell your stories. al jazeera america.
communities far off the beaten path. homelessness,s almost seen as an unfixable problem. but brian locman traveled route 66 into northern arizona, to find a woman whose strength is creating home. >> one night it was march march 12, 2014, 3:36 in the morning. i woke up with a strong voice in my head who said you need to take over distressed motels and turn them into transitional housing. really? what do i do with that. i wasn't looking to do that. that morning i got up and started making phone calls. i wrote the business plan. i found a motel, and a year later we opened up. my name is laurie barlow, and i'm the founder and executive director of a new living. i think we have a solution. we have our emergency family room.
we took over the motel, the entire property, and we turned it into a transitional housing facility. >> motel 66 off route 66, you can't get it better than that. >> i know it, i know it. >> it's for homeless individuals who are working or has a fixed income, the goal is to then transition into permanent housing and stay there. the mix of residents we have here is very diverse. from veterans to single moms to married couples to younger adults in their 20s that ar are recovering from substance or alcohol abuse. there is not just one group of people that are experiencing this issue. we accept them all to come here. >> we've been here for over a year. the rent is cheaper than what you would find nowhere where we
could stay. we are allowed to go to school, have a job, pay that and move forward. we've seen a lot of stuff, stupid stuff we used to drink excessively. >> we would stay at the shelter, thenbled get fed up and take off for a week or two at a time and post up in places like this. the woods here under bridges and different places. that's one choice. that has the most alcohol content. we slept her numerous nights. we made our life here. we slept in this tube. we slept in this gully. slept over here. but it's a drainage area. but it's close proximity to a store that we could get our alcohol at and try to get something to eat once in a while.
we're able to cook, shower every day and have a save place. it's different from where we're living now. we've come a long way. >> monthly rent is $600 for a single room. that's compared to if you were staying at a motel room in the area, the cheapest is over $1,000. for $600 may seem high that's all utilities included. it may be higher than they would like but if they can't afford the $600 a month, they're probably never going to be able to afford subsidize permanent housing even on a subsidized level. >> i live here with my son. it's difficult. it's very difficult. we changed our standard of living quite a bit. >> making a boundaries for a teenager.
>> it's difficult for the teenager because of lack of space and boundaries, harder with a smaller brother around. we don't get the privacy, but we're grateful for what we do have. we utilize the microwave. we learned to cook out of a microwave instead of a stove and we go down to the sunshine rescue mission. they have help a great deal. my husband left me. he left me in the hospital when the baby was born, and never picked us up. six weeks later i was laid off from teaching. we had this house paid for. this is where we've ended up. we've fallen through the cracks completely. i miss our home, space, my children had beautiful rooms, their own rooms. >> the biggest challenge especially when we first took over is create a safe environment for everyone.
we're right on route 66. and this motel before we took over had a lot of drug and alcohol activity here. one of the families that was living here, they had a six-year-old daughter, they were in this room that we're in now, and one night a gentleman came to this back window and just crawled in through the window looking for his drug dealer and stepped on their six-year-old's bed. of course, they chased him out and that was really scary for them. >> the residents now, they're their own neighborhood watch. that's where the sense of community and building a community was really important. >> i'm out doing our dishes. we don't have the sinks to do them in. so i do them in the bathtub with tubs. >> if it wasn't for laurie and this program, we would be out in the streets. we wouldn't have a roof over our
heads. i'm bipolar. i've got ptsd. and i had to go out and panhandle just to survive. >> in the past motel rooms we didn't have no stove. >> i served my country, and my son gave his life for this country, and yes, it was embarrassing me for me to go out there and ask for help. i was working a part time job, but with my health and stuff, i'm not able to do that now. i do a little painting here and there to help with the rent. my girlfriend works hard. she works five days a week at denny's as a server. we scrape by, but we get by now. it's a lot better now. i have my good days and my bad days. but
just knowing we have a place over our heads we don't have to worry about being homeless, and we have food in the refrigerator, it's a big relief for me. >> to the normal person it might not look like much, but it's home for us. >> they all have a different story. they have a commonnalty where they're working homeless. they all have different reasons of how they got there, and what their background is. they are all just looking for a better life. >> from a strong woman leading the way on route 66, we head next to meet a young woman who has learned to travel her own distinctive path.
into the stories that are making our world what it is. >> our look at women leading the way and cutting their own path takes us to southeastern wisconsin where lisa fletcher met a young woman who is defying the limits imposed on her body to become the most popular girl at school. >> ari, ari is a celebrity. >> she is extremely smart, over all she's just a very sweet little girl. >> aria martin is in the first grade. but as her dad helps her get ready for school. >> are your glasses on? >> yeah. >> things are noticebly different. >> i'm so pumped up. >> all right. >> here we go. >> whew. >> ari has what is called sma. spinal muscular atrophy. it's a disease linked in with muscular dystrophy.
basically her muscles will get weaker as time goes on. >> time is up. >> up, up, up. >> unfortunately, she can't sit up. she can't walk. she can't crawl. even breathing problems. she has a hard time breathing. >> can you log in? >> despite her rare health condition, ari is still able to go to school with her peers. >> ari, what word did you write? >> drain. nice job. >> this is how she sees her teacher. >> you know is about ari's word and your word. >> they both have long a vowel sounds. >> this is how her teacher sees ari via a robot. the unity is basically an ipad securely mounted to the top of a device similar to a segue, and ari controls it remotely through a wi-fi direction. >> i need to see what you wrote.
i think the cat is going to eat the mouse. very good. you are correct. >> it's manufacturer double robotics originally came up with the idea for telecommuting professionals until a couple of schools approached them with a few students who could only attend class from home. >> how did you change day to play, ari. what did you do? >> this gave ceo david cohn an idea. >> they came to us and said this is something that we really need. it's a relatively low cost solution compared to some things they had been looking at. now we have over 350 robots deployed in schools in the u.s. >> did you name your double? >> yes, robotica. >> now ari is able to talk to her teachers an her classmates via her robotica. >> they're very used to it at this point. we all notice at times they're working, if they're writing,
she'll sign in the robot an navigate the move. they'll look up and wave and smile, but it's an every day occurrence, so they don't think any differently, and everybody daughters their jobs and goes along with the routine of the day. >> i can ride around school with you today. >> what? >> but i'm going to need you to each me how to drive it. >> so there i was, back in the first grade with my new pal ari and my very own robotica. >> we're going to follow ari to art. >> ari you're way better at driving than i am. >> today ari let me spend the day with her in the classroom. >> this is lisa. can you say hi to lisa. >> all: h i, lisa. >> you can pick your favorite one. >> while students work on their projects in class.
>> which are you going to draw? >> ari draws simultaneously at home. when she's all done she can show off her work. >> which one did you do? cool. >> before robotica. we used an ipad, and we had it on a stand, and she had no control. sometimes she would be left at a table, and the group would move on and she was left at the table. in robotica, it allows her to continue with her learning. she can look at her teacher, look up and down and she has the ability to do what the other students do. >> we head back to home room after art class. ari leads the way. red tape on the classroom floor guides her where she needs to go. >> before she was with an ipad. now she's somebody. is he has that presence. she's free to roam.
she's free to look where she needs to look. if they can't see the board right she'll move the robot the way she needs to look. she can get the teacher's attention rather than an ipad on the table somewhere. >> it gives her more of a voice and gives her interaction with the children. when we ask her about school today she's excited to tell us how she--what she experienced during the day. >> you're doing a great job. read page 11 to me. >> i think what this did was it signaled for our teaching staff and our community and our parents, we'll do whatever it takes to make sure that your child and all kids have what they need to be successful. the teachers' willingness to do those things is a blessing. that's why i'm proud. i'm proud of them. >> i hope that other school districts look at it and say, hey look, the impossible, it's
not--it's not impossible. [ laughing ] >> it was fun going to school with you. >> maybe we should do it again some day. >> okay. >> lisa fletcher, al jazeera. >> that's "america tonight." come back for more "america >> i'm ali velshi. "on target" tonight. out of reach. doctors have a miracle drug to cure disease. here's the problem, some patients can't get it fast enough to save their lives. much of the recent outrage orover rising rice rising pricer