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Volume 1

Issue 2

Winter 2008

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C H I L D R E N

W I T H

PLAN Adoptive

Families Celebrate! NAC’s Post Legal Adoption Network (PLAN) held its first Adoptive Families

Day on Saturday, November 3, 2007, with NAC staff and 54 members of 14 families in attendance. Volunteers from Estée Lauder, New York Life and the Robin Hood Foundation helped to make the event a success. November is recognized as Adoption Awareness Month and the focus is adoption of children in foster care. Carol Hirsch, PLAN Director, welcomed families and acknowledged their remarkable achievements. The festivities included lunch, picture taking, two teenage magicians (one an adopted teen), games, activities and a movie created through the SPROUT Make-A-Movie program for people with developmental disabilities and mental retardation. Activities and celebrations for Adoption Awareness Month are kicked off with a Presidential Proclamation. Efforts at the national level certainly build awareness of adoption. However, participation in local events and activities by those of us directly connected to adoption can often be the most effective way to promote positive perceptions and draw attention to the tens of thousands of children in foster care who wait and hope for permanent families.

S P E C I A L

H E A LT H C A R E

N E E D S

A Helping Hand at the Right Moment NAC wishes to thank an anonymous foundation that offers small one-time cash grants to clients to rescue them from a precarious financial position and place them at a new level of independence. The following clients are among those who received this aid, which continues to transform their lives (the names have been changed).

When Leila was 9, she and her parents came to the US for political asylum. Five years as a political prisoner left her father Aram physically limited for work. While he focused on recertification as an accountant, her mother stayed home with Leila, who has severe scoliosis and spinal muscular atrophy. The family fell into debt as a result of Aram’s sporadic employment. NAC helped them access benefits to aid in paying bills. A grant of $2,000 paid off the remainder of the debt. Aram now has been employed as an accountant for several years. And although Leila uses a respirator, she is enrolled in online courses at Empire State College, with the aid of scholarships. (continued on Page 2)

AT R I G H T :

The First

Adoptive Families Day There is so much to celebrate!

Adoption News INSIDE THIS ISSUE

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Welcome, Adam L. Miller Letter from the Executive Director

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NACtivities

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Young Professionals Join NAC Save the Date! In the Community From the Board Artists’ Corner

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NAC’S Holiday Party

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NAC’S 25th Anniversary Gala

Grants at Work Thank you Donors

Congratulations to these NAC parents and children on their recent adoptions! Antoinette was adopted by Maria Greo on September 18, 2007. Fantasia was adopted by Marcia and Julio White on December 13, 2007. Neal and Elias were adopted by Joan and Selwyn Blake on January 4, 2008.

If you know a family who can give a loving foster/adoptive home to a medically fragile child, please encourage them to go to: www.nac-inc.org/recruitment or call: NAC’s Homefinding Department (212) 696-1550 or (646) 352-9047


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Dear Friends: Welcome to 2008, another new year for New Alternatives for Children, Inc. (NAC) and for each of you! New Alternatives for Children, Inc.

B OA R D O F D I R E C TO R S

President Elizabeth S. Pforzheimer Vice Presidents John R. Cannell, Esq. Jonathan A. Knee Patricia S. Levinson Andrew P. Mezey, MD, MS Secretary Virginia Aaron Treasurer Louis Lipschitz Diane Abbey Terri D. Austin, Esq. Pascal Desroches Alan R. Fleischman, MD Robert L. Friedman Jill Sabin Garner Susan G. Gevertz Carol Gutman Peter R. Haje, Esq. Joseph R. Ianniello Ronald Iervolino Thomas A. Jarecki Mark N. Kaplan, Esq. Meryl R. Kaynard, Esq. Fern June Khan, MSW Sandra E. Lerner Jennifer Goodman Linn Louis G. Maloof Robert D. Marcus Adam L. Miller Eugene A. Pinover Sanford B. Prater Barbara R. Rauch, LCSW Eric J. Rosen Glenn Rufrano Meryl Sherman Susan M. Slater Alma T. Young, MSW, Ed.D. Advisory Directors Margaret Grey, Dr. P.H. K.D. Hendricks-Muñoz, MD Cecily Truett Directors Emerti Iris Abrons Dale G. Berger Michael P. Gaertner Wayland M. Mead, Esq. Stephen Richardson, Ph.D. Lorraine Tregde, MPA Duncan Whiteside Mary C. Wolf Executive Director Arlene Goldsmith, LCSW, Ph.D.

As with every year since we began twenty-five years ago, NAC will help our families toward new achievements – adoptions and graduations as well as small daily victories. These can be losing five pounds in our new Food, Fun, Fitness program, getting enough supplies from the food, clothing, and toy bank to make it through the month or bringing home a better report card. In addition to the all-important family victories, NAC also has good news for the agency to report throughout the articles in this newsletter. We are grateful for our generous donors. We look forward to upcoming events – both those for client families and those that help us expand our base of support. And, as always, we are strengthening ways to meet the needs of medically fragile children and their families. Sometimes just a mention of NAC in conversation can lead to new collaborations, support or resources. Thanks to all of you who sustain us and work with us in reaching for the highest possible goals for NAC’s amazing kids and families.

NAC Welcomes Adam L. Miller to its Board Adam L. Miller joined the NAC Board in December. He was introduced to NAC by Board member Jonathan Knee. Adam is President of The Abernathy MacGregor Group, a leading strategic communications firm for transaction communications, corporate and financial public relations and crisis communications. Adam also heads The Abernathy MacGregor Group’s media, communications, and entertainment practice and manages many of AMG’s transaction engagements. He has counseled domestic and international clients on reputation management, corporate communications, and investor and public relations. Prior to joining AMG in 1994, Adam worked at Ogilvy Adams & Rinehart. He holds a BA degree in Philosophy from Hamilton College and has completed the Leadership in Professional Service Firms class at Harvard Business School. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Children’s Hearing Institute. Adam lives in New York City with his wife Jennifer, a two-year-old daughter, and a new baby boy, born this January. We welcome Adam and his family to the NAC family. His energetic presence on our Board and his extraordinary skills will help NAC to move forward with plans for expansion.

Arlene Goldsmith, Ph.D. E X E C U T I V E D I R E C TO R

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A Helping Hand at the Right Moment Paulina was thrilled to be out of foster care and home with her adored dad Ray, who had worked hard with NAC for her return – recovery from alcoholism, obtaining subsidized housing, learning to care for a child with severe asthma, and getting a job. Ray found a 6-month training program that would lead to steady employment. A $3,000 grant covered family expenses until he completed the course. Ray has made a career for himself, and Paulina is now in college in Vermont on a $25,000 scholarship. Dasheek wanted to be on her own at age 18. She had benefits covering the care of her spina bifida, but depended on part-time employment for living expenses and grants and loans for college. When she sought NAC’s help, she was ineligible for financial aid for one semester. NAC helped her with employment and housing issues and secured two grants totaling $3,500 to pay college expenses. Dasheek now has a four-year degree in journalism and has plans for graduate school. It may not seem possible that $3,000 can change the course of a family’s life, but it’s true – it’s also true that even small sums of money that come to NAC serve families in ways that reap multiplied rewards.


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NAC kids are on the go, with entertainment, outdoor activities, creative experiences, and work in the community, all organized by NAC's Recreation Department. This fall the kids enjoyed Goodnight Moon at the Manhattan

Children’s Theater and the Little Orchestra Society at the Skirball Center. Fresh air activities included apple picking and ice skating. Movie day at NAC featured The Nightmare Before Christmas. Kips Bay Kids’ Day, Starworks, the Me I’m Learning to Be group, Arts and Crafts Day, and Arts for All offered creative opportunities. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with Children for Children and Mitzvah Day at the Central Synagogue were occasions to help the less fortunate. And as usual, NAC's Halloween and Holiday parties were absolutely the best!


For information about the Junior Committee or upcoming events, please contact Jessica Lutzke at 212-696-1550 or jlutzke@nac-inc.org.

S AV E T H E D AT E ! Monday, March 10, 2008 Coco the Love Dog’s Birthday Bash to Benefit NAC 7:00 – 9:00 PM ASTRA, D & D Building 979 Third Avenue This event is sponsored by Sue Grundfest. 100% of the proceeds will benefit NAC. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Jessica Lutzke at jlutzke@nac-inc.org

Gary Carter Provides Testimony on Foster Care Gary Carter, NAC’s Associate Executive Director of Policy, Planning and Program Development provided testimony to the New York State Assembly Committee on Children and Families. Public and private child welfare agencies testified on the alarming statistics of the number of youth who age out of foster care without a permanent family and who lack the skills to secure housing and employment. Mr. Carter’s testimony contrasted these alarming statistics with NAC’s exemplary outcomes to ensure that all youth, both those with chronic medical conditions and their siblings, leave foster care with a stable, permanent family. Credit for NAC’s extraordinary outcomes goes to the coordinated model of comprehensive services that promote the youth’s medical, educational, social and psychological health. Foster parents who are meticulously selected and trained to care for children with special medical needs are thoughtfully matched with children in care. Small caseloads, ongoing support to birth, foster and pre-adoptive parents, and robust aftercare services are hallmarks of NAC’s success. The Committee members were impressed with NAC’s model of service and how it might be generalized to the larger foster care population.

O P E N I N G D O O R S S TA F F

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Editor Marcia Scanlon

The third annual NAC Kids Olympics, at Riverbank State Park

Contributors Terri Bailer, Gary Carter, Stephanie Gardner, Lara Hanson, Carol Hirsch, Jessica Lutzke, Linda Peck, Yolanda Ruiz, Carolyn Synol, Jenny Traslavina

All NAC families and friends are invited! For more information, contact Jessica Lutzke at jlutzke@nac-inc.org

Distribution Lydia Roman, Stephanie Tolbert Designer Shari Finger Design LLC

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BOARD

From The

Some 200 young professionals joined the NAC Junior Committee at Plan B, an East Village club on October 31 for the NAC’OWEEN party. Partygoers, who were asked to bring treats of school and art supplies for NAC children, learned about NAC and its work with medically fragile children. Hundreds of donated supplies were later handed out to our kids. We thank the Junior Committee and our sponsors, Plan B, Christiana Vodka, Starr African Rum, POM Wonderful, and Everybody Loves Nuts, for a successful evening. The Junior Committee is now planning a spring fundraising event.

COMMUNITY

A few days before the NAC Benefit, NAC Board Member and Benefit Honoree Eugene Pinover visited the Young Independent Women’s group as the members presented the quilt they had made for the Benefit auction to Arlene. He became acquainted with the young women as they talked about family, dating and parties – the usual. And then Gene picked up on the following: “… Their deepest worries also came out. High on that list were concerns that one day they would be too old and NAC would drop them from the program. Without a moment’s hesitation and with total conviction, Arlene told them that will not happen as long as they want the group to continue. She told them she would find a way. In that moment, I realized what NAC is all about. It is more than the sum of its individual programs and activities. The sum of NAC’s parts is a community of trust and hope and each young woman in that group knew they were loved by NAC.”

Artists’

JOIN NAC!

In The

Young Professionals

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CORNER As part of NAC’s Art Therapy Program, Elizabeth has worked long, hard, and very successfully on “The Dinosaur Rex in the Forest,” a mixed media sculpture. The nine-year-old artist will not commit to saying that the work is finished, but it’s certainly wonderful as it is!


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At least 150 volunteers participated in the annual NAC Holiday Party at the Jacob Javits Convention Center on Saturday, December 8. With almost 1,000 children, family members and staff in attendance, NAC’s Abracadabra Magic Party was a huge success. Corporate volunteer groups came from Credit Suisse, Willkie Farr & Gallagher, Clifford Chance, Centro Properties Group, The Estée Lauder Companies, New York Life, Accenture, Allen Partners, and the New York City Fire Department. Project Sunshine also sent a team. Volunteers helped kids with craft projects, participated in a scavenger hunt, worked at the Santa Booths, and helped families and children move among activities. People with animals who volunteer at NAC’s Pet-Assisted Therapy Program had a booth, as did Coco the Love Dog. Some volunteers were already friends of NAC; many were new and expressed interest in continuing to work with us. The efforts and enthusiasm of our fabulous volunteers make the Holiday Party extra spectacular. All of us at NAC thank them, and hope to see everyone again at the NAC Kids Olympics on June 21, 2008.

NAC Holiday Party Photography Steven Freeman


NAC’s 25th

A N N I V E R S A RY G A L A

Grants

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NAC’s 25th Anniversary Gala Benefit, which took place on October 17 at the American Museum of Natural History, was an enormous success, with nearly 700 guests in attendance. Eugene A. Pinover was a most gracious and eloquent Honoree. NAC was pleased to also honor Elizabeth Pforzheimer, Board Chair, and Arlene Goldsmith, Ph.D., Executive Director, with 25th Anniversary Lifetime Dedication Awards. The extraordinary generosity of NAC’s many friends enabled us to raise a benefit record $1,300,000 for the agency! We thank Albert P. Behler, Thomas Harney, Jack Nusbaum, Esq., Nora Ann Wallace, Esq., Richard Saltzman, and Glenn Rufrano, who served as Dinner Co-Chairs; also Peter and Helen Haje, Honorary Dinner Chairs; and Susan and Todd Slater, Benefit Committee Chairs. Sarah Wallace was wonderful as Master of Ceremonies and Richard D. Parsons was, once again, a persuasive Special Guest Auctioneer. Victoria Rowell was narrator of NAC’s new video. PLAN participant Adetayo Benyon (Tayo) spoke to the gathering about NAC’s extraordinary impact on the lives of our families. We wish to thank those who generously supported this event – they are too numerous to name!

NAC has received a generous grant of $50,000 from the Rita J. and Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation to support our Educational Services Program. As NAC grows, an increasing number of children need our help in progressing toward their educational goals; accordingly we will soon add another staff member to our Educational Services.

Thank You

NAC now sees a new group of youth off to college every fall. Many are the first in their families to attend college, several are in wheelchairs, and virtually all come from families that have lived in poverty. Children who were once considered by many to have little promise are attending and graduating from college, and working in the community. So many NAC kids want to work in the helping professions such as social work, education, psychology, art therapy, or health care. They know they have a special understanding of the challenges that others face and they want to do for others as NAC has done for them.

DONORS NAC is pleased to acknowledge the following corporations and foundations

that have made grants to us since September, 2007. American International Group, Inc. Harry S. Black and Allon Fuller Fund Clifford Chance Credit Suisse DaPuzzo Family Foundation Helen Hoffritz Charitable Trust Rita & Stanley Kaplan Family Foundation Marble Fund New York Life Foundation Noble Charitable Trust The Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation Rosie’s For All Kids We also acknowledge funding from the Manhattan Borough President’s Office, the NYS Association of Community & Residential Agencies, and the NYS Developmental Disabilities Planning Council.


NAC Family Links