NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — For 13 years, The Orphaned Starfish Foundation has been helping orphan children in Latin America beat the odds by teaching them vocational skills to create lasting change.

The group is now looking forward to its 10th Annual New York Gala on Oct. 17.

WEB EXTRA: More on The Orphaned Starfish Foundation

“If you’re an orphan in Latin America, you have a less than 2 percent chance of getting adopted, and you’re going to spend your life in an institution,” Andrew Stein, executive director of The Orphaned Starfish Foundation, told CBS 2’s Diane Macedo in an in-studio interview. “And if you leave the institution without our help, without any help, you’re going to wind up doing very bad things. You’ll get into prostitution and gangs, etc.

“What we do is help prepare these kids for the future. We help give them vocational training and computers. We give them robotics. We give them English language skills. We give them the tools to succeed, to break the cycles of poverty and abuse.”

Stein said some of the kids his organization has helped have become doctors, nurses and lawyers.

Nearly 90 percent of The Orphaned Starfish Foundation’s operating income for the year is raised during its annual gala, Stein said.

This year’s event at Cipriani Wall Street is hosted by CBS 2’s Kristine Johnson. Seven orphans from seven different countries will be honored and tell the stories of their lives.

To watch the full interview, click on the video above.

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