The Children's Aid Blog

Stephanie Sigal excites Early Childhood Training Staff About Promoting Speech and Language Development

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On November 10th, Stephanie Sigal, a New York City speech – language pathologist spoke to a group of over 20 early childhood teachers, directors and special needs coordinators about how speech and language develop over the first five years of life and strategies to promote children’s speech and language skills.

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(Image courtesy of www.sayandplayfamily.com)

Stephanie spoke about the benefits of eliminating habits that encourage poor oral motor skills (e.g., sippy cups, bottles, pacifiers) and the importance of encouraging language skills through the right level of modeling for each child.   She discussed the importance of not only reading to children every day, but how important it is to choose books that will encourage speech and language skills.  Stephanie pointed out how crucial it is for babies, toddlers and even school age children to be read to face-to-face so that they can observe facial expressions.  Our faces, and especially our mouths should always be visible to children in conversation.

Staff left the training excited and referred to the workshop as “eye opening.”  Many of the participants, who are parents themselves, spoke about how they would immediately begin to incorporate Stephanie’s tips into their work with children at home and at school.

Stephanie Sigal MA CCC-SLP offers speech, language and oral motor therapy for babies, toddlers and school age children in Manhattan.  She specializes in assessing and treating articulation disorders from an oral motor perspective.  Stephanie’s methods improve speech clarity and resolve problems such as tongue thrusting and drooling.  Stephanie also has family-friendly language programs to help young children maximize language skills.

You can learn more about Stephanie and her Manhattan-based speech therapy company Say and Play, at: http://www.sayandplayfamily.com/

What’s On Your REAL Holiday Wish List?

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miracleteusThis holiday season, we all want to treat ourselves to something special — maybe some new jewelry, a chic pair of shoes or that “must-have” toy for the kids…

But what if your wishes could make a REAL difference, not just in your own home, but in the lives of children who need a lot more than just a new toy?   If you had that kind of magic at your fingertips… What would YOU wish for?

Well, now you have that magic.

Join us for the Miracle on Madison on December 6, 2009 from 12-5 pm to fulfill your wish list and ours.  The Children’s Aid Society will receive 20% of the day’s proceeds from all participating stores, and that money will provide vital health services to the underserved children in NYC!

Plus, before December 6, make a comment here and let us know what your REAL holiday wish list would look like.  Because we all love new shoes, sweaters, games and toys — but some wishes on our list can’t fit in a gift box.

This holiday season, help your gifts go just a little farther.  Save the Date and Save a Child.

Opening Up a Crowded Home After a Sister’s Death

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The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund has recently featured this Children’s Aid story about a family opening up their crowded home after a sister’s death.  Below is an excerpt from the original article.

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Felicia Fields, center, and her family. Clockwise from top left, Johnathon, Jasmyn, Barron Smith, Tichina, Christopher and Justin.

The Fields household is jam-packed.

Pots and pans are stacked atop the kitchen table. The refrigerator is close to overflowing. Crates of clothes cram the living room, and there are not enough beds for the family of seven living in the tiny two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment in a housing project in gritty Morrisania in the Bronx.

“It’s overcrowded,” admitted Felicia Fields, 38, the head of the family. “But we don’t stress on it as long as we have love.”

The sudden death of Ms. Fields’s sister, Carol, from septicemia in June 2008 brought two more children into a space that already included Ms. Fields’s children — Justin, 10; Jasmyn, 14; and Johnathon, 19 — and her fiancé, Barron Smith. The fathers of Tichina Fields, 17, and Christopher Fields, 8, declined to take an active parenting role after Carol Fields’s death, so Felicia Fields moved them from their apartment in Riverdale, and was eventually granted full guardianship.

“I’m just grateful to keep them together, because I couldn’t imagine a world without them,” Ms. Fields said. “I couldn’t let them go to foster care.”

Tichina, a straight-A student and a fledgling writer who became afflicted with cerebral palsy after suffering from bleeding in her brain after her premature birth, and Christopher, a train and bridge buff who has autism and attention deficit disorder, refused to eat for a while after the move. Christopher told a school counselor he wanted to go to heaven with his mother. But eventually they became enmeshed in the family fabric, wordlessly tapping away on their Game Boys alongside their cousins and swapping computer time for the completion of their chores.

Read more…

To learn how you can make a difference for this family and many others, please link over to The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund or contact:

The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund
230 West 41st Street
Suite 1300
New York, NY 10036
(800) 381-0075

Photo courtesy of Ayman Oghanna for The New York Times

In an Emergency, the Neediest Cases Fund Provides Relief

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The following is an excerpt from the November 6th issue of The New York Times:neediest.190

By KARI HASKELL
Published: November 6, 2009

The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund begins its 2009-2010 campaign today. The tradition of helping those who are struggling to provide for themselves and their families began 98 years ago, after Adolph S. Ochs, then the publisher of The New York Times, encountered a shabbily dressed man who was out of work and down on his luck. Their exchange inspired Mr. Ochs to begin printing profiles about the city's worst-off citizens in The New York Times. Since then, readers have responded to the articles printed every holiday season by sending in contributions by mail and, more recently, online at nycharties.org. All told, the Fund has raised over $244 million. Below, the seven agencies supported by the Neediest Cases Fund describe how readers' donations bring stability to people's lives in times of crisis.

Children's Aid Society

A child walks to school without a coat in winter and does not want to worry his jobless mother about it. A widowed father chooses to use his reduced wages to put food on the family table, but doesn't know where to turn when he receives a utility shut-off notice. These are family situations that come to The Children's Aid Society on a daily basis.

Read full article…

To learn how you can make a difference, please link over to The New York Times Needist Cases Fund or contact:

The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund
230 West 41st Street Suite 1300
New York, NY 10036
(800) 381-0075

Swimming Lessons at East Harlem Center

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The East Harlem Head Start program made quite a splash when they recently had their first day of swimming lessons.  Already in its third year, the East Harlem Head Start Swimming Program has taught over 50 preschoolers, 70 parents, and even 1 Head Start teacher, how to swim2kick, stroke, and swim their way across the Milbank pool.

The classes, held every Friday, pool together a variety of CAS resources - the Early Childhood Department, the Milbank Center, East Harlem Head Start staff, and one enthusiastic lifeguard.  Each preschooler is accompanied by one, or sometimes both, of their parents. The program is designed so that both the child and the parent build up their confidence and learn how to swim.  Each lesson allows for the parents and children to really swim1 connect with one another, to feel proud of what they accomplish, and, most importantly, to have fun!  Stay tuned, the group will be swimming laps in no time!

Shop the Miracle on Madison Avenue Event for a Good Cause

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miracleteusMark your calendars for Sunday, December 6th from noon to 5:00 pm for the 23rd Annual Miracle on Madison Avenue!

On Miracle Sunday, over 75 participating retailers along New York City’s famed Madison Avenue between 57th and 86th Streets will donate 20% of the day’s sales to The Children’s Aid Society’s health services.

Children’s Aid’s health services include: acute and preventive treatment, medical, dental or mental health care, counseling by a health educator, ophthalmology/optometry and more.

Miracle is the perfect opportunity to start holiday shopping and help children in need.  Purchasing a handbag could help provide a nebulizer for a child with asthma. Your scarf could help provide an eye exam for a child struggling to see the black board.

Join thousands of caring New Yorkers as they shop on Madison Avenue. Law & Order: SVU’s Tamara Tunie, the Chair of Miracle on Madison Avenue, will be on hand at noon for the opening ceremony at Madison Avenue and 69th Street.

See you on the Avenue on December 6th! And remember to use #shopmiracle when mentioning this event online.

Our East Harlem Center Gets a Special Halloween Visit from the NYPD

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The East Harlem Head Start program's Halloween party was extra special this year when a number of our Community Partners came to celebrate.

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Many of our neighborhood friends came to visit:  representatives from State Senator Serrano's office, el Museo del Barrio, the Mexican Consulate, the 100th Street Bus Depot, and the New York Police Department (23rd Precinct, Manhattan North, and the New Immigrant Outreach Unit).

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The children especially loved seeing all the police officers in their 'costumes.'  The big highlights were decorating creepy cupcakes, a very competitive game of musical chairs, showing off creative costumes, and, of course, the candy distribution!

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Thanks to all our friends that came to share the day with us!

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Nonprofits Go on the Offensive

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If you check your inbox or mailbox today, there’s a good chance one of them contains an appeal from a nonprofit agency.

It could be a newsletter containing information about new programs, or a request to contribute toward a donor-match program. Or it could simply be a profile of someone whose life was improved because of the financial support of people like you.

This is because now more than ever, nonprofits need to focus on marketing and outreach. If your own company is going through difficult financial times, your sales force is the last place you look for savings. Cutting your sales department would be mortgaging your future. The same thing applies to non profits. The last place we reduce spending is in the areas that help us add to our coffers: public relations, donor communications, and marketing.

Like most charities, The Children's Aid Society needs to make every effort to keep our supporters up to date on our activities and impact. That means we need to......

To read the full article, link here

C. Warren Moses, Former CEO

Soul Therapy: Children's Aid Society Creative Writing Programs Encourage Self-Expression through the Written Word

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“The reason one writes isn't the fact he wants to say something. He writes because he has something to say.” F. Scott Fitzgerald

reading wednsday

It has been said that music soothes the mind, but writing heals the soul.  Whether through journal writing or poetry, short stories or plays, or even that first novel – writing is the art which has the power to fuel our need for self-expression, creativity and empowerment.  Everyone, young or old, has a story or two to tell and the creative writing programs offered by The Children’s Aid Society provide a wonderful opportunity for young people to tell their story, express grief/frustration, foster creativity – all through the written word.

Creative writing is also an excellent rehabilitative tool.  The Children’s Aid Society’s after school programs provide students with many writing and reading opportunities:  book clubs, play- and screen-writing, drama clubs and performance poetry. Children’s Aid also has partnered with Voices Unbroken, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing underserved youths aged 14-21 (the “unheard voices”) with tools and opportunities for creative self-expression.  Through this partnership, South Bronx foster care youths at The Children’s Aid Society’s Next Generation Center (NGC) have access to experienced teachers and writers. Students attend local poetry readings, share their own creative work with peers and have exposure to new forms of literature.   Minds are opened. Souls are unburdened. And, every so often, a real artist is born.

Making Music in West Harlem at the Drew Hamilton Learning Center!

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trumpetThe Children’s Aid Society’s Drew Hamilton Learning Center runs an arts-based after-school program, with a special focus on music. The overarching goal of music instruction at the Drew Hamilton Learning Center is to develop musicianship, discipline, and self-esteem; the program pursues this goal in various ways.

The 70 students enrolled in the program participate for an average of 2-6 hours per week. Students are taught music fundamentals –reading music, history, theory and related skills.

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A keystone of the program is instruction in a variety of instruments: percussion, violin, bass guitar, trumpet, saxophone, keyboard and flute.  Teaching artists instruct the students in a small group setting, ultimately seeking to enable youth to create their own original music through improvisation. This DHLC after-school music program creates specific opportunities for instruction leading up to performances, promoting self-confidence and poise in each student.

The music program connects parents and other community members to the center by providing them with occasions to listen to and celebrate music though performances both within the center and in the surrounding community. Students in the performing groups, drumsuch as the Drew Drummers and the Harmony in Harlem Jazz Ensemble, share their talents throughout the community.

This past year, the students performed at the CAS 8th Annual Children’s Art Show, Make Music New York, and Harlem Week. We look forward to another year of jamming in Harlem and the inspiration that music brings to our youth.

-Mary Newcomb