Author Archives: Eugenie Bisulco

A Chat with COO Jaime Angarita

dsc_0002Q:  What brought you to the not-for-profit world and The Child Center of NY?

Many of the words used to describe our clients have been familiar to me throughout my life, because they could have described my own family’s situation: Poor. Immigrant. Shared family-housing. Uneducated. My mother didn’t graduate high school. She was young when she had me and worked a series of odd jobs to put food on the table. Both my wife and I have biological fathers lost to drugs or incarceration. The familiarity of these “descriptors” is what attracted me to the not-for-profit industry.

I see them as just that — descriptors. Continue reading

Supporter Spotlight: Garrett D’Alessandro

Like other driven individuals, for the first 20 years of Garrett D’Alessandro’s career, he was principally focused on achieving his career goals. Garrett has always been financially generous to charitable organizations, although he made little time to otherwise engage in his community. Continue reading

La Historia de Luciano


Luciano Rosendo, his three sons, and Andrea Piskunov, their case manager

Por fin puedo  decir que me siento listo para enfrentar el futuro; ha sido un camino largo y difícil hasta llegar a donde he llegado.

Cerca de dos años atrás, mi esposa salió a hacer algunas vueltas y nunca regreso. Desde entonces he estado tratando de ser fuerte y levantar a nuestros hijos de la mejor manera posible. En mi cultura la madre es la que usualmente se encarga de la educación de los hijos así que no ha sido fácil para mí solo, encargarme de esta labor.

Para Guillermo, Cecilio y Luciano tampoco fue fácil enfrentar este cambio. Pedí ayuda al programa de Head Start al cual acudía mi hijo Cecilio en Woodside, Mercedes Jimenez, la trabajadora para la familia me ayudo a aplicar para los cupones de comida y con consejería para mis hijos. Debido a los horarios de trabajo, me vi forzado a irme a vivir en el área de Corona con un familiar quien me ofreció ayuda con el cuidado de mis hijos.

Al principio fue difícil hasta adaptarnos a la forma de cuidado de mi familiar. Mercedes nos refirió al Head Start/ Early learn program en Corona y también al Elmhurst Family Center General Prevention donde conocimos a nuestra actual coordinadora de servicios Andrea Piskunov quien es y sigue siendo una pieza importante en el mejoramiento de nuestra situación.

Estoy muy agradecido a The Child Center of NY y muy especialmente a Andrea quien nos visita con frecuencia y nos ha ayudado a desarrollar rutinas diarias- como supervisión de  las tareas escolares- con mis hijos quienes tienen ahora, 7,5 y 4 años de edad.

Yo pienso que mis hijos son ahora más felices y están más seguros. Trato de hablar con ellos y hacerles entender la situación por la que están pasando y les dejo saber que yo estoy para ellos. También estoy aprendiendo a leer y a escribir para poder ayudarles a ellos un poco más. Estoy listo para poder sacar adelante a mis hijos y poder decir que tenemos de nuevo una familia.

Luciano’s Story

Finally, I feel ready for the future. It has been a long and difficult road to get here.

A couple of years ago, my wife went out for an errand and never came back.  Since then, I’ve been trying to pick up the pieces and raise our three young sons right.  In my culture it is usually the mother that handles childcare, so taking on this new role has not been easy for me.

Guillermo, Cecilio, and Luciano didn’t handle the changes well, either. I asked Cecilio’s Head Start program in Woodside for help, where Mercedes Jiminez got us SNAP (food stamp) benefits and counseling for my sons. Then we moved so that someone in my family could take us in to help with the children, because I work such long hours.  But that was also a problem at first, because our caregiving styles are so different. Mercedes sent us to the closer Corona Head Start/Early Learn program, where a social worker helps the children, and to the Elmhurst Family Center General Prevention Program, where I met our case manager, Andrea Piskunov, who has done so much to make our situation better.

I am thankful to The Child Center of NY and especially to Andrea, who visits us often and has helped me develop routines – like doing homework and getting ready for school – with my boys, who are now 7, 5, and 4 years old.

I think my kids feel happier now, and safer.  I try to talk to them and understand what they’re going through, and I’m there for them as much as possible.  I am learning how to read and write so that I can help them even more. I am ready for us to be on our own as a family again.


Yessenia Rodriguez: Coming Full Circle in The Child Center Family

At The Child Center of NY, adversity is often transformed into success, and individual talents DSC_0007 (2)contribute to powerful teams. Young people who benefit from our programs as children grow up to become driven staff, old friends are recruited to help on projects, and, as exemplified by Yessenia Rodriguez, parents take on roles in their children’s school programs and end up “on the other side,” helping Child Center families as staff themselves. Continue reading

Jahdiel’s Story

DSC_0107My name is Jahdiel, and I’m 18 years old.  I came to The Child Center of NY on an ACS referral, because I was finding it difficult to speak to people. Having started public school after being home schooled was too overwhelming for me, and I shut down.  You go from being one-on-one to one on 30 or 35.  It is very hard to engage with everyone.  It’s too much to take in.

In 2011, I took a year off from school.  When I came back, things were much better.  Since I’d had a year to work on my issues, I was able to deal with classrooms and large crowds a lot better.

I have gone to sessions with Rebecca Gannon in the South Jamaica clinic for four years, and she and The Child Center made me into a functioning person.  I was like a closed-up turtle before. I lived vicariously through TV.  My social skills were nonexistent, but I have slowly been able to progress from intimate conversations to group situations.  I’m in 10th grade now, but people don’t seem to notice or care about the age difference.

I still don’t really enjoy big family gatherings, but I’m in a Restorative Justice group at school, and working on outside projects — like planting trees in Battery Park — has enabled me to acclimate myself to social situations and also to be a model for others with similar experience or behaviors.  I hadn’t been leaving the house much before, but now, as a peer counselor, I’m counted on — I have to show up.  It’s really The Child Center that helped me to help myself and also to be of help to other young people.DSC_0072

A few months ago, when Rebecca moved to South Jamaica from the other Jamaica location, it added at least 30 minutes to my commute time, but I didn’t want to lose this support system.  It’s easy to be lazy but not to give up.

She told me she’s proud of me and that the differences in me are “night and day.”  I say “night and year.”  I’m a new person, but the good thing is I’m also still me. The Child Center is about becoming who you are — embracing yourself, even if you are naturally a sheltered person – and being able to handle your faults.

Alan Stein: Innovation in Giving

DSC_0312“Not everybody has the same advantages that I had.  I am lucky to have parents who supported me at every step of the way,” said Alan Stein, Online Advertising, Global Strategy, and Operations Manager for Google.

Alan believes in giving back – but not merely in traditional ways.  As a frequent donor to The Child Center of NY over the years, he has also participated in a number of events “hands on,” such as acting as a referee for dodgeball and organizing a Google cafe fundraiser attended by board members, and has encouraged his three children to give back as well.  His kids, learning the importance of philanthropy by his example, have held bake sales and lemonade stands to raise money for The Child Center.

But the Stein family doesn’t just raise money for us; they also encourage friends and coworkers to donate as well – to The Child Center and other worthy recipients.  At Google, where Alan works, up to $6,000 a year per employee is matched in giving to charitable organizations, and Alan does not let that benefit go to waste.  In addition to maxing out his own annual Google contributions, he also sponsors a “Holiday Triple Match,” with his colleagues, matching up to $150 of their donations out of his own pocket.  In five years, they’ve raised a combined $72,000.

“The Child Center of NY helps children grow and develop, and I want to support that by creating opportunities for kids to be able to make their own opportunities.  Giving them the resources they need to work toward their own goals makes me feel like I’m making a difference in their lives, and for the next generation as well,” said Stein.

Staff Profile: Ashley Colletti, LCSW, Intake Coordinator, South Jamaica Clinic

AshleyCollettiWhat brought you to The Child Center of NY?

When thinking about my career path, I had always felt called to work with young people because of their capacity to change and grow, as well as the joy I get out of connecting with them and their families. I was also drawn to working in a clinical capacity, empowering others to enhance their mental health and wellness. I had previously been enjoying doing social work with older adults, but when my friend who was working for The Child Center of NY recommended I apply to be a therapist, I pursued the opportunity. I am grateful for that push that led me here. Continue reading

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