On June 19, The Child Center of NY hosted a retirement celebration for Micki Segel, LCSW-R, who began working with the agency an incredible 32 years ago — before we were even known as The Child Center!
Most recently our Associate Director of Youth Development, School-Based Mental Health (SBMH), Micki has been an unfailing advocate throughout the decades for the children in her care, as evidenced by her blog post, Three Ways Schools Can Counter the Rise in Teen Suicide, and her comments in this article about the devastating consequences of the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why.
Below is the farewell address Micki gave to colleagues at Queens Bully — four blocks from our administrative headquarters in Forest Hills and four miles from our South Jamaica (SJ) Clinic, where Micki spent the majority of her tenure with us. Thank you, Micki, for your hard work and dedication. You will certainly be missed.
“Thirty-two years ago I started at The Child Center of NY before it was The Child Center of NY. I began at the South Jamaica Clinic of the Queens Child Guidance Center. We didn’t have computers — we wrote out all psychosocials, treatment plans, and progress notes by longhand. We didn’t know about CBT or DBT, mindfulness or evidenced-based treatment. We had deficit funding. We had little to no data and we dressed like professionals (no blue jeans).
I have witnessed tremendous change and growth under the leadership of Sandy Hagan (The Master Grant Writer) and now Traci Donnelly, who somehow miraculously took the agency from the basement of the Big 6 to the incredibly beautiful Forest Hills location.
I remember driving Deep Ghosh to work when he was an intern, listening to stories about his girlfriends and baseball coaching. Little did I know that it would be Deep, now a Casey Foundation Fellow, who would lead me to the best job (and last) that I’ve had in the agency in SBMH.
It seems like I have worked nearly everywhere in the agency: Jamaica, SJ, Woodside, and Kew Hills clinics; Child and Family Clinic Plus; Quality Assurance; the School Response Team Youth Development; and now SBMH.
Some of you — Seline Bearman, Grace Paik, Elizabeth Traverso, Sandy Hagan, Deep, Asha Kumar, Lynette Crespi, Alla Weinstein, Nelly Marte — I have known and work with for more than 20 years.
People ask me repeatedly two questions: 1. “How do I feel?” and 2. “What am I going to do?”
How do I feel? I feel so many ways. I am excited, anxious, scared, surprised, humbled, appreciative, grateful, reflective, and sad — very sad. Leaving the agency is a huge loss for me so I’m counting on your part-time job offers to lighten my mood — and deepen my pocketbook.
What am I going to do? I’m really not sure. I will continue to do the things that I love — quilting, yoga, singing — but I know I will figure it out because that is what I do; I problem-solve. Now I can look at the long list of projects that I keep telling myself I’d do when I retire. Leon – that includes Marie Kondo-ing my apartment.
I am so grateful and appreciative of Nick Ferreira — a terrific boss — for helping to make this event happen. This is really overwhelming. All any of us want is to feel appreciated for the work that we do, and I really feel appreciated today.
I want to thank the wonderful YD team — Amanda, Roxy, Fran, Rob, Kammy, Reshma, Rochelle, Kwan, Saher — along with Deep and Nick. You are all a joy to work with, and I will miss YD meetings, which always generate camaraderie, good will, and energy to do more.
I thank the incredible SBMH Dream Team. (I won’t name you all, but you know who you are.) You all inspire me. I am in awe of the work that you do every day. I don’t believe anyone could have a more dedicated, creative, skillful group of clinicians and youth advocates to work with.
I thank my husband Larry Sapadin and my son Ben Sapadin — the two dearest people in my life. Today is my 31st wedding anniversary. I was married less than a year after I started at the SJ Clinic. I thank you both for coming today to support me. It means so much to have you meet all these dear people from the world of my work.
Lastly, I thank the BEST partner anyone could wish for — Kwan Wong. I am so happy to know that SBMH will continue to prosper and grow under your leadership. Our staff love you and are so lucky to have you.”