The Children's Aid Blog

Children's Aid Youth "Read for the Record"

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by Donna Chandler

Children at CAS's Drew Hamilton Day Care participated in Jump Start's "Read for the Record" on October 6, 2011.  This is our third year of participation.  Mrs. Rhoda Carloss-Smith, President of the Black Child Development Institute, New York, Mrs. Nieves Laras, Special Education Itinerant Teacher (SEIT) and Volunteer at Drew Hamilton, and Dr. Margaret Caspe read Llama Llama Red Pajama to our children. 

The day started with a breakfast party with children and staff wearing their pajamas and throughout the day children made Llama puppets, Llama ears and had a wonderful parade of marching llamas.

To top off the day, Clifton Oliver, who appeared as Simba in The Lion King on Broadway, visited Drew Hamilton Day Care to perform for our children. 

Mr. Oliver understands developmentally appropriate practices and his session was interactive and engaging that encouraged children to sing and dance along with him.  He stressed the importance of believing in what you want and presented each child with an autographed picture.

It was a special day for everyone!

Photos Courtesy of Donna Chandler.

Photo 1: Rhoda Carloss Smith with Llama Llama Red Pajama.

Photo 2: Margaret Caspe reading in the Green Room.

Photo 3: Clifton Oliver, who appeared as Simba in the The Lion King on Broadway, dancing with the children.

Inaugural Children's Aid Society Gala Raises $1.2 Million to Protect NYC's Neediest Children

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The Children's Aid Society (CAS) raised $1.2 million to aid New York City's most vulnerable children at their Inaugural Keeping the Promise Gala. CAS honored BNY Mellon, Robert Wolf, Chairman of UBS Americas and President of UBS Investment Bank, and volunteer Ann Sather for their support of programs benefiting needy kids. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author, Ron Suskind served as Master of Ceremonies for the event at the Waldorf-Astoria.

The Keeping the Promise gala celebrated CAS's 158-year commitment to improving the lives of New York's neediest children through medical, educational and recreational programming, while showcasing the work of corporate and community leaders who have served as role models by upholding the CAS promise through their meaningful contributions and volunteer work.

"Raising over $1 million in the current economic climate is an incredible success and a testament to awareness of the worsening situation," said CAS President and CEO Richard Buery. "We are thrilled to honor BNY Mellon, Robert Wolf, Ann Sather and all of our attendees who realize that New York City kids in need are at record numbers and only through holistic and sustained support will we ensure they are not part of a lifetime of poverty."

"Children's Aid Society focuses on the most helpless of all children in the City," said Chairman of UBS Americas and President of UBS Investment Bank, Robert Wolf. "Their commitment to keeping the promise to forgotten children ensures that we will not lose an entire generation of future Americans."

Notable guests also attending included Tony Award Winner Patti LuPone; "Law and Order SVU" star, Tamara Tunie; Director, Screenwriter and Actress, Rebecca Miller; Author Harlan Corben.
 

Domestic Violence Part 2: The Effect of Domestic Violence on Children

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This is the second in a series of blogs on domestic violence and healthy relationships which we originally posted last year in honor of October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Check back each week in October for upcoming blogs on Why People Abuse and Why Victims Stay.

It is estimated that at least 10 – 20% of American children are exposed to domestic violence in their homes. The effects on children vary widely. Some children are very resilient and continue to function in relatively healthy ways. But many children suffer from long-term effects.

Children who see, hear or are aware of violence at home are much more likely to get hurt themselves – either by getting hit directly or being ‘caught in the crossfire’ and hurt accidentally. Even when they are not hurt physically, they are usually hurt emotionally. They are much more likely to get in trouble for fighting with peers, do poorly in school, be diagnosed with learning disorders, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, or other mental health problems like depression or anxiety. As adolescents, they are at greater risk of substance abuse, dating violence, suicide, and a whole host of other social and emotional problems.

The cycle of violence in a family all too often repeats itself from generation to generation. And it impacts not only the family, but all of society, not only because of the cost in the health care and criminal justice arenas, but because those same child witnesses are more likely to grow up to commit not only intimate partner abuse, but many other forms of violence in the community. 

If a child you know is being exposed to domestic violence, call one of the numbers below to find out how you can help:

The Children’s Aid Society – Family Wellness Program   212-503-6842
NYC Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-621-HOPE (4673)
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-699-SAFE (TDD 800-787-3224)
National Teen Dating Violence Hotline 1-866-331-9474 (TTY 866-331-8453)

 

Mutual Support: the Community Schools Strategy

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Students learn best when their physical, mental, emotional, and other needs are met, but schools rarely have the time and resources available to meet those needs. If schools can find a way to engage families and communities, students are more likely to succeed. But how? One answer is the community schools strategy.

A community school has a set of partnerships in place that connect the school, the students’ families, and the community. Community schools are more than just another model or program; they bring together community partners, parents, teachers, and administrators to assess students’ needs and identify the resources that are available to meet them.

Read more on the Coalition for Community Schools Website

Richard Buery on The Huffington Post: Revamping Sex Education: A New Approach to the Birds and the Bees

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"Parents and policymakers are more likely to embrace school-based family life and sexuality education programs that are age and stage appropriate, while not obsessing over public health outcomes to the exclusion of all other dimensions of a young person's development."

Co-written by Dr. Michael A. Carrera, Director of The Children's Aid Society-Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program

New York City School Chancellor Dennis Walcott and Mayor Michael Bloomberg should be commended for their push to improve family life and sex education for public school students in grades 6-12. Current data indicate African-American and Latino teens in New York City have extraordinarily high rates of pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and sexual risk-taking. Public education has an obligation to address this frightening trend. However, the Department of Education's narrow approach, using genital-sexual issues as the driving theme, must be significantly broadened in scope to effectively address this daunting public health and personal development issue. The City should consider a more comprehensive initiative that takes into account all aspects of a young person's growth and development, not solely strategies associated with understanding and reducing sexual risk-taking.

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Richard Buery in The NonProfit Times: On Board for Term Limits

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Richard Buery admits he has a hard time getting rid of people. But that’s a good thing. “It’s a testament to how great our organization is and how great our work is,” said the president and CEO of Children’s Aid Society (CAS) in New York City.

Until this year, there were no term limits for board trustees of the 150-year-old charity. On average, board members served for about 15 years, with two who had served 39 and 34 years, respectively.

One of the strengths of Children’s Aid Society, said Buery, is that there are board members who know so much about the organization’s work.

“They’re very dedicated. We have trustees who have been on the board for a long time. Now the experience is great; it’s good to have that experience. But we also know that to have a real governing body that can have critical conversations about the future, you can’t have 50 people in the room.” He cited research that if there are more than seven people, a conversation will start to lose value.

Read more on The NonProfit Times

Follow Richard Buery on Twitter: @RichardBueryCAS

Volunteers Teach Children That We Are Stronger Together

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In honor of the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, volunteers from American Eagle Outfitters joined fifty elementary school kids at The Children’s Aid Society’s Frederick Douglass Center to create a commemorative banner. The beautiful banner features student-made self-portraits as well as decorated cut-outs of connected hands and t-shirts. Intended to inspire unity and celebrate the strength shown by Americans following the tragic attacks, the banner proudly hangs in the Frederick Douglass gym. 

This special event was part of the Frederick Douglass after-school program. Designed for children ages 5 - 11, the after-school offerings included everything from homework help and tutoring to arts, sports and more.

A special thank you to all of the volunteers from American Eagle Outfitters. Interested in becoming a volunteer? Please visit our volunteer program homepage for more information.

Children's Aid Announces Partnership with Jumpstart to Address Early Childhood Achievement Gap

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Written by: Margaret Caspe, Ph. D., Director of Early Childhood Programs, CAS

This fall The Children's Aid Society Early Childhood Department is embarking on a new partnership with Jumpstart to address the early childhood achievement gap. Jumpstart is an Americorps program in which college students and community volunteers deliver a supplementary literacy program to preschool children.  Jumpstart Corps members serve in classrooms twice a week for an entire school year; they read core storybooks and participate in targeted and intentional activities based on these stories that help develop key language and literacy skills.

To kick off the partnership, on September 23rd Margaret Caspe, the Director of Children’s Aid Society Early Childhood Programs spoke at Jumpstart’s Leadership Institute.  The panel was an opportunity for 75 of Jumpstart’s team leaders and volunteer coordinators to gain knowledge about the early childhood field, the different opportunities for growth in the sector and to be inspired by current early childhood leaders in NYC.  In addition to Margaret the panel included Sophia Pappas, Executive Director, Early Childhood NYC Department of Education, Maria Benejan, Associate Commissioner, Child Care and Head Start, NYC Agency for Children’s Services and Brian Wallace, Managing Director of Teacher Leadership Development, Teach for America

One of Jumpstart’s flagship initiatives is Read for the Record which this year is being held on October 6th.  On this day, more than 2 million people will read Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney, calling for an end to the early education achievement gap.  To read more about the initiative and to pledge to read you can visit their website.

To learn more about Jumpstart here.  Follow this blog to learn more about how the partnership unfolds over the course of the year. 

Congratulations to Francisco Núñez, Former CAS Music Director, Newly Named 2011 MacArthur Fellow

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The Children’s Aid Society (CAS) is proud to share that Francisco Núñez, past director of music for CAS and founder of the Young People's Chorus of New York City (YPC) was named one of 22 MacArthur Fellows in 2011.  As a recipient, Núñez's will receive a $500,000 fellowship over the course of five years from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to continue his work with his youth chorus program that targets inner-city students.  The unique feature of this fellowship is that it does not have reporting requirements or other stipulations, providing Núñez with the freedom to carry out his good work at his own pace—no strings attached.

He has served as founder and artistic director of YPC since its inception in 1988 as part of CAS.  Today, with over one thousand young people in five after-school choruses and thirteen choruses in its Satellite School Program in inner-city public schools, Núñez's YPC exposes young singers to an unmatched variety of music and music makers. Núñez held the position of director of music at CAS for nine years.

Photo credit: The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Gotham Schools: Venerable Social Services Group Wades into School Management

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As a Bronx elementary school principal, Drema Brown routinely encountered students who were struggling to complete schoolwork without adequate health care, a stable address, or even electricity.

Challenges like those held Brown back from boosting academic achievement. Even worse, she said, she couldn’t solve the problems wrought by poverty, either.

“I might take it for granted that I can just take my daughter to an eye doctor’s appointment and I have insurance that is going to get her that $300, $400 pair of glasses. But sometimes in a school something as simple as that could languish for an entire school year,” said Brown, who headed P.S. 230 in the South Bronx’s District 9 from 2003 to 2007.

Now a top official at the Children’s Aid Society, the 158-year-old social services provider, Brown is leading an experiment in integrating health and social services into a school setting. Children’s Aid is set to open its charter school in the Morrisania section of the Bronx next fall. The Board of Regents formally approved the school’s charter earlier today.

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