The Children's Aid Blog

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.

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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

Special Miracle Activities To Kick Off Your Holiday Shopping and Help Children in Need

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Thanksgiving has come and gone and that can only mean one thing: it is time to get those holiday shopping lists ready. Shop at over 75 participating stores on Sunday, December 6th as part of the Miracle on Madison Avenue, and your holiday gifts will go even further– 20% of the cost of your purchases will be donated to The Children’s Aid Society to support health services for children.

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Shopping at New York City’s best stores isn’t the only thing Miracle on Madison Avenue has to offer. You can also enjoy special Miracle Activities in the Hospitality Tent on Madison Avenue and 69th Street and the CBS-FM Radio Tent on Madison Avenue and 71st Street.

There will be delicious food tastings courtesy of The Carlyle Restaurant and giveaways courtesy of GLOWELLE® Beauty Supplement Drink,

M&M’S® Brand PREMIUMS Chocolate Candies and Mini Babybel® Cheese and more.

You can purchase unique holiday wreaths and holiday cards designed by kids. You can also enjoy the sights and sounds of live musical performances. Please see the schedule of performances below.

1 p.m.—The Pipes of Christmas, presented by the Clan Currie Society

2 p.m.—The Labor of Love Ensemble

3 p.m.—COBU, Inc.

4 p.m.—Figgy Puddynge

So join us for Miracle on Madison Avenue, Sunday, December 6th from 12-5 PM and shop to help New York City children!

Day of Giving with the Knicks

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jeffries On Thursday, November 19th, Jared Jeffries of the New York Knicks, The Garden of Dreams Foundation and The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. brightened the day of many families of The Children’s Aid Society.

Jeffries kicked off the Day of Giving with a visit to the Dunlevy Milbank Center’s daycare program and stocked the center’s food pantry which serves needy families year round. Baby food, car seats, strollers and other products were also handed out to families.

In the afternoon Jeffries along with a few teammates, the Knicks City Dancers and Irwin Simon, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hain Celestial, handed out 300 all-natural Plainville Farms® turkeys to families serviced by Children’s Aid for their Thanksgiving Day meals. knicks

As the adults gathered their turkeys and other items, the children danced and participated in basketball drills with Knicks volunteers. Occasionally, the 6’11” Knicks star Jeffries would give some of our littlest players a boost up to the net to score a slam dunk. “The Children’s Aid is a great thing and I always try to come out and support it whenever I am in New York…I think this is one of the best opportunities for kids to come out and spend time together, I am glad I can be a part of it,” said Jeffries.

Changing the Statistics on Teen Pregnancy

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The topic of teen pregnancy prevention has been around so long that I wonder if we sometimes lose site of the terrible statistics behind this issue:

86 adolescents become pregnant every hour of every day

50 adolescents give birth every hour of every day

24 adolescents terminate pregnancies every hour of every day

457 adolescents contract STDs every hour of every day

Teen pregnancy and its far reaching ramifications on the teens,  the children born to these teens, and society as a whole is very much in the sights of national funding priorities.  We are pleased to report that our Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program (APPP) has just been found to meet Top Tier evidence of effectiveness standards by The Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy.

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This is an initiative, being reviewed by Congress, which identifies social program models that meet these criteria as a way to identify which programs should receive federal funds. The Children’s Aid Carrera program could potentially receive public funding for the first time in its existence as a result of this finding, meaning the program could expand greatly in coming years.

We truly hope this assessment will broaden the reach of our APPP program which currently has replications in New York, Baltimore, District of Columbia, Atlanta, Toledo and Flint, and reduces pregnancies by 50% in the communities served.  That’s a much better statistic to work with.

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

Who’s Buzzing about Miracle?

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In late September, Tamara Tunie of Law & Order: SVU & event chair of the 2009 Miracle on Madison Avenue taped a segment for Citybuzz at the Madison Avenue store Max Mara, a Miracle participant.

Citybuzz is a program that gives you the “buzz” on restaurants, night life and shopping in New York City.  Tamara spoke about the miracle that will happen on Madison Avenue on December 6th when stores between 57th and 86th streets will donate 20% of their sales to the Health Services of The Children’s Aid Society. The program airs on television, select air and cruise lines and nearly 200 New York City hotels.

Join us for our 23rd Annual Miracle on Madison Avenue shopping extravaganza which will take place on Sunday, December 6, 2009 from 12-5 PM. Miracle merchants donate 20% of their sales for the day to Children’s Aid and we in return will provide vital health services to underserved children in New York City! Wouldn’t it be great if every gift you bought this holiday season went just a little farther?  Save the Date and Save a Child!

Needing Proof, She Had Indeed Embraced a New Home

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The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund has recently featured this Children’s Aid story about Carmen Cruz, a native of Cuba, and how she received help replacing her original citizenship papers.  Below is an excerpt from the original article.

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Carmen Cruz with Christian, 7, the son of a friend. The native of Cuba received help replacing her original citizenship papers.

It took all of three hours for Carmen Cruz to decide to leave her homeland behind in exchange for a new life in the United States.

It was June 1991, and Mrs. Cruz was visiting her daughter and granddaughter in New York, on her first trip out of her native Cuba. Her daughter had fled during the Mariel boatlift in 1980, and a decade later devoted a year’s efforts and extra earnings toward persuading the Cuban government to let her mother leave the country for a visit. To prepare, Mrs. Cruz, who had never flown before, took puddle-jumper flights between cities in Cuba, squeezing her eyes shut during every takeoff and landing, whispering to herself, “I’m going to die, I’m going to die.”

New York City’s bustle amazed her — “I loved the freedom,” she said.

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 Robert Stolarik for The New York Times

The Value of Philanthropy – Teaching Kids to Give Back

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Children are the world's most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.”

John F. Kennedy

Everything boils down to education. When we teach our children to value themselves, they learn to value others.  Teaching kids to care is the greatest gift that we can bestow upon them.  It helps them understand how to balance their own needs with the needs of those around them – family, friends, and teachers. CASFRI1120

There is nothing more gratifying than seeing kids helping kids: our young fifth graders, the All-Star Givers, at Washington Heights-based P.S. 152 raised over $1100 from spare change as part of Common Cents Penny Harvest, the largest child philanthropy program in the US. Our Teen Action Club collected almost 1,000 cans of food for local food pantries, winning them free airline tickets, which they used to fly to Las Vegas, not for a part to help another nonprofit clean up graffiti and clear our parking lots! They understand firsthand that they can make a difference when they work together. CASFRI11201

At The Children’s Aid Society , we strongly encourage our youth to engage in philanthropic efforts, through community school programs and teen initiatives, like our Bronx Youth Council, where middle and high school students actively participate in neighborhood issues that directly affect them.  Issues such as gang violence, mental health, education and hunger are some of the problems they face in their community.  Each student chooses a specific issue, makes it his or her own personal cause and, at the end of each year presents a recommended plan of action to peers, teachers and government officials alike.

“You give but little when you give of your possessions.

It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”

Kahlil Gibran

Philanthropy and community involvement builds character, fosters a strong sense of compassion, and transforms young people into just and benevolent leaders. And – it simply feels good to help others!  But our kids have already figured that one out!

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.