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Kevin, a client of The Child Center of NY

New Match Challenge: Help Kids Like Kevin

Kevin, a client of The Child Center of NYI am excited to announce that when you give to The Child Center of NY this holiday season, our generous advisory board member Russell Carson will match what you give 1:3 up to $5 million. I’d like to tell you about one of the programs your tax-deductible contribution will help grow.

After years of providing mental health services in children’s schools, The Child Center opened the doors to our first school-based mental health clinics at NYC community schools in 2015. Community schools are public schools in high-need areas where students and their families can access social, physical health, and behavioral health services in addition to receiving high-quality academic instruction.

A simple stat shows why that’s so important: In nationwide studies, 96% of youth referred to school-based counseling followed through, compared with only 13% when referred to outside clinics. That means 83% more children — especially low-income children — are getting help for debilitating conditions, like depression and trauma.

Kevin was one of those kids. When he was ten years old, he and his sisters bounced around foster homes for a year after suffering years of abuse at the hands of their father. Kevin’s dad tried to turn over a new leaf, but soon after the kids returned home, he went back to his abusive ways. Eventually, Kevin’s mother took the kids and moved out.

But the years of abuse had taken a harsh emotional toll on Kevin. He had almost completely isolated himself, missing school for weeks at a time. His mom, an immigrant barely making ends meet, was at a loss for how to help him.

By the time Kevin was 16, he had only enough credits for freshman standing — dropping out seemed inevitable. That’s when Kevin’s guidance counselor referred him to The Child Center’s school-based mental health clinic, called a “healthfulness center,” at his school. Kevin began one-on-one therapy with Jennifer, a Child Center licensed social worker.

At first, Kevin barely spoke, and when he did, it was in one-word answers and a whisper. Over the course of a year, Jennifer worked with Kevin to identify his feelings, verbalize his thoughts, and elevate his mood. Kevin slowly improved his attendance, committed to his schoolwork — and showed off the high grades he achieved. He started smiling more and reported new friendships with classmates.

Kevin and his therapist, Jennifer

With a partnership that included Jennifer, Kevin’s guidance counselor and teachers, and Kevin himself — easier to create when they are all in one place! — Kevin graduated on time and is now attending college. That’s something he never thought possible for himself before he started therapy.

Thanks to your generous support, The Child Center was able to remove hurdles and create level playing fields for 600 kids like Kevin, who got the help they needed at our school-based healthfulness and wellness centers. Instead of dropping out, which seemed like their destiny, these kids are opting in to school and to life.

Because of The Child Center’s roots and reputation in mental health, five schools with which we had no affiliation asked us to set up on-site wellness centers — and we said yes without hesitation. How can you say no to these children?

At The Child Center of NY, our mission is to strengthen children and families with skills, opportunities, and emotional support to build healthy, successful lives. In addition to our mental health programs, we also offer early childhood education, child abuse prevention, and youth development programs that include afterschool, college readiness, and internship programs. Our numbers show there is a dire need for these programs. Last year, The Child Center went from being able to serve 21,000 children and families to serving 26,000. This increase shows that there are ever more kids who need us.

We never want to turn any child away, but we need your help. Please make your tax-deductible donation to The Child Center of NY now, on our secure online server, and give kids like Kevin the promising start all children deserve.

Thank you for your support!

Traci Donnelly
Chief Executive Officer
The Child Center of NY

Northwell Pediatric Residents and The Child Center of NY Collaborate

By Traci Donnelly
Chief Executive Officer

Last Wednesday, pediatric residents of the prestigious Cohen Children’s Medical Center, Northwell Health came to The Child Center’s Corona Head Start location to provide primary medical services, including physical examinations; medical histories; height and weight measurements; vision, hearing, and nutritional screenings; and parental guidance to low-income families. Through our partnership with Northwell, residents will provide this service to our clients once a month for a year at our Corona and Flushing locations, for clients across our programs. This service is absolutely free. Continue reading

Lights on Afterschool, in True Quest Fashion

By Jennette Lotrean

Every year, more than one million Americans celebrate afterschool programs and their impact on the lives of millions of children. The Quest ExpandEd program at P.S. 182 proudly participated in this national celebration with our Annual Lights on After School event and, in true Quest fashion, knocked it out the park!  Continue reading

Meet Our First Vivian E. Cook Scholarship Honoree!

Q&A with Latoya Mann, graduate of August Martin High School

Scholarship recipient Latoya Mann with Assemblywoman Vivian Cook

At The Child Center of NY, one of our firmest beliefs is that intelligence and drive are evenly distributed among zip codes. Unfortunately, opportunity isn’t always. That’s why we’ve been hard at work at August Martin High School, in one of the most underserved communities in the city. In the past few years, we’ve helped increase the graduation rate by nearly 40 percent — from just 24 percent to more than 60 percent — and are ensuring promising students not only can see themselves at college, but also can overcome the practical hurdles (like the steep price tag) to getting there. Continue reading

Ahead of US Open, Pro Players “Return the Love” to Child Center Campers

The Child Center of NY is the place to be if you’re a kid who’s into professional sports. Last summer, our Far Rockaway RBI little leaguers participated in Major League Baseball’s All-Star Youth Classic. This spring, they scored free tickets to Bat Day at Yankee Stadium. And yesterday, campers from our Latimer Community Cornerstone were invited to the US Open’s fourth annual Queens Day celebration at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Continue reading

Redfern Reopens!

To understand the importance of the Redfern Cornerstone Community Center in a tight-knit community of Far Rockaway, start by asking its youngest residents.

Six-year-old Karina will tell you that she liked how Redfern was a place she could “meet new people and make new friends.”

Second-grader Deniya “really liked all of the trips we went on, going outside, and playing games.”

As a Cornerstone program, the center was also important to parents, who knew the Center as a place their kids would find a safe, enriching environment after school and during the summers; and to community members of all ages who looked to the Center for a fun, safe place to come together.

So when the center closed abruptly last March, parents, children, and community members alike were shocked and upset. Continue reading

Generous Donor Provides Little Leaguers with Day at Yankee Stadium

It’s been quite a ride for Far Rockaway RBI in the three years since its inception — sometimes literally.

Last weekend, 28 Far Rockaway RBI ballplayers, along with 9 coaches and chaperones, rode the NYC Ferry from the peninsula to Manhattan. For most of them, it was their first time on a ferry. As if that weren’t exciting enough, they were headed to Bat Day at Yankee Stadium, where they got to see one of their favorite Major League Baseball teams in action. Continue reading

Backstage at ExpandEd 182’s “Beauty & The Beast, Jr.”

Performers from the Quest ExpandEd program at P.S. 182, Samantha Smith Elementary School, took the stage last month with a production of “Beauty & the Beast, Jr.,” an outstanding adaptation of Disney’s beloved “tale as old as time.”

ExpandEd’s annual musical productions are a favorite of the P.S. 182 and Jamaica community, as well as The Child Center family: Shows historically play to a packed theater, and this year’s performance was no exception. What shouldn’t go unnoticed, though, is the enormous amount of effort that takes place behind the scenes — for almost the entirety of the school year. Continue reading

A Playwriting Residency Means New Possibilities for Troubled Teens

When a child spends his adolescence in the criminal justice system, his time behind bars might stay off his permanent record, but the experience never gets fully erased from his psyche. “Adolescents who’ve been in the criminal justice system mostly talk about the trauma and abuse they experienced there,” says Miosotte Caban, a therapist at The Child Center of NY’s Jamaica Family Center. “Some say they will be traumatized for life and may not live what society calls a normal life.” 

At The Child Center, we help teens address these issues through traditional methods, like therapy and internships, and we constantly seek out new, innovative, evidence-based ways to reach the goal of helping young people become secure, capable, and confident. Continue reading

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