Graham Windham Fall 2010-Winter 2011 Newsletter
The Bengals, alumni, Robert Ferrari, adoption stories, going from good to great, and more!
record Volume 38 Fall 2010/Winter 2011 The Graham Windham Serving Children, Supporting Families, and Strengthening Communities Since 1806. Graham School teens take responsibility for themselves, their peers and their school. Story on Page 4 Members of The Graham Schoolâ€™s Bengals Program Photo: Julie Beers Getting All the Way There President & CEO Poul Jensen on good to great. Page 2 The Bengals: Leading by Example A Happy Home and a Bright Future Spotlight on Robert V. Ferrari, Esq. At last, Melvin Ramirez finds a loving permanent home. Our Trustee Emeritus reflects on 27 years of service. Page 3 Page 9 letter from the president Getting All the Way There A message from Poul Jensen, graham windham president & ceo I think it was Voltaire who first opined that we should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Sounds like solid advice to me, most of the time. Certainly, good enough is usually just that...good enough. But always? What about child welfare? Here at Graham Windham, for example, we decide if it is safe for abused children to return to their families...or not. We decide if children get adopted, and by whom. We decide if children get the services they need and the opportunities they deserve, including the benefits of a first-rate education. That’s a very tall order. Can we really subscribe to a standard less than service excellence? Would we for our own children? I don’t think so. Should we for the children we serve? No, we should not. The question then becomes, how do we get to true service excellence for the children and families we serve? The answer, of course, is complex, but there are a few non-negotiables. First off, we must fully accept the challenge. Graham Windham is not entitled to exist simply because it already exists. Institutional self-perpetuation — even, as in our case, a heralded 204 year history of uninterrupted service to New York’s neediest children and families — does not guarantee our place in what has become a highly competitive service arena marked by scarce resources. Recognizing as we do that the consequences of our interventions on the children and families we serve are staggering, our goal must extend beyond mere organizational survival and regulatory compliance to embrace the goal of building an agency that makes such a distinctive service impact — and to make that impact with such superior performance — that we can say with absolute sincerity that we are doing all we can to ensure mission fulfillment...that every child we serve has a strong, loving, permanent family, and the opportunities and preparation to succeed in school and life. Secondly, we need to create the organizational capacity to do our jobs well. There are a lot of pieces to organizational capacity, but nothing is more important than leadership. We have a sophisticated, supportive and hands-on Board of Trustees and a first-rate management team, and we are fully aligned in our commitment to service excellence. Moreover, 2 THE GRAHAM WINDHAM RECORD talent and commitment runs deep. Graham Windham staff are skilled, motivated, fully engaged and interconnected, with a synergy that increasingly drives our efforts. Of course, resources are also a critical factor. We can’t get the job done well if we don’t have the dollars to fund the difference between good enough and excellence. We have the best fiscal team in the business, and a no-nonsense Finance Committee with a very low tolerance for ambiguity and wishful thinking. Successive independent audits have confirmed our excellence. But, we remain too dependent on the condition of City and State budgets, which means that life for us will be financially challenging for years to come. Service excellence comes with a price tag. We have to find new ways to raise private dollars. We’re going to need help. Thirdly, we have to drive performance... relentlessly. Bold and audacious performance goals have to be matched by bold and audacious action plans designed, as the Chair of our Board’s Program Performance Committee likes to put it, to get us “all the way there.” There is good news on this front. Our goals are ambitious and thoughtfully constructed and our action plans are current, precise and measurable. Our unique and carefully calibrated merit system has staff leaning forward and we conduct our day-to-day business activities through strong social contracts that explicitly emphasize mission, and the responsibility of all stakeholders to engage in a sustained, disciplined effort to help our clients succeed. The power of our intentions, meritocracy, organizational culture and dynamics serve as “force multipliers”, propelling us onward and upward. We mean business. We also have to resist the temptation to erect walls, both externally and internally. In fact, we need to tear walls down, especially between “contract agencies” like ourselves and government funders like the Administration for Children’s Services. These relationships, even during “normal” times, are often marked by distrust and fear that the “other” does not have honest intentions. During times of intense change, however, these kinds of negative sentiments tend to wholly define the relationship, with dialogue and collaboration replaced by stereotyping and finger pointing. The result can be disastrous. Internally, we need to recognize the commonalities and interdependencies among all our program divisions and units and manage ourselves as an integrated system of common challenges and highly interrelated solutions. Lastly, we need heart...lots and lots of heart. With efficiency and performance measurement bred into our bones, we must never allow ourselves to lose sight of what life is like at street level. What goes on around us in our work should also go on inside us. I am reminded of a story a close friend quoted to me recently. Many years ago, a boyhood buddy of his, now a well-regarded classical pianist, was “working on a Chopin Nocturne with his first piano teacher. After great effort, he had gotten the notes right, and some semblance of the mood of the piece, when his teacher said to him, ‘That’s very good, as good as it can be before you’ve had your heart broken.’ Years later, as a young adult going through the breakup of his first romance, he called his childhood teacher to tell her that he was now able — finally — to play the Chopin with the appropriate understanding.” For Graham Windham to reach its full potential, we not only need to master performance and its measurements, we also need to go inside ourselves and summon our experience, instincts, insights and heart - and trust the evidence of our own senses - so we don’t get boxed in by too narrow an allegiance to our squares, numbers and matrixes and fall prey to the aloofness of the impersonal. We will not succeed if we turn everything into our own purpose, even if that purpose is performance excellence. We are here for a reason, to serve the most vulnerable among us. We must always do that with grace and an open heart. Vulnerability, after all, is what we all have in common, and kindness is what opens us up to one another. Child welfare is, most of all, a very human service. FALL 2010/WINTER 2011 homecomings A Happy Home and a Bright New Future T o say Melvin Ramirez’s childhood was difficult is an understatement. Melvin grew up in an impoverished and dangerous neighborhood in Guatemala. After being abandoned by his birth parents, Melvin was sent to live with grandmother. However after seeing the negative effects the neighborhood was having on him, Melvin’s grandmother decided to send him to the United States. In search of new and better opportunities, Melvin left everything he knew to come to New York City. Initially he stayed with family friends but when they could no longer care for him, he was forced to enter the foster care system. He lived in numerous different homes but it was not until he was placed in the home of Ms. Ondina Duran that his life began to change for the better. He lived in numerous different homes but it was not until he was placed in the home of Ms. Ondina Duran that his life began to change for the better. Melvin Ramirez with his adoptive mother Ondina Duran 456 Happy Homecomings! As Graham Windham’s purpose is to ensure that every child we serve has a strong, loving permanent family, we are delighted to announce that over the past year, 51 of our children were adopted into loving homes and 405 of our children were reunited with their families. Thanks to our dedicated staff and congratulations to our children and their families! VOLUME 38 Melvin and Ms. Duran quickly developed a strong bond and connection. With the anchor of a permanent, loving and supportive home, Melvin was able to focus on his academic goals. Last June, he graduated from the High School for International Business and Finance and he is now enrolled in a specialized vocational program. Thanks to the hard work and perseverance of Graham Windham employees Tamara Delgado, Carol Thomas, Sofiya Rusakova and Lavern Harry, as well as the adoption attorney who is providing free legal services, Melvin finally has been adopted into a home where he feels happy, safe and loved. Now Melvin can focus on his future - a future that is brighter than ever before. THE GRAHAM WINDHAM RECORD 3 newsworthy A Child’s Best Friend T he Graham School has always strived to provide an alternative learning environment for students struggling in a traditional classroom setting. Recently, The Graham School partnered with the East Coast Assistance for Dogs (ECAD) Training program, also known as the ECADemy. Through the program, students learn vocational skills and career choices involving animal care, behavior management, volunteerism, education, and other related areas. Assistance Dogs, trained by Graham students, are matched with owners who require assistance with everyday physical tasks or could benefit from the added emotional support. ECAD Assistance Dogs are also starting to be trained to meet the special needs of returning war veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. The Graham School’s enthusiastic ECAD participants were even featured in ECAD’s Summer 2010 newsletter. Through their work with dogs, Graham students learned to set goals, build trust, and care for others. By assuming the roles of teachers and service providers, students were quick to develop patience, self control, and responsibility. Working with the dogs was transformative for many of the students and the success of the program will continue. The Graham School has begun a year-long collaboration with ECAD offering students afternoon and morning training classes. Students build confidence, dogs learn skills, and people with disabilities can now be independent, all thanks to the ECADemy at Graham. Bonding with the dogs 4 THE GRAHAM WINDHAM RECORD The Bengals T he Bengals Youth Leadership Program (the Bengals) at The Graham School is a unique and exciting program that encourages Graham youth to mentor their peers and provide good leadership examples. The program encourages positive peer interaction and good behavior among a population of students who have painful histories. The Bengals program is a powerful support system for campus life because students learn new skills and most importantly, learn from each other. All new admissions to the school immediately take the first four Bengal training workshops after which many eagerly apply to continue the program and officially become a Bengal. Once accepted, Bengals receive conflict resolution and leadership The Bengals Program is a powerful support system because students learn new skills and most importantly, learn from each other. development training to help them mentor and tutor their peers more effectively. They learn to handle their own negative emotions so they can then support others. The sixty teenagers in the program (accepted based on academic performance and constructive social behavior) are rewarded with numerous benefits and privileges throughout the school year. Upon completion of their initial leadership training, they receive jackets and sportswear with the Bengals’ emblem, not only increasing their visibility on campus, but also recognizing their commitment to the community. The Graham School staff has seen a noticeable positive change in behavior, especially among young students, thanks to the dedicated mentoring by the Bengals. As the success of the program continues, The Bengals look to expand beyond The Graham School to the agency's family-based and community based programs. First Annual Social Studies Olympics S tudents from both the Middle and High School of the Greenburgh Graham Union Free School District (UFSD) competed vigorously and enthusiastically in the First Annual Social Studies Olympics during the spring of 2010. After having prepared furiously with their team-mates, teachers and cottage staff, students from all twelve residential cottages, as well as day students from the High School, eagerly showed off their skills in a series of social studies com- ‘Olympians’ look over their task petitions, all based on the NY State exams. With questions covering everything from the Declaration of Independence to the Great Depression, and from the Mesopotamians to the Enlightenment, students answered tough questions to gain points. Over several months, students’ studying was at an all time high so that they could win the competition and the highly sought-after first choice of the prizes — the most popular of which seemed to be the trip to Six Flags Great Adventure. The summer state exam resulted in a 100% pass rate, and a residential school and campus that continue to promote a culture of learning. FALL 2010/WINTER 2011 newsworthy Thousands of Books for Our Kids “H elping children excel in school is essential to our mission,” says President and CEO Poul Jensen. “We have a strong belief in the power of education, and in particular, literacy, as a primary force for individual and collective progress — educational success is one of the most effective counterbalances to the abuse, neglect and separation our youth have experienced.” To further this goal, Graham Windham hosts seasonal book fairs where hundreds of our children are treated to free books and back to school supplies. Last summer, Graham Windham Educational Coordinators sponsored two Summer Book Fairs. This September, we hosted our second annual Back to School Fairs in both our Bronx and Brooklyn neighborhood offices thanks to the generosity of Trustee Barbara Marcus and donations from the Penguin Young Readers Group. More than 400 children and 200 families from our Family Permanency Planning Services and Family and Community Support Services divisions were in attendance to take advantage of valuable resources in their community. Children smile excitedly with their choices “Educational success is one of the most effective counterbalances to the abuse, neglect and separation our youth have experienced.” We extend a special thanks to the Education Committee of the Brooklyn Chapter of the NAACP for their generous donations. Also involved in helping to make the events a reality — our many community partners including Advocates for Children, The Brooklyn Public Library, The New York Public Library Tremont Branch, The Girl Scouts of Greater New York, The MHA of NYC Bronx Adolescent Skills Center, The Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled, Inc., NYC Department of Education Office of Family Engagement and Advocacy, and Goddard Riverside’s OPTIONS Center for Educational and Career Choice. Thanks as well to our dedicated partner organizations and our numerous volunteers who invested their time and energy to help make these events tremendously successful. A girl picks her books Thanks to Books for Kids, Our Harlem Child Care Center Has a Brand New Library J Deputy Chancellor Taveras reads to the kids at the Books for Kids event VOLUME 38 une 9th 2010 was a great day to be a kid at our Harlem Child Care Center. Thousands of books and a marvelous new space made up the new library, built throught the generosity of the Books for Kids Organization in collaboration with comedian Tina Fey, Hachette Book Group, and William Morris Endeavor Inc. Books for Kids creates and furnishes libraries within existing children’s centers. The organization donates books and partners with literacy programs to develop the critical early foundation and skills which young children need to be successful in life. The library at the Harlem Child Care Center has enabled our children to discover the world of books and given them a beautiful space where reading is fun! The opening event featured a visit from Santiago Taveras, Deputy Chancellor from the Division of Community Engagement, who couldn’t wait to read to the kids. A special appearance from Tina Fey herself helped make the event a success for everyone, and especially for our kids. Thank you to Books for Kids! THE GRAHAM WINDHAM RECORD 5 newsworthy Air and Sea Summer Adventures A super big thank you to Bloomberg for donating four fun-filled field trips to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum and the New York Aquarium to 200 kids from our Hunts Point Beacon. Our children were fascinated to learn about the “top-secret” Growler submarine, the supersonic Concorde, and the Gemini II space capsule while aboard the Intrepid and to see rare black-footed penguins, tomato frogs, loggerhead sea turtles, and sand tiger sharks at the Aquarium. According to Michelle James, Director at Hunts Point, “This was truly an experience of a lifetime!” Lights Camera Action! T wo ground-breaking rockin’ performances, five original songs, four inspiring dance routines, and one new guitar were the highlights at the finale performance for this season’s Road Recovery program at The Graham School. The Road Recovery program brings entertainment industry professionals whose lives have been personally affected by addiction or adversity to the campus to share their knowledge and experience with current Graham students. Through ARTS (A Road to Success) activities, our Road Recovery participants learn to show care and compassion for one another through original music scores, choreography, and original spoken word. The creativity and positive environment created by the program allows students and mentors to have open interactive discussions about addiction, adversity, and most importantly, recovery. Together, we nurture and develop a culture of caring that impacts our entire campus. One of Graham's newest rockstars Best of Bloomberg thank you banner Take Me Out to the Ball Game! Graham Windham Selected to Pilot ACS’s Youth Financial Empowerment Program A s part of NYC Administration of Children Services’ system-wide effort to address the issue of youth aging out of foster care, Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner John Mattingly announced the launch of a unique financial literacy and savings program called Youth Financial Empowerment (YFE). Graham Windham’s Preparing Youth for Adulthood (PYA) Division was honored to be selected last year by ACS to pilot the program that teaches our youth essential financial literacy skills and also provides matching funds of up to $2,000 in Individual Development Accounts. These savings can be applied to secure and maintain stable housing, to pursue educational opportunities, and to obtain vocational training. We are pleased to report that under the leadership of our Youth Development Coordinator Michelle Richards, our YFE pilot was such a success that it was featured in ACS’s Division of Quality Assurance What’s Working Summer 2010 Newsletter. Graham Windham Hosts Russian Delegation Root root root for the home team T hanks to Alex Rappaport, Marketing Assistant at the New York Mets, for donating 100 tickets to Graham Windham so our kids and families could cheer on the Mets at Citi Field last month. Even though the Phillies won the game, everyone had a ball! 6 THE GRAHAM WINDHAM RECORD O n September 29, 2010, Graham Windham FPPS’s Brooklyn office hosted a delegation of Russian ministerial, parliamentary, and non-profit sector officials interested in learning about the US foster care and adoption system. The group was visiting the United States as guests of the United States Department of State International Visitors Program. FPPS’s Sofiya Rusakova gave a tour of the Brooklyn facility, introduced the group to our dedicated staff, and for three hours, fielded questions on social services and medical care for US foster children, as well as questions on the adoption process. Graham Windham FPPS was proud and honored to receive this opportunity to represent our nation’s foster care system. FALL 2010/WINTER 2011 newsworthy 1806 founders Mrs. Divie Bethune Mrs. Alexander Hamilton Mrs. John Graham Mrs. Nicholas Hoffman honorary trustees Arthur Ashe † Wynton Marsalis Joan Ganz Cooney Jim Henson † Oscar de la Renta board of directors Georgia Wall chairman R. Kenneth Bryant Heather McVeigh Henry J. Carnage Pamela C. Minetti John L. Cecil Carmen Paolercio James R. Craigie Salim Ramji Sally E. Durdan Mark Rufeh Eric Gerster Andy Saperstein Michael Golden John Sargent Shamika Lee Harriet Savage Jennifer Mackesy Melissa M. Thomson Andrew Makk Keith Winn Barbara Marcus New Appointments Jess Dannhauser: Senior Vice President for Program Performance and Planning “I am extremely pleased with this appointment,” said Poul Jensen, President and CEO. “Frankly, I think it benefits the entire New York child welfare community.” Jess Dannhauser is Graham Windham’s new Senior Vice President for Program Performance and Planning. Mr. Dannhauser came to Graham Windham from the Administration for Children’s Services where he had been serving as the Associate Commissioner for Performance Measurement, Monitoring and Improvement. As Associate Commissioner, Mr. Dannhauser was in charge of ACS’s performance measurement and consultation system which aims to drive performance improvements in all of New York City’s non-profit child welfare agencies. He has extensive experience in New York City agencies as the former Chief of Staff for Commissioner John Mattingly and the Special Assistant to now Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs when she was Commissioner at the Department of Homeless Services. Mr. Dannhauser received his Masters of Social Work from the University of California, Berkeley and his BA in Psychology from Duke University. Poul Jensen president & ceo trustees emeriti Michael Ainslie John C. Hanson Suzanne Ainslie Elizabeth Sargent Suzanne Bales Diane Schlinkert Barbara Carr Leo Schlinkert Richard DeMartini Richard Stewart Robert Ferrari Sandra Trim-DaCosta James Gorman H. M. Baird Voorhis honorees Michael Ainslie Arthur Ashe † Mrs. Vincent Astor † Suzy Bales Dr. T. Berry Brazelton Ruby Bridges Joan Ganz Cooney Oscar de la Renta Michael Golden James Gorman Donna Hanover VOLUME 38 Marian Sulzberger Heiskell Jim Henson † Charlayne Hunter-Gault Judith Jamison Chancellor Joel I. Klein Kenneth Lewis Wynton Marsalis Cokie Roberts John Sargent Maurice Sendak Katherine Stoehr: Vice President for Family Permanency Planning Services “K atie has a deep knowledge of child welfare practice, ACS’ reform initiatives and the dynamics of organizational change,” said Poul Jensen, President and CEO. “We are very pleased that she will be bringing her expertise and commitment to serving children and families to Graham Windham.” Katherine Stoehr, the new Vice President for Family Permanency Planning Services at Graham Windham, oversees the agency’s family foster care and adoption services. Ms. Stoehr came to Graham Windham from the Administration for Children’s Services where she served as the Assistant Commissioner for Program Policy and Development in the Division of Child Protection. Before that, she served as a Special Advisor to Commissioner John Mattingly focusing on the implementation of major child welfare initiatives and before that as Interim Director of the ACS Office of Placement. Previously, Ms. Stoehr served as Coordinator of Quality, Evaluation and Improvement at Catholic Guardian Society and as Director of Quality Assurance at the Association to Benefit Children. Ms. Stoehr earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a B.A. in Politics and Philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh. THE GRAHAM WINDHAM RECORD 7 spotlight Thomas Haines From Graham to a Productive Career D r. Thomas Haines, or Tom, is a renowned biochemist at Rockefeller University with an illustrious career. Yet Tom came from very humble beginnings. From the late 1930’s to the mid 1940’s he was a student at The Graham School in Hastings on Hudson. Tom came to Graham when he was only four years old and left when he was fourteen. Recently he went back to visit the school and spoke about his experiences. He talked about the Dunn cottage where he lived, the corn field behind the cottages, and the chicken coups further down the hill. He talked about gathering in the living room to do homework in the evenings and about the Christmas tree every winter. However, Tom says that the most important thing he learned at The Graham School was a strong work ethic. The Graham School in the 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s was almost completely self-sufficient and much of the work was done by the students themselves. The students were paid for their efforts but only about a dollar and a half a month. Boys and girls were apprenticed to professionals and required to learn cooking, bread making, gardening, plumbing, carpentry, and electrical work, among other tasks. Tom, at one time or another, had responsibilities in many aspects of the maintenance of the school. For an entire year, Tom was in charge of killing the chickens from the chicken coup for the Sunday dinners. When he was nine or ten, he was responsible for shoveling coal for the hot water and later the furnace that heated his cottage. Tom describes these tasks as some of the most important lessons of his life. This summer in the lunchroom at The Graham School, Tom shook hands with current students; students who he hopes will be inspired by his life path. He wants to leave them with a message of hope but also of realistic expectations. “Happiness,” Tom explained, “isn’t a goal, it isn’t something you go for, it’s an experience that has to do with your relationship to your environment and how you think about yourself…once you learn that, you have a lot more control over your life.” The work ethic that Tom Haines first learned at The Graham School is what drove him to move out of the Graham residences, to go to the local Hastings High School, and then to New York’s City College, to graduate school, and eventually into a career in which he has excelled and that he loves. Now Tom does research in Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Cell Biology at Rockefeller. He established the Sophie Davis/CUNY Medical School to help under-privileged minority students get an MD, and he recently honored his past with a generous gift to Graham Windham. No matter his many accomplishments, he is the same Tom that went to The Graham School so many years ago, humorous, good-natured, whip-smart, and committed to learning and helping others. 8 THE GRAHAM WINDHAM RECORD Dr. Tom Haines, B.S., M.S. The City College of CUNY, Ph.D. Rutgers University, at work in his laboratory “Happiness isn’t a goal, it isn’t something you go for, it’s an experience that has to do with your relationship to your environment and how you think about yourself.” – thomas haines FALL 2010/WINTER 2011 spotlight Trustee Emeritus: Robert V. Ferrari, esq 27 Years of Distinguished Service “Smart, engaged, consistent, persistent, reliable, logical, knowledgeable, exacting—and totally committed to Graham Windham and its mission—Bob Ferrari was the consummate Board member, who always, and I mean always, modeled good governance and constructive partnering with management. He enriched the agency, and he enriched me.” – Poul Jensen, Graham Windham’s President & CEO. F Robert V. Ferrari The committed father of five and grandfather of nine, Robert Ferrari knows first hand what it is like to raise and care for children. VOLUME 38 or more than a quarter century, Robert Ferrari has served on Graham Windham’s Board of Directors with distinction. Even so, Mr. Ferrari recently stated that, “I feel I got a lot more out of [serving on the Board]” than I contributed… I could not have anticipated the sense of reward I would get out of joining the Graham Windham community.” Particularly moving to Mr. Ferrari was the opportunity to see children emerge from “broken homes,” attend college, and “make lives for themselves.” Mr. Ferrari’s sense of compassion has inspired him to give back to the organization in a variety of ways. As a member first of the Finance Committee and then a one-person law committee, Mr. Ferrari advised Graham Windham on legal and real estate matters pro bono and served as the Parliamentarian. He worked on lease negotiations, including 33 Irving Place and the Greenburgh-Graham Union Free School District; the sale of land bordering the Hastings campus; selling a Group Home; and tax exemptions for property. Moreover, in connection with the Capital Campaign of the early 1990’s, he served on the Committee to select an architect and contractors for the renovation of The Graham School in Hastings on Hudson. Mr. Ferrari is particularly proud of having served on the Interview Committee which selected Poul Jensen as President and CEO in 1997. Looking back on his twenty-seven years on the Board, Mr. Ferrari specifically commented on Graham Windham’s Literacy and Education initiative and programs, saying that “it was one of the best things Mr. Jensen has contributed to Graham Windham.” Mr. Ferrari has been an invaluable support to Graham Windham and his caring nature stems from his dedication to his own family. The committed father of five and grandfather of nine, Robert Ferrari knows first hand what it is like to raise and care for children. His loving devotion to his own family is part of what makes his input at Graham Windham so worthwhile. Mr. Ferrari is a graduate of the City College of New York and New York University School of Law. He specialized in Real Estate Law, the food service and hotel industries, and licensing. Although he is retiring form the Board, he told Mr. Jensen and CFO Frank Spain that he would, “continue to provide his pro bono legal services as long as he was active.” In recognition of his dedication to the organization, Mr. Ferrari received the Chairman’s Victory Award in 1999 that was presented to him by then Chairman, James Gorman. More than a decade later, Graham Windham continues to honor Mr. Ferrari and remains grateful for his support and commitment. At the Annual Meeting in June, the Board thanked him for his 27 years of outstanding service on behalf of Graham Windham’s children and families and unanimously voted him Trustee Emeritus. THE GRAHAM WINDHAM RECORD 9 from the archives The Heart of Graham Windham research compiled by graham windham’s historian/archivist Phyllis Barr. “Doings Stunts on the Bars,” The Graham School, circa 1900 “The most precious thing you can give a child is yourself.” —Dr. Rudolph R. Reeder, Superintendent 1900–1920. F rom its very inception in 1806, “care” has been at the heart and core of the Graham Windham philosophy. When the Orphan Asylum Society, as Graham Windham used to be called, was first founded by Isabella Graham and Elizabeth Hamilton, among others, the grounding principle was to protect, support, and care for otherwise destitute orphans. As it expanded to include children other than orphans, the organization changed names and locations, until, in 1977, it merged with Windham Child Care to form Graham Windham. No matter how much Graham Windham evolves throughout the years, “caring” as well as protecting and nurturing New York’s most vulnerable children will remain the highest priority. The organization is now 204 years old and located in various sites and buildings across New York City and Westchester with many people dedicated to carrying out its mission. “Care” is demonstrated time and again in the organization’s numerous records and photographs (the Minutes of the Board/Trustee Meetings to name one) over the years. To share a few examples: In the 1806 meeting, the board decided that all the organization’s facilities needed regular reviewing in order to suggest “alterations and improvements as… conceive[d] beneficial to the future welfare of the Institution.” In 1812 all children were required to be seen by a physician before entering what was still known as the Orphan Asylum Society. There are regular references in the archives to doctors, dentists, and nurses throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Graham Windham, from the start, was dedicated to the physical health and wellbeing of its children and quickly the emotional wellbeing as well. Dr. Reeder, the Superintendent of the Orphan Asylum Society from 1900 to 1920, believed in developing “a noble spirit of independence and self-reliance” in every child. Under Dr. Reeder’s leadership, selfreliance became a cornerstone of the Graham Windham mission. In his writings, Dr. Reeder described everything from ethics to the right diet. He chronicled and underlined the importance of recreation and the value of hard work; he wrote about moral training, religious instruction, and the spirit of motivation. He is particularly inspiring in his view on education: the adult mentors in a child’s life, namely parents and teachers, need to develop in a child the proper balance of “play, work, and school—as will leave no room for waste[d] time… The importance of freedom, spontaneity and richness in the play life of the child can scarcely be overestimated.” Dr. Reeder believed in helping children learn to work hard and then to play hard; Graham Windham continues to carry out his message. As a result of the emphasis by the organization, the mission of caring has also been fostered in the children themselves. Over the years, students were encouraged to and did raise money to send to places as varied as Pennsylvania, India, and Rwanda. The children have learned to care for themselves on their road to self-sufficiency and as a result, they have learned to care for others. Thus, Graham Windham’s philosophy of caring has held true over the years and will continue to inspire everyone here for years to come. Learn more about Graham Windham’s history at Graham-Windham.org 1 The mission statements states, “the first object of the Society being to provide shelter for such little ones as should from this time fall under its care.” 2 In 1998, the Hastings-on-Hudson Campus, to which the OAS had moved in 1902, returned to the name The Graham School (first used in 1929) to reflect its expansion from a residential school to its current incarnation: a treatment center and school with expanded programs and services committed to supporting and educating youth with emotional or learning disabilities. 3 Dr. Reeder’s 1909 book How Two Hundred Children Live and Learn eloquently detailed all of his (and by extension Graham Windham’s) philosophies. The quotes listed are from this book. 4 The money raised was sent to help the victims of the Johnstown Flood that devastated Johnstown PA on May 31st, 1889. 5 One young man Thomas Dickenson, who was born deaf and dumb, learned to read and write through the efforts of dedicated Graham Windham staff. His gratitude was so great that he dedicated the remainder of his life (and a significant amount of his hard earned salary) to Graham Windham. The story of the young man was detailed in the 1863 Annual Report. 10 THE GRAHAM WINDHAM RECORD FALL 2010/WINTER 2011 happenings Graham Windham’s Leadership Council Gala Celebration at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Temple Of Dendur Raises $850,000 “Foster Care can only be justified if it is done well—and lovingly — as a means to an end...with that end being a permanent family home,” stated Graham Windham’s President and CEO, Poul Jensen, emphatically during his keynote address before an audience of over 240 guests at The Leadership Council Gala Celebration held on April 7th in The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Temple of Dendur. “Graham Windham is on a mission... to find good permanent families for all its foster children — even troubled older teens — and to do its part to reduce those indefensible lengths of stay and heart-wrenching lateral moves from one foster home to another that currently tarnish the entire foster care system.” In testament to Graham Windham’s unwavering commitment to find a safe and loving permanent home for each child in care, Shaiqwaan Brown served as the evening’s student guest speaker. Through Graham Windham’s Family Permanency Planning Services, Mr. Brown and his two brothers Daiqwaan Brown and Laiqwaan Perry, who spent years in the foster care system before coming to Graham Windham, were recently adopted by their biological sister Teresa Perry. Currently a sophomore at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, Mr. Brown delivered an inspiring poem he had written for the occasion entitled, “Back Then and Now,” describing how his and his brothers’ lives had been transformed since being adopted and reunited as a family. Mr. Brown then expressed his sincere gratitude to Commissioner John Mattlingly and Graham Windham’s Board of Directors and staff for finally and permanently reuniting his family. Turning to his sister Teresa, Mr. Brown publically thanked her for everything she had done to create a loving family home and then presented her with a bouquet of red roses, all of which drew tears, a huge hug, and a standing ovation from the audience. Alan Rappaport, Georgia Wall* Board Chair, and Jennifer and Jake Hyde, Jennifer* and Scott Mackesy Jill Rappaport Shaiqwaan Brown and Teresa Perry * Graham Windham Trustee Photos by Julie Beers. Clayton Pope, Leah Gogel, Jennifer Merrill, Rachel Gogel, Michael Gogel, Allen Merrill, Colleen Gurda, Steven Gogel With grateful appreciation to The Leadership Council for generously underwriting this event. The Temple of Dendur VOLUME 38 Celia, Rachel and John Cecil* Michael* and Anne Golden, Craig and Janice Bernhardt THE GRAHAM WINDHAM RECORD 11 33 Irving Place, Floor 7 New York, NY 10003 tel 212.529.6445 www.Graham-Windham.org record The Graham Windham Serving Children · Supporting Families · Strengthening Communities Volume 38 record Graham Windham Windham The Graham The Fall 2010/Winter 2011 Serving Children, Supporting Families, and Strengthening Communities since 1806. 2011 GRAHAM SCHOOL ALUMNI REUNION! SAVE the DATE Graham Windham Gala Thursday, April 7th, 2011 All alums are cordially invited to join us next year at our Alumni Reunion Bash. Please send us an email or give us a call so we can send you a special invitation! GrahamSchoolAlumni@graham-windham.org or call 212.529.6445 ext.316 Rose Center for Earth and Space A newsletter of Graham Windham 33 Irving Place, Floor 7 · New York, NY 10003-2385 · 212.529.6445 · www.graham-windham.org Cocktails, Gallery Tours Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth Editor-In-Chief : Sandra April Assistant Editor: Sarah Goldberg Design: MSDS / ms-ds.com Printing: Todd Allan American Museum of Natural History Dinner Cullman Hall of the Universe For more information, call 212 529 6445 ext. 349 Printed on recycled paper