National Intern Day: Q&A with Sandra Ka, MSW

National Intern Day is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the instrumental role interns play in keeping our society running and progressing. Here at The Child Center of NY, interns are crucial to advancing our mission to strengthen families.   

 Anderson Sungmin Yoon, Vice President, Integrated and Value-Based Care, oversees our internship program.Our internship program now resides within the Training Institute in our newest division, Research, Development, Innovation, and Training. We are proud to have created relationships and affiliations with more than 30 universities and graduate schools, including Columbia University, NYU, Nyack College, Hunter College, York College, Stony Brook University, Hofstra University, and others. The program places nearly 40 interns annually, matching them with positions that align with their goals and training them to learn and grow as the future generation of professionals.  Continue reading

Supporter Spotlight: Rocco Sacramone

Clients receiving a frozen turkey.


Chef Rocco Sacramone at Trattoria L’incontro in Astoria.

The Child Center received a unique and generous donation just in time for the holidays from local restaurateur, Chef Rocco Sacramone.

The Child Center of NY is fortunate to have supporters who feel a special connection to our mission based on a variety of factors, from their desire to support their local community to their confidence in our results-based approach — and, always, their belief in our guiding principle: that every family and community deserves access to the skills, opportunities, and emotional support they need to build healthy, successful futures.

Late last year, The Child Center received a unique and generous donation just in time for the holidays from local restaurateur, Chef Rocco Sacramone.  

Clients receiving a frozen turkey.

Our clients truly felt the support of their community and enjoyed a special gift for the holidays.

Since 1999, Chef Sacramone’s family has run Trattoria L’incontro, an Italian eatery just 15 minutes from our Early Childhood Center in Astoria.

Every year, Chef Rocco donates frozen turkeys to various charities. Rocco and his team came across The Child Center of NY after a conversation with a customer at the restaurant. Upon learning about our work supporting children and families and our powerful community presence, they knew we were a perfect fit.

Chef Rocco graciously hand delivered 30 frozen turkeys to our Early Childhood Center in Astoria. His wife, Debbie, also sent a gift set of 100 stuffed animals for the children to take home. Thanks to their generous donation, our clients truly felt the support of their community and enjoyed a special gift for the holidays.

“We’ve been in the community all my life actually. My family came here in 1970 from Italy, we’ve always worked in Astoria,” Chef Rocco said. At the end of the day, everything is about the kids. When I saw the kids, that’s what it’s all about.”

Supporter Spotlight: Xun An Chia

Plushie penguins donated to The Child Center of NY

Plush penguins from Singapore find a home in NYC

Thank you, Xun and WT Partnerships, for this special delivery all the way from Singapore!

Brently Winstead, Development Associate at The Child Center of NY, and Xun An Chia of WT Partnership at our Forest Hills office

Plushie penguins donated to The Child Center of NY

At The Child Center of NY, we are fortunate to have generous donors who support our clients with various types of donations. Just last month, Xun An Chia of WT Partnership in Singapore reached out to The Child Center with a unique offer.

WT Partnership had a surplus of penguin plush toys from a charity event, and Xun wanted to find a home for them during a visit to New York. As a mental health advocate, Xun wanted to ensure the donation went to an organization that offers robust and comprehensive mental health services, particularly to children. When he learned about The Child Center and the families we serve, he got in touch with our Development Associate, Brently Winstead, who happily agreed to find homes for nearly 100 penguin plushies with children in our programs. And Xun, penguins in tow, traveled nearly 10,000 miles to place them in our hands.

Xun met with Brently at The Child Center’s headquarters in Forest Hills and, according to Xun, “One of the more thoughtful conversation topics that we had pertained to that of access to resources and help (support services, behavioral health services, etc.) and that sometimes the right to and even knowledge of the existence of such services may not trickle down to those who need it the most, sometimes simply due to the asymmetry of knowledge due to socioeconomic disparities. 

Another topic of conversation, Xun says, was that surprisingly, the plushies were actually quite difficult to give away. Brently was one of the few individuals who responded positively but it all worked out in the end. He continued, “Ultimately, seeing the box and its contents make it way to its intended destination made it all worth it — as was the journey tossing said boxes through various train station gantries from the airport, to carrying them close to a mile from the nearest train station to my place, which was truly an experience by itself.”

Thank you, Xun, for this extraordinarily special delivery all the way from Singapore! Continue reading

Virtual Recruiting Events

Meet our Agency Talent. Learn about our Job Opportunities.

The Child Center of NY is committed to closing the gap for kids and families in NYC’s under-served communities. Doing this requires recruiting dedicated individuals who have the skill set to make a difference for our communities. During this time of uncertainty, not only are we focused on meeting the immediate needs of our families, but we are actively looking toward the future and searching for the right individuals to join our team! And, we offer per-diem and work-from-home opportunities!

In order to connect with talented and qualified individuals, we are coming to you through virtual interviews with our hiring managers!

Continue reading

Our Team Makes Communities Grow

By Sonia Banks, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Human Resources

The Child Center of NY SVP of Human Resources Sonia Banks introduces Staff Spotlights.

Two months ago, I joined The Child Center of NY as Senior Vice President of Human Resources. It has been an amazing journey so far! This is a mission-committed workplace culture where staff are dedicated to bringing unique skills and competencies to their work.

I believe one of the roles of Human Resources is to support the strategic plan and vision of an organization. I look forward to supporting this vision by working with my team to ensure that processes and programs empower staff to reach their potential. Our focus is on supporting a stronger infrastructure so we can be more responsive to employee needs — because at the end of the day, when employees have the tools to be their best, they naturally empower those in our communities to achieve their educational and economic potential.

As a Queens resident, the mission has a special meaning to me. I am a social scientist who has worked in the corporate arena, at nonprofits, and government agencies helping them create high-quality, collaborative, and efficient work environments. I am honored that through The Child Center, I work alongside those who are invigorated to serve the community I grew up in.

We have wonderful opportunities ahead to transform Human Resources by tapping our collective potential to solve problems and build a culture we all thrive in. Over the coming months, we’ll be developing new ways to spotlight staff across the organization, both as a means to celebrate individual contributions to our mission and invite others to join our team. Stay tuned! I look forward to hearing from my fellow employees with their own inspiring stories of what they love about working here at The Child Center. And to those of you who are interested in making a difference through your work, in your own backyard — join us!

Learn more about Sonia by reading her bio on our Executive Leadership page.

Finding Your Voice: The Child Center of NY’s 65th Anniversary Gala

The Child Center of NY celebrated 65 years of service to some of the city’s most underprivileged children and families at our Annual Gala on May 14, 2018, at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers. The event featured entertainment by Broadway stars (along with students of The Child Center’s performing arts programs!), and the honoree was acclaimed restaurateur and cookbook author Lidia Bastianich. Emcee Sunny Hostin, co-host of The View and a correspondent for ABC News, led nearly 400 guests through the profoundly moving evening. Continue reading

Don’t Leave Them Stranded Again

Every Dollar You Give Goes to Redfern!

I am excited to tell you about our Redfern campaign, where every dollar raised will go directly to the Redfern Cornerstone Community Center in Far Rockaway, Queens. One year ago, children went to the Center for their afterschool program, as usual, and found the doors locked and a note on the door: the center was closed until further notice.

School-age kids, literally stranded on the doorstep. It’s painful to imagine. So when the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development asked us to become the new provider for Redfern, we just couldn’t — would never — say no. Overnight, we had to come up with a budget, programming, and staffing.

Redfern is in a tough neighborhood. It lacks services most of us take for granted, such as recreational activities and high-quality health care — and without the Redfern Cornerstone program, it would lack tutoring and afterschool enrichment opportunities.

During the ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the reopening of the center, someone was shot to death in the bodega across the street. Not a stranger — someone these kids knew from the neighborhood. I was so concerned that the police presence and crime scene tape would upset the kids on a day of celebration. The kids are used to it, someone explained to me. And then tragically, in the first two months of this year, two 15-year-old boys were shot to death, one of whom attended our centers; two families will never be the same again. We can’t be okay with this being the norm. We vowed “never to get used to it.” The loss of these young lives continues to break my heart each and every time. It actually enrages me, and I pray that never changes.

Those are the sad things, but here’s what’s good: parents who continually show up for their children, physically and emotionally; and kids who dream of a future in which they can be anything, just like all kids do. When we told the kids we were launching this campaign, they were so excited. “Do you think we can get some recreational equipment?” one child asked. Please, let’s show them that their larger New York community cares about them and are willing to help close the gap, so they have a fighting chance to compete and succeed. It really is in our power to do it.

For the next three weeks, every dollar donated through the links on this page will go directly to the space and programs used by Redfern kids. Kids like Tristian (pictured below, in front), who told us, “I struggle with math, and the center helps me understand the problems I have. We don’t have much to do in Far Rockaway, and I come to have fun, plus see my friends. Even though I wish robotics was here, Mr. Kirk teaches about science, money, and internet safety. When the center was shut down, I did not have a place to go.”

We need your help to remind these kids that they do matter and offer them a reason to say no to violence by offering them something to say yes to. Your gift will go directly to help us provide programming specific to these children and their community — such as robotics for children like Tristian, and video editing programs and instruction, which many kids have asked for. We know this approach works. (See Murlisa’s Story for a first-person account that shows why.)

Although you won’t find kids asking for it, another thing Redfern desperately needs is social workers. The trauma of seeing friends, loved ones, neighbors dead on the street is traumatic and affects these kids in ways that may not be apparent. It causes people to never really get attached, because the person you get attached to might not be there tomorrow. To anticipate loss and minimize the feelings that come with that loss can cause our kids to devalue themselves and others, when they each are so full of potential and possibilities.

Imagine if kids and their families had a place where they could get professional help to deal with these issues; and if that same place offered a safe haven where they could connect with others, explore their strengths, and begin to believe in tomorrow. Redfern is becoming that place, more and more every day, but we need your help; together, we can make Redfern a place to which our youth are proud and excited to go, where they can begin to realize their dreams.

I hope you will join us in this campaign!

P.S. Please give today. We can begin purchasing the things Redfern needs right away, and so many children are counting on you. Thank you for your support!


Traci Donnelly
Chief Executive Officer
The Child Center of NY

Please see this message from Redfern Director Lakia Echols


Provides 16 weeks of individual therapy by a licensed social worker for a child touched by violence.


Replaces a badly torn safety cushion, like the one pictured above.


Purchases The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Laboratory: Build, Program, and Experiment with Five Wicked Cool Robots.

Donate Now

Descriptions of impact are symbolic. Your gift will be considered a contribution to the entire mission of Redfern and will be used to purchase goods, staffing, or services at Redfern Cornerstone Community Center.

Statement by Child Center Senior Vice President of External Affairs and Community Engagement Deep Ghosh on the Deaths of Youssef Soliman and Trevor Rhudd

On behalf of everyone at The Child Center of NY, I want to express my profound sadness
and sympathy on the deaths of Youssef Soliman and Trevor “Bubba” Rhudd — both of
whom were killed needlessly and taken from us much too soon.

Both boys were known to us as local youth who come in to play or hang out at our Community
Centers. We aspired to be a safe place for these boys, and for all the youth of the
community — a place where they could explore their strengths, make friends, and believe
in and work toward a future defined by endless possibilities. When this type of trauma
emerges, those of us living in day-to-day service of the youth and families are all left in
pain and sorrow, trying to make sense of it. It is impossible not to wonder what we could’ve
done differently or more to attract youth away from the evils that exist in our community.
What we can do going forward is renew our commitment to the children who need a safe
and positive place more than ever.

The staff of The Child Center, who are living and feeling the great stress and sorrow of
these senseless murders, know that what is happening is unacceptable. All layers of the
organization, from our CEO to our staff on the frontlines in the Rockaways, are searching for
ways to end the war on the streets. We call out to all who wish to join us in this fight to win
back the streets and minds of the young brothers and sisters in the Rockaways.

There is promise in all of our youth, and both were just starting to find themselves. At our
Centers, staff are willing to listen and explore all options to ending this violence. We invite
anyone with ideas or the desire to join us in an effort to end this violence to reach out to

To the families of these young boys, we send our deepest sympathies. While we know
that nothing can ease the grief you are feeling, we hope you can take some comfort in
your good memories of your sons, and in the knowledge that so many people cared about
them and will miss them, and hopefully will go on to do good in their memory.

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