The Children's Aid Blog

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

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April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and at the Children’s Aid Society ensuring that a child grows up happy, healthy, and safe is a large part of the work we do every day. We do this through programs that ensure children have a safe place to live, that the home is free from violence and that children are given the supports they need to thrive, even when their parents are unable to provide it.

Programs such as the Family Wellness Program  and Preventive Services provide counseling, case management and advocacy for families at risk of child abuse or neglect, including exposure to domestic violence. Well-trained social workers provide comprehensive home-based services, as well as community-based group, individual and family counseling, to strengthen family functioning and address the factors that place children at risk. When families are stable, children are stable. For that reason, improving home life is a large part of The Children’s Aid Society’s mission.

Everyone has a responsibility to look out for the best interest of a child. Stay informed on the many types of child abuse and how to recognize the warning signs of a child who may be the victim of abuse or neglect.




From the Associates Council: Thank you to our Wonderland sponsors!

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With the Wonderland fundraiser only a week away, we wanted to take a moment to thank our sponsors who are supporting The Children's Aid Society's Foster Care program by making this event possible.

First, a huge thank you to our “White Rabbit” Sponsor, the Danzi Family! Your generosity has allowed us to take our event to the next level and we are so grateful! Another big thank you to our “Cheshire Cat” sponsors – Edelman and UBS – for their contribution. Edelman has been a strong supporter of CAS and the AC and is a returning sponsor from last year. We appreciate the continued support and are excited to have them back!  We’re also thrilled to have UBS, a new sponsor this year.

We also want to thank our “Mad Hatter” sponsors: Jonathan Rose Companies, a returning sponsor from last year, and Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management, brand new to our AC event this year.  

We are thrilled to have Tito’s Handmade Vodka supporting us once again! Plus get ready to indulge your sweet tooth – we’ll have delicious desserts from Baked by Melissa and Robicelli’s.

Jonsar Studios’ mobile photo studio is also a standout sponsor at the event. Visit their studio to capture and share your adventures in Wonderland with all your friends. Also a big thanks to the talented Josh Haunschild for photographing the event.

Our sponsorship committee co-chairs (Johanna Lanus, Zandra Pernica, Erika Maurice, and Violetta Averbakh) have done an amazing job bringing in money, great activities, and delicious treats to make Wonderland even more spectacular!  Let’s also give a huge shout-out to everyone on the AC who was able to bring in such fantastic sponsors by reaching out to their networks for support and donations.

We’re proud to have such great sponsors supporting Wonderland and the CAS Foster Care program.  Make sure you don’t miss out on all of the fun – get your ticket here today!  

 -- Ali Rotondo (Marketing Co-Chair) and Stephanie Danzi (Sponsorship Co-Chair)


Scholars Study and Save with Citi

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On Wednesday April 9, Citi celebrated its National Teach Children to Save initiative with a kickoff event at the Children’s Aid Society’s College Prep Charter School (CACPCS) and C.S. 211 in the Bronx. Teach Children to Save is a program developed by the American Bankers Association to raise awareness about the important role banker’s play in helping young people develop lifelong savings habits. 

Children’s Aid Interim CEO Bill Weisberg and Children’s Aid College Prep Charter School/C.S. 211 staff were excited to welcome Citi U.S. Consumer & Commercial Banking President Cece Stewart, NFL star Justin Tuck, and Deputy Mayor Rich Buery, who would lead the day’s activities. Local Citi branch volunteers offered financial literacy workshops to CACPCS first and second graders and C.S. 211 middle school students on the importance of saving for the future and healthy money habits, such as understanding needs versus wants and spending money wisely.  Justin Tuck encouraged the young scholars to keep saving and studying.

The Children’s Aid Society event is one of 100 throughout the country. More than 500 Citi Consumer Banking employees across the United States will volunteer in classrooms, after-school programs and Citibank branches this month, reaching more than 9,000 students in grades K thru 12 in support of this national campaign.

The Teach Children to Save program offers the following tips to teach kids the financial facts of life:

  • Talk about money.  The best financial lessons happen during every day experiences, such as going to the grocery store or going on an errand with Mom or Dad.  Encourage them to ask you questions about money, and be prepared to answer them – even the tough ones.
  • Explain the difference between needs and wants, the value in saving and budgeting and the consequences of not doing so.
  • Open up a savings account at your local bank for your children and take them with you to make deposits.  That way the children can learn how to be hands-on with money management.
  • Children tend to emulate their parents.  Be a conscious spender and an active saver.


Week of the Young Child

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The Week of the Young Child is an annual week-long celebration in April sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The Week of the Young Child was first established in 1971 to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs. During this week early childhood programs and educators are recognized for their work. In the United States, nearly 11 million pre-school children under the age of five are in non-parental day care.

At The Children’s Aid Society, we recognize that the early childhood years are the most critical for laying the foundation for children’s success academically and throughout life. Children’s Aid uses a comprehensive approach to the education of our youngest children — from birth to five — that enables us to serve just over 1,000 pre-school children in 12 different programs. Helping children develop a greater sense of self, a respect for others and a lifelong love of learning are the guiding principles of our work with pre-schoolers.

View a complete photo gallery of Early Childhood programs throughout The Children's Aid Society.


Curtis HS Youth Spread The Love

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For Self Harm Awareness month in March, student health ambassadors at Curtis High School, a Children's Aid Society community school in Staten Island, organized a “Self-Love Day.” Student volunteers handed out surveys that youth completed anonymously and led activities like "Fears vs Dreams" from the "To Write Love on Her Arms" movement. Students wrote their biggest fears on bricks and greatest dreams on footprints. The bricks will make a path in the Health Center with the dream footprints stepping over the fears and along the path. A makeshift photo booth was set up for students to take “Love Thy Selfies”, complete with positive body image quotes for them to hold up. Because these issues are so prevalent amongst adolescents, students wrote “LOVE” on their arms with sharpies to support those who are struggling with depression, self harm and thoughts of suicide.

After school in the library, students watched the movie “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” The movie depicts the story of a 15 year old struggling with a friend's suicide and his own mental health issues all the while trying to find his place in high school.

All throughout the day, ambassadors and staff connected these issues to resources offered right inside the school at the school based health center. Out of 188 surveys collected, 49 students admitted to self-harming. Information like this will be essential to the Mental Health staff at Curtis High School in their efforts in creating a health center that students feel comforatble going to for help.

National Volunteer Week

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The Children’s Aid Society wouldn’t be what it is today without the dedication, heart, and help of its volunteers.  For years, volunteers have played an integral role in supporting the CAS mission and its programming through direct service volunteering, fundraising for a variety of initiatives and programs, and by providing opportunities and unique learning experiences for all of our children and youth.

We’d like to thank each of our direct service volunteers who selflessly give up of their time on a weekly basis to tutor, facilitate programming, assist in the classroom, and spend quality time with many of our deserving children.  Without your help, we wouldn’t be able to do the great work that we do.

We’d also like to thank each of corporate partners and volunteers.  You have brightened our community centers and sites through beautification projects, you have improved the minds of our youth by facilitating workshops, been role models by sharing your expertise through mentoring, and have brought cheer to our kids during the holiday season.   

And finally, to the Associates Council, thank you for the countless hours that you devote to our cause through mobilizing your friends and connections and by giving of your time to organize and staff events like the Fitness Jamboree and the clothing drive.  And your celebrated fundraisers have drawn attention to CAS and have brought in vital resources and funding to support critical programs.   The work continues even now as we make final preparations for Wonderland taking place on April 24 at Manhattan Penthouse.  (Buy your tickets here.)

In a time where it is often much easier to sit back, relax, and let other people take responsibility, you have stepped up.  You go beyond performing random acts of kindness.  You consistently serve and look for ways in which to make the world a better place.   We are so grateful to you and for you and are proud that you are a part of the CAS family!  Thank you and Happy National Volunteer Week!

--Malia Poai & Kat Connelly, Volunteer Services, The Children’s Aid Society

The Hatter and Hare Await You

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"'Twinkle, twinkle, little rat!
How I wonder what you're at!'
You know the song perhaps?"

... sang the Hatter.

You too will be singing strange songs soon after our soirée in Wonderland. Come join the Children's Aid Society Associate Council for a mysteriously magical meet at the marvelous Manhattan Penthouse. Come drop the drudgeries of daily-do's whilst dawning your divine draperies to dive into a drink or two. We'll be sure you'll leave lightheartedly lax and lovely!

Wonderland is quite an inspirational theme and the Associate Council has been racing like a rabbit to prepare an event that lives up to its playful spin. We've lined-up a memorable experience for you that will, like Alice, allow you to leave your world behind so that you can freely partake in frivolities worth singing about – all within the sight of a gorgeous New York City skyline. You be Alice and we'll be the interesting characters who are sure to make you laugh as we party with you. Enjoy delicious drink, fantastic food, and fabulous friends, while we raise awareness and funds for a worthy cause – The Children’s Aid Society’s Foster Care Program! We couldn't be more right in saying that this will be the most perfectly perfect way for you to kick-off your Spring. On April 24th, The City will have no better rabbit hole to hop into – promise!

The Hatter and Hare await you for a drink. But don't be like the Rabbit– late, late, late! Get your tickets today, today, today! 

"'Up above the world you fly,
Like a tea-tray in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle–"

--Nathaniel Soria, Co-Chair, Marketing Committee

CAS Applauds the Governor and State Legislature

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The Governor and the New York State Legislature reached an agreement early Saturday morning on the Fiscal Year 14-15 budget, and we are pleased that the children of New York State have been prioritized in this budget.

The budget includes funding for many of the priorities that Children’s Aid values, including universal pre-kindergarten, the continuation of after-school programs, and more time to determine how best to ensure that school-based health centers can continue to serve thousands of children across New York State.  All of these programs are key parts of the community schools strategy, which was funded in the budget for a second consecutive year.

The opportunity gap between children in poverty and their peers is already far too wide. These programs will go a long way in helping to narrow the gap with regard to academics and health – and will produce lifelong positive outcomes – while also saving taxpayer dollars in the long term.

We applaud the Governor and New York State Legislature for prioritizing children in this budget.


2014 CAS Youth of the Year

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Earlier this week, The Children's Aid Society's Adolescence Division coordinated an internal competition to select the young person who would represent Children's Aid at the upcoming Boys & Girls Club of America’s Youth of the Year State Competition.

Six young people representing Children's Aid sites, Fannie Lou Hamer High School in the Bronx and Hope Leadership Academy in Harlem, were nominated for Youth of the Year honors. Selection was based on leadership within the “club,” their commitment to the community and their academic achievements. The candidates underwent an intense process that included writing essays and securing letters of recommendation and/or supporting documentation from their site coordinators. The youth also gave a speech in to a panel of Children's Aid representatives who also evaluated the written applications and formally interviewed each candidate.

Ciarra Leocadio was selected as the Children's Aid Society's 2014 Youth of the Year. Saul Soto and Nyuma Gumaneh, both from the Hope Leadership Academy, were awarded first and second runner-up honors, respectively.

Up next for Ciarra will be to travel to Albany for the Youth of the Year State Competition on May 18-20 where she will compete against other Youth of the Year candidates from across the state of New York. The winner of the state competition will go on to compete in a regional competition. A national Youth of the Year will ultimately be named based on the regional competition.

Ciarra is an Advanced Peer Trainer at the Hope Leadership Academy and has participated in a number of programs, including JPMorgan Project LIVE, MSG Classroom, and the Germany Exchange Program. She will attend Vanderbilt University in the fall on a full Posse Foundation scholarship and plans to become an OB-GYN. The Children's Aid Society is proud to have Ciarra as our 2014 Youth of the Year and we wish her best of luck in Albany!



From the Associates Council: Wonderland Supports CAS Foster Care Programs

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The Children’s Aid Society Associates Council is hosting its fourth annual spring fundraiser themed Wonderland“ on Thursday, April 24 from 7-10pm at the Manhattan Penthouse.

Proceeds from this year’s fundraiser will benefit the foster care programs, which provides care to over 500 young people, ranging from ages 0 to 21, each year. The Children's Aid Society foster care program draws on its 160+ history of helping abused and neglected children by placing them in families that can provide care and support.

“Children's Aid Society is so excited that the foster care programs will benefit from this event,” said Jane Golden, Vice President of Child Welfare and Family Services. “We look forward to partnering with the Associates Council to help us enhance the services we provide to children, youth and families involved with the foster care system – safe, stable home environments and the promise of a bright future.”

Each year, Children's Aid Society foster care programs monitor over 300 family foster homes and facilitate the adoption of approximately 90 children/youth who cannot return to their birth families. Children’s Aid also has two specialized foster care programs – the Treatment Family Foster Care and Medical Foster Care. These programs serve youth with special emotional and psychiatric needs and medically fragile/chronically ill children, respectively. In the past ten years, the Children's Aid Society has also developed new and innovative service models for meeting the specialized needs of adolescents in foster care by creating a Teen Foster Care unit.

By joining us for Wonderland, you will help enhance these Children's Aid Society foster care programs and improve the lives of children in our neediest New York City communities.

We hope to see you on April 24. Buy tickets today!

--Ali Rotondo, Co-Chair, Marketing Committee