Below is a speech that Jonathan delivered during the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Cohen Family Wellness Center. You can listen to additional thoughts that Jonathan shared during an interview with amNY, above. Credit: amNY, Kyle Sweeting, and Jason Schwartz.
Hello everyone, my name is Jonathan, and I have been involved with The Child Center for about three years.
To begin my journey, I started with Zoom calls due to the pandemic and restrictions placed by COVID-19. The resources provided by The Child Center helped with resolving many of the issues I was suffering from and helped me overcome major challenges that were tied to my anxiety.
It took me a while to warm up to my therapist due to the unusual circumstances, but when I became comfortable, that’s when my journey decided to pick up speed.
When I went to the clinic for the first time, I was tense and overwhelmed. Due to the country opening up and returning from a remote environment to an in-person environment, I was on edge and all over the place. I was worried that I would lose all the progress I had made during the Zoom sessions. But my therapist helped me ease my worries and helped me with my transition to this new life.
At the time, I was scared of everything happening around me, afraid of change, and intimidated by the smallest challenges that life presented. Although these problems never seem to cease, the ways to manage these stressors were some skills that I would eventually pick up in my therapy sessions.
The [Cohen] Family Wellness Center created the resources necessary for my improvement. I felt like I had no cure, and although it seemed like that at the time, I would later be proven wrong.
I learned that I was not the only person to have these uncomfortable symptoms. I was not the only person to live this type of way. I was not alone in this struggle.
This sense of belonging would bring me great comfort, allowing optimism back into my life once again. This place helped me grow, helped me change into someone that I am proud to be.
I would have never imagined the progress I would have made; it still amazes me today.
I would like to happily share that due to the progress I made at this place, I was able to accomplish some achievements that I could have never possibly imagined. This would include my role as valedictorian for my class of 2023, and being a Macaulay Scholar attending Queens College in the fall, majoring in psychology to pursue a passion of being a therapist or clinical psychologist. This passion was inspired by my time at The Child Center.
To end things off, I would like to thank my therapist, Abraham, and my psychiatrist, Dr. Yang, along with my parents and siblings who supported me through this journey. I do not know what type of person I would be without them.