The Children's Aid Blog

A Gatsby Affair Raises $18,000 to Benefit Hope Leadership Academy

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On Wednesday, May 23, nearly 200 guests attended The Children’s Aid Society’s Associates Council’s Second Annual Spring Fundraiser, “a Gatsby Affair”, at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center. More than $18,000 was raised to benefit The Hope Leadership Academy of Children’s Aid, a teen center promoting positive behavior, in Harlem. Hope gives youth a safe place to process their feelings on violence and victimization, and shows them how to derive strength from their experiences so that they can feel empowered rather than hopeless.

Inspired by the glamour of the Great Gatsby, guests gazed at gorgeous green wall installations and enjoyed seasonal Spring hors d'oeuvres and cocktails by ‘wichcraft while dressed in seersucker suits and fancy flapper frocks. Along with Associates Council President and Event Co-Chair, Jennifer Gallivan, The Children’s Aid Society’s President and CEO Richard Buery warmly welcomed attendees. Hope’s Director, Danny Morris, spoke about Hope, the importance of mentors and introduced the “super star” students present at the event, including 15-year-old Kelisha Cyrus, who gave a moving performance of an original poem.

The winners of the luxury tiered raffles (Wilson’s Garage and the higher-end West Egg) were announced by event Co-Chair Alicia Barrett and her father. Some of the coveted prizes included a once-in-a-lifetime casting audition with CBS, a custom men’s suit from Bond & Bari, dinners at Gramercy Tavern and Maialino, Moore Brothers Wine and La Maison du Chocolat tastings, and a private shopping experience from Lilly Pulitzer. Generous guests also directly sponsored scholarship opportunities for Hope, including SAT prep books, college visits, and back-to-school shopping.

Special thanks to Event Silver Sponsors J.P. Morgan, Scotiabank, and Trident Investment Management, and event partners: Adrienne Brown for event photography, Design by Studio N8 for all marketing materials, and Party Town America with Dan and John for photobooth photography.

Written by: Evita Torre, Associates Council - Executive Committee Member
Photo credit: Adrienne Brown Photography

One-Man Musical About Foster Care Experience Comes to NYC

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Proceeds to benefit The Children's Aid Society

Patrick Burns based his one-man musical From Foster Care to Fabulous on his experience living in four foster homes between the ages of 14 and 17. On June 8th, 11th, and 17th, you can see Patrick perform From Foster Care to Fabulous at The Bleecker Street Theatre as part of the annual Planet Connections Theatre Festivity. Patrick is graciously donating the proceeds from the run of the show to The Children’s Aid Society. “I’m very excited and proud bring the show to New York City where all proceeds will benefit the Children's Aid Society, an organization that provides adoption, foster care, health, and education services to underserved children and families in New York City," Burns said. After the June 11th performance, foster care professionals, including staff from The Children’s Aid Society, will participate in a “Talk Back.”

Performance dates are:

June 8th at 10:00 p.m.

June 11th at 6:30 p.m.

June 17th at 7:00 p.m.

General Admission is $18

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!