The Children's Aid Blog

Special Needs Forum Held for Children’s Aid Head Start Parents in East Harlem

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wed1Accessing services for a child with special needs can be a very daunting task - this challenging situation is only compounded when that family is new to the country and doesn't speak English.  These concerns sparked a recent event at the East Harlem Head Start program.  A group of parents, who presently have children receiving special needs services, got together to plan a Special Needs Forum where parents could share their stories, speak to experts in the field, and get their questions answered.

Nicole McClammy, Lizet Flores, Adriana Ramirez, and Brenda Colon, all mothers of preschoolers in the East Harlem Head Start program, put the forum together.  After two months of planning, the parents pulled together the following presenters:  a pediatrician from the Dunlevy Milbank Center to present on developmental milestones, a service provider from the Visiting Nurse Service to provide an overview of zero to three year olds, a service provider from TheraCare to cover children from three to five, and then an advocate from Advocates for Children to inform the audience of their rights as parents.wed3

The forum, which was held in Spanish, had a great turn out and a lot of important questions were answered.  The East Harlem Head Start program wants to graciously thank the parents from the planning committee for sharing their experiences and for making it a priority to share resources with the larger community.  Also, big thanks to all the presenters for sharing their expertise and providing so much clarity within the confusing world of special needs.

Pictures from the 23rd Annual Miracle on Madison Avenue

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Miracle on Madison Avenue volunteers get ready to hang balloons outside participating retailers

Miracle on Madison Avenue Kick off Brunch guests Richard R. Buery, Jr, President and CEO of The Children’s Aid Society with Event Chair and star of Law and Order: SVU, Tamara Tunie

The Carlyle Restaurant had tastings of their delicious butternut squash soup, hot apple cider and fresh baked goodies!

Children’s Aid Board Chairman Angela Diaz, M.D., M.P.H., Children’s Aid President and CEO Richard R. Buery, Jr., Event Chair Tamara Tunie, BNY Mellon President Robert Kelly, Madison Avenue BID President Matthew Bauer and a representative from the NYPD cut the ribbon to kick off Miracle on Madison Avenue

Volunteers made beautiful wreaths which were sold for $25 each with the proceeds going to Children’s Aid health services.

East Harlem Center Keystone Club and Artistic Noise’s Next Generation Center & LINC Program sold holiday cards of their own design and creation

The Pipes of Christmas, presented by the Clan Currie Society, step dancers and fiddler (background.)

Shoppers on Madison Avenue

All photos courtesy of Mike DiVito

Professor Kwame Anthony Appiah Kicks Off EXCEL in Writing, Thinking and Inquiry at NYU Academy

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Pictured l. to r. Cheryl Ching, The Teagle Foundation, Donna Heiland, The Teagle Foundation, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Ph.D., Princeton University and Richard Buery, President and CEO, The Children’s Aid Society

Diogenes, Alexander the Great, the Cynics, and the perils of world government.  These are not common discussion topics for New York City high schools students.Yet on Thursday, December 3rd, these were the subjects of a lecture given by philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah, the Laurence S. Rockefeller Professor of Philosophy at Princeton to a group of 40 high school students from Children’s Aid’s EXCEL College Prep program.  Dr. Appiah was one of my professors in college, and it was a thrill to have the opportunity to welcome him to Children’s Aid!

The lecture was the kick-off event for the EXCEL in Writing, Thinking and Inquiry at NYU Academy, a brand new collaboration between The Children’s Aid Society and New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, & Human Development.  The collaboration is funded by The Teagle Foundation via its College-Community Partnership grant program with additional support from The Squire Family Foundation.

EXCEL at NYU is an interdisciplinary, interactive college preparatory program based on academically rigorous training in philosophy and writing. The program will prepare CAS EXCEL high school juniors for competitive intellectual achievement, and will assist them in every phase of the college application, including the personal essay.

Richard Buery, speaks with teen members of the EXCEL at NYU Academy at the kick-off reception.

Beginning with after school and weekend sessions during the academy year, the program culminates in a 4-week Summer Seminar on the NYU campus where students will participate in lively, intensive training sessions in philosophic inquiry, critical thinking and expository writing. Dr. Appiah’s book, Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers, will be the central text of the summer course. A technology-based logic game, created by Professor David Velleman, will also be used during the summer program. The program also features Uptown/Downtown cultural exchanges, NYU student-Bronx HS student interactions, interactive technology, cultural events, tutoring and evaluation.

If the kickoff event was any indication, the EXCEL Academy students are in for a wonderful year.  The students were very engaged by the presentation.  Dr. Appiah never spoke down to the students; instead, he challenged them with difficult language and concepts. The evening was a testament to the intellectual curiosity and unlimited potential of our young people.

Richard R. Buery, Jr.
President and Chief Executive Officer
The Children’s Aid Society

An Insider CEO's Guide to Finding the Right Philanthropic Match

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In the nonprofit world, the phrase, “we’ll do lunch” has its own meaning in the sense that “lunch” is code for “bring your checkbook.” You (the donor) and I (the nonprofit CEO) will enjoy a meal and then I’m going to pull out all the stops to prove to you why my charity deserves your organization’s financial support.

You might be invited to one of these lunches in the coming weeks, as charities make that year-end fund-raising push. The CEOs will have his (or her) spiel down pat. He’s polished. He even has a dollar figure in mind that he’d like to see you contribute. But eventually he’ll stop talking, and then it’s your turn to ask the questions. What you ask can help you determine the best use of your philanthropic dollar.

Here are the first three questions every courted donor should ask during The Lunch:

To read the full article, link here

C. Warren Moses, Former CEO

Shoppers Can “Round-Up” Holiday Purchases at JCPenney and Support After-School Programs at The Children’s Aid Society in New York

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The quarters and dimes returned to you as change after a purchase at a store can go into your piggy bank, OR, they can help support after-school programming at the Hope Leadership Academy!

image001 From now through Sunday, December 13, JCPenney at Manhattan Mall invites shoppers to round-up all purchases to the nearest whole dollar; the store will donate 100% of the difference to The Children’s Aid Society’s after-school programs at Hope, which include academics, arts, college preparation and scholarship programs, employment training and technology for its teen members.

All employees are encouraged to do some holiday shopping at JCPenney and round-up! It’s an easy (and fun) way to make a donation to critically needed services.

The Children’s Aid Society is the permanent round-up partner of the JCPenney at Manhattan Mall, which offers the round-up opportunity to shoppers quarterly.

Dr. Carrera’s Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program Celebrates 25 years!

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thanksgiving2I was honored to attend the 25th Anniversary Celebration of Dr. Michael Carrera’s Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program. It was held on September 30, 2009 at the Harvard Club of New York City and attended by family, friends, industry colleagues, program graduates and supporters.

Dr. Carrera started his work in the field back in the 1960’s when discussion of teen sexual activity and health was taboo.   Dr. Carrera continues to break new ground – over the past 25 years he has created a program that gives teens the tools they need to succeed on so many levels including pregnancy prevention. And he’s brought parents into the conversation with teens – a small miracle in itself.   One of the most quoted lines in all his APPP materials is that we don’t prevent teen pregnancy – they do.

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As a testament to his work, Gara LaMarche from The Atlantic Philanthropies spoke about Dr. Carrera’s work over his career and his perseverance, “he’s been able to show…through political ups and downs and different administrations – some which were hostile and some of which have been supportive – how important this work is, and how effective it is.”

Casper Lassiter, a graduate of the program and who now works with teens as director of our Dunlevy Milbank Center, spoke about his initial experience with the program as a 14-year-old.  “The first meeting, it was so passionate, he was so genuine – you can’t fool teenagers, they see right through you, and all we saw was that you cared about us, you loved us and you wanted us to succeed.”  And succeed they did – hats off to Dr. Carrera!

Kathy de Meij, Associate Director of Development, Director of Marketing & Special Events

Children’s Aid Miracle on Madison Avenue a Resounding Success

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Despite rain and snow the day before, the 2009 Miracle on Madison Avenue event was a huge success! The day kicked off with brunch at Calypso St Barth which was attended by event Chair and Law and Order: SUV star Tamara Tunie, Bob Kelly, CEO of presenting sponsor BNY Mellon, Matthew Bauer, the President of the Madison Avenue BID, Richard Buery, President and CEO of The Children’s Aid Society and many of Children’s Aid staff and supporters. There were passionate speeches and hearty thanks to all who have helped put the 23rd Miracle on Madison Avenue together! At noon, the party headed outside into the cold for the ribbon cutting ceremony which officially kicked off the shopping.

Store Sign Announcing Miracle Participation

Guests were encouraged to do some guilt free shopping and with that the red ribbon was cut and the day began. Shoppers up and down Madison Avenue from 57th to 86th Street were greeted by balloons and signs signifying one of the 77 participating retailers. 20% of your purchases from these businesses was donated to Children’s Aid health services which ensure full health care access and preventative care to the neediest children and families of New York City.

There was activity all up and down the Avenue. CBS-FM Radio played holiday music, volunteers from our newest community school in Washington Heights, High School for Excellence and Innovation, expertly sold raffle tickets to shoppers and volunteers from BNY Mellon handed out free samples of Glowelle® Beauty Supply Drink, M&M’S® BRAND Premiums Chocolate Candies and Mini Babybel® Cheeses.

Under the hospitality tents Children’s Aid volunteers made and sold festive holiday wreaths and Children’s Aid kids sold holiday cards that they had designed. Also, under the- thankfully- heated tent were giveaways and wonderful food tastings from The Carlyle Restaurant. This year’s butternut squash soup and hot apple cider were divine and certainly hit the spot!

There was also wonderful live performances including step dancers and a fiddler from The Pipes of Christmas, presented by the Clan Currie Society, music from The Labor of Love Ensemble, rhythmic performances from COBU, Inc., and a Capella music from Figgy Puddynge.

Miracle Sunday turned into the perfect December day for holiday shopping. To the hundreds of volunteers, the many more supporters and shoppers who braved the cold and came out to shop on Sunday, we’d like to say thank you to everyone who made this year’s Miracle on Madison Avenue a wonderful success.

Cathleen Miles and Danielle Mueller
Children’s Aid New York

Thanksgiving Dinner Donated by Top Chefs and Generous Volunteers of Children’s Aid

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thanksgiving1The staples of Thanksgiving dinner were on full display at The Children’s Aid Society’s Dunlevy Milbank Center on Wednesday, November 25th. Delicious dishes including tender turkey, tart cranberry sauce and cheesy mac & cheese, and more were generously donated by some of New York’s finest hotels and restaurants.

Now in its 19th year, the annual thanksgiving dinner was provided by the Food & Beverage Association of America. Headed by Wayne Whinna, Director of Food and Beverage at The Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers, and organized by Gladys Mouton Di Stefano, President of the Food and Beverage Association, over 4,000 pounds of turkey with all the trimmings were prepared, delivered and served to families of Dunlevy Milbank as well as the surrounding Harlem community.

Casper Lassiter, Director of the Dunlevy Milbank Center served as an entertaining MC and raffled away over 100 turkeys.

David Giordano, director of the East Harlem Center and DJ for the night, played familiar holiday tunes. Also in attendance was The Children’s Aid Society’s new CEO Richard Buery who, along with his two boys, mingled with guests. All in attendance had a lovely dinner, with great company, fun entertainment and a restful night’s sleep thanks to the great meal! Photos Courtesy of Lily Kesselman

It’s Never Too Late to Learn: Children’s Aid and The Value of Adult Education

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“Knowledge is Power”Sir Francis Bacon As we journey through life, we accumulate experience, knowledge and, most importantly - wisdom. When we work hard to educate ourselves, we gain what is called sweat equityor the value that we’ve earned from our efforts.

Education provides a Value that means different things to different people. For the men and women who participate in The Children’s Aid Society's adult education programs, the value of an education is quantifiable: education makes them more marketable, more able to function and flourish in a highly complex and competitive world.  Children’s Aid gladly provides the resources and support to help them succeed!

Through programs like Families with a Future, Children’s Aid Society parents work one-on-one with a Life Coach who helps them to set goals and a long term self-empowerment plan. Besides offering counseling and family support services, The Children’s Aid Society helps finance their education by awarding grants to qualified students. Other adult services include E.S.L. (English as a Second Language) and computer courses at our technology centers.

Helping families to help themselves – that’s what we set out to accomplish. When we help parents to become productive members of the community, they are better able to provide a safe and stimulating home for their children. They also become role models for their children who, in turn, will share the benefits of their parents’ example and sweat equity.

A Life Transformed by The Children’s Aid Society Programs

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Our Annual Meeting on October 15th was a testament to the work of Pete Moses, who will be retiring at the end of this year.  Pete spent more than 40 years at The Children’s Aid Society , making huge improvements in the lives and wellbeing of the neediest children of New York, most recently as Chief Executive Officer.  In addition to an overview of programs started or expanded under Pete’s leadership, some of the most moving moments of the meeting were comments by those who have used Children’s Aid programs and services over the years.

Nayady Cruz spoke about her long and expansive relationship with Children’s Aid. She immigrated from the Dominican Republic in 1990, met her husband Roberto and started a family, but with a poor command of English she felt somewhat isolated in New York.

program

She was pregnant with her daughter Dayamara and her son Andy was 4 years old when she was referred to the Children’s Aid Society’s P.S. 5 Early Head Start Program.  There she became an active participant in the Family Room and took workshops on family life and how to understand the Department of Education.

The Early Head Start program taught her about educational, emotional and physical development which helped her raise her children and ensure their academic success.  Her children attended Summer Camp at Wagon Road, and received medical care at our Clinic. With a deep knowledge of Children’s Aid programs, Nayady was hired to work in the Extended Day Program to help other families.

Fast forward 15 years and she is now working at P.S. 5 as the Parent Coordinator where she teaches parents how to access the same resources that have helped her.  Her family also gives back to Children’s Aid and their community.  Both Nayady’s daughter Dayamara, and husband Roberto volunteer for the Early Head Start Program and her mother is part of the program for Grandmothers. “CAS is my second home.”

Kathy de Meij, Associate Director of Development, Director of Marketing & Special Events

Photo by Ben Russell