The Children's Aid Blog

Have You Heard of The Children’s Aid Society in New York?

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Children’s Aid hit the streets of New York City to find out what New Yorkers really knew about The Children’s Aid Society.

In this new video, called Have You Heard of the Children’s Aid Society in New York?, we ran into a variety of New Yorkers where some knew the name and others weren’t sure, so in light of that, we are delighted to present our 150 year old organization to you where our long-term goal is to support the underserved children of New York City, from birth to young adulthood.

One New York City father in the video said it best: “I love my kids very much and… if something happened to me…it’s nice to know that there are organizations out there (like The Children’s Aid Society) who can really step up and help people in need.”

For more information on our programs and services, go to our website or call us at (212) 949-4800. Remember, you can make a difference.

Mixing Art and Technology, and Finding Empowerment

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After struggling in high school, Nazaury Delgado, 19, was accepted to the Fashion Institute of Technology on a full scholarship (click for more photos)

After struggling in high school, Nazaury Delgado, 19, was accepted to the Fashion Institute of Technology on a full scholarship (click for more photos)

The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund recently featured this Children’s Aid story, written by Jennifer Lee, about Nazaury Delgado’s struggle to change from likely high school drop-out to college student. Below is an excerpt from the original article:

In March Nazaury Delgado shyly showed his iPod Touch to an art teacher, flicking his finger across the images he had created with Photoshop on his home computer.

The teacher, Cornelius Van Wright, asked if he could print them out. After he had looked at them again, Mr. Van Wright hurriedly summoned the rest of the teachers at the Fred Dolan Art Academy, a Saturday arts program that works with at-risk teenagers in the Bronx.

“We couldn’t believe it,” said Neil Waldman, an illustrator who founded the arts program, and who was stunned by the carefully manipulated overlays of faces and colorful textures. “I almost fell on my face. The work was so remarkable.”

For years, Mr. Delgado, then a high school senior, had been considered a solid, if unremarkable, artist in the program — though one who had benefited from its discipline. At 11, he had found his father dying of a drug overdose in the bedroom. He fell in with the wrong circle of friends, had run-ins with the police and straddled the line of failing classes. He suffers from a learning disability that makes reading difficult.

But in his junior year, he had asked Mr. Waldman, “Is it too late for me?”

It wasn’t. If he focused on his art and schoolwork, he was told, he could graduate from high school and perhaps go to a community college.

“I decided to become a different person, change my attitude,” said Mr. Delgado, now 19.

But as the teachers looked at the images, they realized that Mr. Delgado should be applying to the top art schools in the nation. With just one week before the last round of applications were due at many schools, he and his teachers scrambled to get the full slate of requirements done: a self-portrait, a three-dimensional model, a logo and an artistic interpretation of the quotation “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

And they also included a portfolio of his computer-manipulated pieces. While the art academy assignments had left him uninspired, the flexibility of Photoshop empowered Mr. Delgado. Often working through the night, he transformed humdrum photos taken with a budget camera into gripping, rippling portraits using transparencies, overlays and gradients.

“There are some people who have an innate ability to create spectacle, something innate that you can’t teach,” Mr. Waldman said.

The news came in June: Mr. Delgado had been accepted to the Fashion Institute of Technology on a full scholarship.

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 Michelle V. Agins for The New York Times

The Children’s Aid Society: Helping Consumers Get a Hold of Their Credit

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image016Most of us use credit as an ordinary part of our financial life; however, excessive credit use can cause turmoil for every family which means it is critical to understand how credit works and impacts our lives. With the hidden fees and expenses in the fine print, borrowing money can be a complicated process, negatively impacting your Credit Rating.

The Children’s Aid Society knows how difficult it is to manage your credit which is why we have made this an important part of our advocacy effort. Understanding credit is the first step in attaining financial freedom and flexibility.

According to the Federal Reserve, levels of consumer credit debt in the United States have grown steadily over the last several years. Many consumers are drowning in debt, and many credit cards companies are raising fees, responding to record defaults and new regulations for 2010. Interest rates and fees are impacting a record number of consumers. By providing information to help understand their credit history, Children’s Aid encourages families to earn about important topics such as:

  • Do’s and Don’ts of Plastic
  • Getting a Copy of Your Credit Report
  • Forms of Credit
  • Interest Rates and Charges
  • Over-Extended or Out-of Control Credit

With the financial education provided by Children’s Aid, families can get the information and assistance needed to understand these credit issues that impact their future solvency. With in-depth information and advocacy publications, in both English and Spanish, individuals and families learn to build a stronger future!

East Harlem Head Start Program Proudly Marches in the Three Kings Parade!

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For the fourth year in a row, the East Harlem Head Start program proudly marched in the city’s Three King’s Parade.

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The event, while always a chilly one, is a favorite among the children and families. The parade, coordinated by El Museo del Barrio, has everything  needed to celebrate the special holiday: music, floats, special honorary kings, and even camels!

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The Head Start families did a lot to prepare for the big day. Parents and children created crowns to wear and designed signs to carry. image006 The teachers read books about the day’s traditions. A representative from El Museo even came to the Center to give a presentation on the history of Three Kings Day. image008 As always, it was an honor for everyone to participate in such a special community event.

A Head Start on TV Careers, With the Garden as a Lab

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Moses McRae and Jazmyn Benjamin, both 15, were at Madison Square Garden, where workers, officials and athletes served as interview subjects and mentors to the students.

The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund recently featured this Children’s Aid story, written by Vincent M. Mallozzi, about Moses McRae and Jazmyn Benjamin and their recent opportunity to interview workers, officials and athletes at Madison Square Garden. Below is an excerpt from the original article.

Last month at Madison Square Garden, Moses McRae, 15, conducted an interview with Danilo Gallinari of the Knicks:

“Who do you think are the toughest opponents in the league?” Moses asked Mr. Gallinari, a 6-foot-10-inch forward, shortly before a game against the Atlanta Hawks.

“There are many tough opponents,” Mr. Gallinari said. “But I would have to say that Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are two of the toughest.”

Moses, a sophomore at the High School for Environmental Studies in Manhattan, is studying television production — but not in high school. He is one of 10 children from low-income communities who are taking part in Hope Leadership Academy, which is run by the Children’s Aid Society, one of the seven agencies supported by The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund.

“My interview strategy was to memorize as many questions as possible and to write some key words down on paper to help me remember questions I might have forgotten to ask,” Moses said after the interview, which he conducted along with Jessica Gooden, 15, a student at Frederick Douglass Academy II in Harlem, where she lives.

Since 2007, Hope Leadership Academy has worked with the Garden of Dreams Foundation to form the MSG Classroom program, which teaches children about jobs in television, including announcing, producing, directing and creating graphics.

The students use Madison Square Garden as their laboratory, and Garden employees and officials, as well as athletes — from the Knicks, the Rangers, the Liberty, MSG Entertainment and the music channel Fuse — serve as interview subjects and mentors.

“This has been an extremely successful partnership,” said Michael Roberts, assistant division director for adolescent services at the Children’s Aid Society. “This is a very unique program, because it is not just about giving something to a child to help out in an immediate crisis, but these are real-world skills these children are learning, skills that will help them find jobs in the future.”

Read full article…

To learn how you can make a difference, 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 Earl Wilson for The New York Times

Children’s Aid Early Childhood Department gets Ooey Gooey with a Workshop that Refreshes and Invigorates Children’s Aid teachers!

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On Monday January 4th, The Children’s Aid Society’s Early Childhood department sponsored an all-day division-wide professional development workshop for its teachers to kick off the 2010 year. Lisa Murphy, better known as the Ooey Gooey Lady, came to The Philip Coltoff Center at Greenwich Village to talk to a group of over 120 CAS early childhood educators from across 10 centers about strategies for incorporating science and mathematics into their curriculum.

Her workshop titled Fizzle, Bubble Pop & Wow, provided ideas for simple science experiments for young children. For example, teachers learned how to create mini-explosions and different materials using everyday household ingredients such as baking soda and vinegar. Teachers came away from the workshop refreshed and invigorated for the New Year.

Many thanks to Ooey Gooey for joining us!

Margaret Caspe, The Children’s Aid Society in New York

Engineers distribute toys for Three Kings Day in East Harlem

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Photo Courtesy of Ben RussellOn Wednesday, January 6th, the Hispanic community celebrated Three Kings Day. No one who takes this celebration more seriously than the children and families at The Children’s Aid Society’s East Harlem Center.

Seventy-five children and their families took part in the evening of dinner, dancing and art. Keeping with the theme of the day, children decorated crowns with glitter and jewels. Since camels were the preferred method of transportation for the three wise men, many in attendance constructed and decorated paper camels.

The highlight of the evening came when toys were given to the children by the New York Chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. Ten members, including the Chapter’s President Edward Montenegro (pictured), joined the evening's festivities and, thanks to the toys, quickly became the most popular people in the room. Almost as soon as the gifts were in the children’s hands, the engineers were fast at work helping the little ones assemble their new toys. Everyone had a wonderful time; A future engineer may have been born that evening too!

Lifting a Girl and Her Ailing Grandmother

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The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund recently featured this Children’s Aid story about Maria Cruz de Leon and how Children’s Aid helped improve her reading. Below is an excerpt from the original article by Daniel Slotnik.

The speakers behind the green sofa and love seat in the sunny living room of Rosa Cruz’s Washington Heights apartment were silent as Ms. Cruz’s 10-year-old granddaughter, Maria Cruz de Leon, shyly danced.

Maria said she loved dancing and singing, but she liked dancing more because “when I’m dancing, I just feel like I’m alone and everybody’s watching me.”

She said she had learned many of her steps at Alvin Ailey Dance Camp, a Children’s Aid Society summer camp that taught her “jazz, hip-hop, a lot of things I can’t even remember.”

Ms. Cruz beamed at Maria’s footwork, her smile belying the tough times they had shared.

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 Chester Higgins Jr. for The New York Times

Get Fit For Life with Kelsey Stevens at The Children's Aid Society's Dunlevy Milbank Center in Harlem

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Sports & Fitness for the whole family is available year round at The Children's Aid Society's Dunlevy Milbank Center in Harlem. There is something for everyone: female focused fitness and basketball programs and an inter-generational program that brings in children and their family members regardless of age. Want to manage some of the biggest names in Sports? Learn how the Sport Management program at Dunlevy Milbank is preparing its teens for such an exciting career.

Report on Childhood Obesity – Planning for a Healthier Tomorrow

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mapChildhood obesity is a serious health condition affecting over one-third of American children, from state to state.  A recent national report, “F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies are Failing in America 2009,” released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), issued a list of health reform recommendations to combat obesity. It emphasizes the importance of preventative medical care, such as nutrition counseling and screening for obesity-related illnesses like Type 2 Diabetes and high blood pressure. The Report also recommends increasing the number of programs available in communities and schools that make nutritional food readily available and affordable to children and their families.

According to the RWJF Report, the fight against child obesity cannot make a  nationwide impact without a concerted, national strategy implemented at the federal, state and municipal levels in collaboration with businesses, schools, and communities.

In another report, School Meals: Building Blocks for Healthy Children,” the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends that standards be set by the USDA for nutritious menu planning in schools, where fruit, vegetable and grains would pre-dominate, and sodium and saturated fats would be significantly reduced. The following quote is from Stefania Patinella, Director of Nutrition, The Children’s Aid Society:

The Children’s Aid Society applauds RWJF and the IOM for bringing attention to arguably the most urgent health issue facing our nation’s children. In 2003, Children’s Aid launched the Go!Healthy initiative to educate children and families about wellness and the joys of healthful cooking and eating.  Go Healthy includes: Go! Kids, a toddler food and fitness program; Go! Chefs, a hands-on cooking and nutrition education program for children and families; and Healthy Meals, our foodservice program that feeds approximately 1,500 children each day in the early childhood, after-school and teen programs. The Children’s Aid Healthy Meals program adheres to and exceeds the IMO recommendations. Children’s meals are made entirely from scratch from original recipes that are based on whole and fresh foods, especially fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Healthy Meals constitutes a profound change to the heat-and-serve model of foodservice, and to implement it successfully we developed a Cook’s Training program to educate cooks in healthful food preparation and basic nutrition. The program has made a profound impact across our community centers—not only in increasing the nutrients and taste of foods we serve, but in broadening the palates and eating behaviors of children, teachers and parents. As districts around the country turn their attention to better school food, Children’s Aid is leading the equally important effort to provide better food in early childhood programs (where children consume up to 80% of their daily calories) and after-school programs.