The Children's Aid Blog

Foster Care Parent Spotlight: Juana Sanchez

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The Children's Aid Society finds homes for more than 500 children each year. Our foster care program provides specialized services including Family Foster Care, Medical Foster Care, Therapeutic Foster Careand services for teens "aging out" of foster care. The Foster Care parents who work with The Children’s Aid Society open up their hearts and their homes to help children in need of a loving and stable environment where they are able to thrive. In observance of National Foster Care Month, The Children’s Aid Society is sharing this spotlight on Juana Sanchez.

By keeping siblings together Juana Sanchez is making a new family for herself and creating a chance for a brighter future for the group of five she has cared for over the last five years. On February 6, 2006, Ms. Sanchez opened her home to four siblings, one of whom was born with a congenital abnormality and required a high level of care. The night the children were placed with her was also the birthday of one of the girls. Although it was late in the night, Ms. Sanchez baked a cake for the child and the siblings all took pictures and ate together. A year later, Ms. Sanchez welcomed into her home an additional member of the sibling group without hesitation. She has been a strong advocate for the children and continues to ensure that each child receives the necessary services to address their issues. Ms. Sanchez has stated that while she did not physically give birth to them, they are the children of her heart. She is currently in the process of adopting all the children, and looking forward to making the family official. Ms. Sanchez has been a foster parent at the Children’s Aid Society since December, 2005.

Bronxites Celebrate the Arts and Culture with Children’s Aid

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Hundreds of families came out to The Children’s Aid Society’s Bronx Family Center last week for Arts and Culture Day on May 16th as part of the Annual Bronx Week Celebration. The week-long celebration, sponsored by Bronx Borough President Diaz, Jr. and the Bronx Tourism Council, showcased the Bronx community’s diverse culture and most importantly, its people who proudly call themselves, Bronxites.

Attendees were able to access many different resources at Arts and Culture Day such as free blood pressure and mental health screenings, Foster Care recruitment and health insurance information. John Moncrief, the Community Liaison from Assembly Member Eric Stevenson’s office, provided information on how his office serves its constituents and the resources provided.

The fun-filled event also had many activities for the younger crowd such as face painting, a bouncy house and raffles all while enjoying a tasty hotdog and sweet cotton candy. There was even a show-stopping dance performance by the C.S. 61 Dancers. C.S. 61 is a Children’s Aid Community School located in the South Bronx. The performance was reflective of the amazing talent and different cultures in the Bronx.

Needless to say, The Children’s Aid Society’s Bronx Week celebration was once again a success and more importantly a celebratory and rewarding experience for the families and children of the Bronx.

Youth Council Tackles Bullying in Schools

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Last night, dozens of students, parents and community members gathered at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore on East 86th Street to discuss one of the biggest problems facing schools today: bullying.

The event was organized by The Children’s Aid Society Community School’s Youth Council, a group of middle school students who are empowered to serve as advocates for their communities. This year, they surveyed 500 of their peers about their experiences with bullying, and used the results to make their own documentary. The film premiered last night and featured first person accounts as well as reenactments that demonstrate some of the difficult situations that students currently face.

After the screening, Youth Council members led a lively town hall discussion where students, parents and teachers alike shared their experiences with bullying and their suggestions for how to solve this problem in our communities. The students were articulate and honest during the discussion and handled difficult conversations with maturity. During one poignant moment, a student shared her painful story of a friend’s suicide as a result of bullying. Later in the evening, when a local NYPD officer was captivated by the discussion, he stressed the importance of parental and community involvement in cases of bullying, reminding the audience that bullies are often victims of violence themselves.

Last night’s event was also a fundraiser for The Children’s Aid Society. A portion of the proceeds from all of last night’s purchases in the 86th Street store will be donated to The Children's Aid Society. Your online purchases can still help Children’s Aid by using Book Fair Code #10711901 on all orders thru Friday, May 25th.

Community Schools Boost Teacher and Principal Satisfaction

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The spring 2012 cover article of the Learning System, a publication of Learning Forward, a lead national and international association of educators, explores community schools as an effective strategy to boost teacher and principal satisfaction.  Author Anthony Armstrong interviews Jane Quinn, CAS Vice President for Community Schools and Director of CAS National Center for Community Schools (NCCS), in connection to the model’s effective alignment of programs and services to support student achievement and its impact on teacher-principal satisfaction. Click here to learn more.

Dole Food Company, Inc. Visits With Go!Healthy Program Participants

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This week Dole Food Company, Inc.and The Children’s Aid Societycelebrated the Go!Healthy Programin East Harlem. Funded in part by a grant from Dole, second-grade students from P.S. 50, a Children’s Aid Community School, had the opportunity to show off their cooking classroom, gardens and culinary skills for this multinational corporation.

“We are so excited to partner with The Children’s Aid Society for the Go!Healthy Program,” said Marty Ordman, Vice President, Marketing and Communications, Dole Food Company, Inc “Healthy habits start at a young age and it is so important that we give our children the tools they need, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, and easy recipes, to ensure that they lead a healthy lifestyle.”

As truly gracious hosts, the children prepared a deliciously healthy meal at the nearby Children's Aid Society East Harlem Centerwhich showcased fresh ingredients grown in their very own school garden and their cooking skills, all a part of the Go!Chefs cooking program. This program introduces children and youth from low-income neighborhoods across New York City to healthy, fresh foods through fun, hands-on learning experiences.

Dole’s contributions to the Go!Healthy and Go!Chefs programs are an example of the company’s continued commitment to reducing the rates and impact of childhood obesity in the U.S. through early educational interventions.

Photography by Lily Kesselman

Join the Youth Council for a Screening of their Movie on Bullying

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For the past two years, Children’s Aid Society’s Community Schools Middle School Youth Council has been addressing the serious problem of bullying in their schools with youth facilitated events and workshops. They screened and discussed the film Bully with director Lee Hirsch, provided town halls within their schools and met with elected officials to express their concerns. This year they have armed themselves with data, utilizing both qualitative and quantitative research methods to support their work.

After collecting over 500 surveys and interviewing their peers, they have realized they are entrenched in an epidemic. Of the students surveyed, 46.2% of respondents said that bullying has a big impact on their school. The majority of students express that young people are bullied because of appearance (67.5%) and race (42.4%). Likewise, 67% of students reported that school staffs either do not stop the bullying or unaware that it is happening.

This is perhaps the most alarming statistic. The youth leaders in Community Schools aim to help adults to understand the severity of this problem. They also hope that policymakers can consider their experiences when assessing city funding for mental health and out of school time programming.

The Youth Council has created a video to represent their findings. This video will premier in the Green Room at the Barnes and Noble at 150 E 86th Street near Lexington Avenue, NYC on Wednesday, May 23rd at 4:30PM followed by discussion for parents, high school students, educators, administrators and policy makers.

This event will also be part of a fundraiser for Children's Aid. A portion of the proceeds from all books bought on this day in the 86th Street Barnes and Noble store will be donated to The Children's Aid Society. A portion of the proceeds from online purchases from May 23rd to May 25th using the Book Fair code #10711901 will also be donated to Children's Aid.

This event is part of a Children's Aid Society fundraiser with Barnes and Noble.

All are welcome to attend the movie premier and discussion forum. Please rsvp to Stacey Campo at

Hundreds Rally in the Bronx to Save After-School and Child Care Programs

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By: Keyla Espinal

On May 8th hundreds of children, advocates and Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) in the Bronx rallied on the steps of the Bronx Supreme Court on 161st Street and Grand Concourse to say NO to the Mayor’s budget cuts. The Campaign for Children and it’s supporting organizations, including The Children’s Aid Society, gathered students to show the importance of after-school and child care programs, especially in the Bronx. Representatives from the offices of Council Member Annabel Palma and Assembly Member Vanessa Gibson, both of whom represent sections of the Bronx, echoed the participants devastation and the importance of restoring these cuts.

Students had signs expressing the importance of their programs which also included other creative representation such as: songs and dance, t-shirts with symbolic pictures, and one group of students had Band-Aids on their faces to represent how “budget cuts hurt.” The Children’s Aid Society was well represented by students from CS 61 who chanted “save after-school" and "CAS is the best.”

This will be the fifth straight year the Mayor has cut child care and after-school programs, reducing services by two-thirds, which will leave 90,000 children without these essential programs come September. This year alone, the combined effects of the new cuts and changes to the early childhood and after-school systems will eliminate an additional 15,900 child care slots and slash after-school services for 31,800 children. These programs are proven to prepare children for school, support them while in school and help low-income, working parents keep their jobs. The Campaign for Children, as well as the other advocates and children at the rally, all vowed to continue to fight these cuts through June 30th, when the final City budget is due to be passed.

Please visit the Children's Aid Take Action Page to learn how you can tell Mayor Bloomberg and elected officials to put children first!

Neuberger Berman Volunteers Get Kids Thinking About College

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Thanks to some very special volunteers from Neuberger Berman, several 5th graders in Washington Heights are much more prepared to experience college. Last week, students from P.S. 5, a Children’s Aid Society Community School were joined by these volunteers who proved to them that one is never too young to think about their future academic careers and college.  The students were divided into four groups named after college mascots: the Tigers, the Eagles, the Bulldogs and the Lions. The groups had the opportunity to meet with the volunteers individually who shared with them all about their own college experiences and how they transitioned into their careers.  

The youth did not waste this precious opportunity to gain some insight into what college could be like for them. Among the many questions were “Is it hard to make friends at college?”  “Do you have classes on the weekends?”  and “Is college expensive?”   The visit turned out to be a complete success with both groups learning a great deal from one another. The Neuberger Berman volunteers made a great impression on the Children’s Aid kids and without a doubt they should visit P.S. 5 again soon!

Richard Buery Calls for Preservation of After-School and Child Care Programs on Manhattan Viewpoint Blog

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As part of ongoing advocacy efforts aimed at convincing city leaders to preserve funding for after-school and child care programs, Richard Buery, Children's Aid President and CEO, served as a guest writer on the Manhattan Viewpoint Blog. Mr. Buery's post, NYC Budget Cuts Damage Our Children, carefully reviews the numbers in terms of how many children and families will be effected. The stunning statistics include: "In Central Harlem, only 5.7% of eligible families will have access to early childhood education." An excerpt of the post is available below. Also, be sure to visit the Children's Aid Take Action Page to learn how you can tell Mayor Bloomberg and other elected officials to save vital services for children!

NYC Budget Cuts Damage Our Children

On Thursday, Mayor Bloomberg announced his $68.7 billion budget proposal, and for the fifth straight year, his budget slashes early childhood and after school programs.   

Nonsensical Cuts
With Wall Street tax revenues lower than predicted and our city still recovering from the economic downtown, I understand that the city has difficult choices to make. But decimating these critical programs for children is just the wrong choice to make.

From his Young Men's Initiative to improve outcomes for young people of color, to his plans to serve juveniles in supportive programs here in New York City rather than upstate juvenile jails, to the groundbreaking poverty-fighting initiatives of his Center for Economic Opportunity, the Mayor has demonstrated his sincere commitment to the poor and working-class children of New York City. And while I haven't agreed with every element of his education reform policies, he has bravely asked to be judged as the "education mayor." Our expectations of what a public education system can and should be expected to deliver for poor children have been changed forever.

That is why the mayor's proposed cuts to early childhood education and after-school programs make absolutely no sense. We all understand how important it is to keep kids engaged and on track beginning at a very early age...

Continue reading on the Manhattan Viewpoint Blog

11th Annual Children's Art Show

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Last week, the walls at the National Arts Club exquisitely displayed brightly colored and deeply moving art pieces from youth in Children’s Aid Society community schools and centers. Dozens of children, parents and staff attended the 11th Annual Children’s Art Show at the famous arts club in Gramercy Park on Thursday April 26th to celebrate their talents.

This year, the Art Show featured approximately150 pieces of art by children ages 3-18 from Children’s Aid fall and winter programs. There was something for everyone to enjoy! Delicately made tissue paper cherry blossoms done by 5 and 6 year olds of the Dunlevy Milbank Center to emotionally moving charcoal drawings by teens in the Artistic Noise program.

Overwhelming accolades were given to all the artists by the legendary Dianne Bernhard, President of The National Arts Club, Richard Buery, President and CEO and Dr. William Weisberg, Chief Operating Officer of The Children’s Aid Society. Along with the talent on the walls, all in attendance were treated to an energetic performance by the Children’s Aid Senior Chorus and a riveting original poetic reading by Kelisha Cyrus of The Hope Leadership Academy. Visit the 11th Annual Children’s Art Show photo gallery to view images of this special event and art work.