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INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Letter from the Executive Director
NAC Book Fair
Summer Activities 4
Parent Luncheons From Our Staff Save the Date Artists’ Corner
Third Annual NAC Kids Olympics
Benefit News Grants at Work Thank you Donors
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Coordinated Care Means Relief for Families NAC’s Article 31 Mental Health Clinic, serving families since February 2007, has just been awarded a renewed license for two years by the New York State Office of Mental Health. The clinic will provide psychotherapy to more than 75 children, adults and families by the end of 2008.
Families frequently come to NAC after visiting too many clinics, where they have repeated their stories and hope nothing is forgotten or misunderstood. “They express great relief upon learning that at NAC, their mental health Therapist, Pediatrician and Social Worker all work together and understand how medical, mental health and social issues influence each other,” says Dr. Harvey Mar, NAC’s Director of Mental Health Services. (continued on page 2).
Adoption News New Alternatives for Children, Inc.
37 West 26th Street New York, NY 10010 T 212.696.1550 F 212.696.1602 15 West 26th Street New York, NY 10010 T 212.994.7940 F 212.994.3003 www.nac-inc.org
Congratulations to these NAC children and parents on their recent adoptions! Gary was adopted by Michael and Jacqueline Fuentes on April 15, 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:
Micanel was adopted by Louis and Marie-Anne Joachim April 15, 2008. Vivian and Samuel were adopted by Carol Smith May 28, 2008.
NAC’s Homefinding Department (212) 696-1550 or (646) 352-9047
New Alternatives for Children, Inc.
B OA R D O F D I R E C TO R S
President Elizabeth S. Pforzheimer President Elect Virginia Aaron Vice Presidents John R. Cannell, Esq. Jonathan A. Knee Patricia S. Levinson Andrew P. Mezey, MD, MS Secretary Barbara R. Rauch, LCSW 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 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.
Dear Friends: Welcome to fall 2008! As we all know, this year our country will elect a new President. I hope that every member of the NAC family participates in this momentous process and takes advantage of this privilege, right and responsibility. NAC’s Social Workers encourage our clients to become registered and to vote. This is just one of many ways in which NAC strives to help our clients - parents and children alike - to take responsibility in their lives and participate in the world around them. No matter how dire the circumstances of any individual or family, there is always a way to take an active role and exercise choice in one’s response to what is happening around them. Active, positive choices empower individuals and help them to move forward toward a better life. In this issue, we spotlight our mental health clinic (page 1). Targeted, sensitive and professional mental health services are among the ways that NAC helps to empower the individuals we serve toward attaining the lives they envision for themselves and their children. If you know anyone with a child who has special medical needs and requires the services of our mental health clinic, please refer her or him to NAC.
Above: O ASPCA Arlene Goldsmith, Ph.D. E X E C U T I V E D I R E C TO R
C O N T I N U E D F RO M PAG E 1
Coordinated Care Means Relief for Families Approximately 70% of children who come to NAC have mental health needs. For example, the medically fragile child may be dealing with pain management, medication compliance, invasive procedures, inability to communicate, death and dying issues and lack of control over bodily functions. The same child may exhibit behavior problems or endure disruptions in mother/child bonding, social isolation, low self-esteem and poor social skills. Many parents also have serious mental health issues. Birth parents frequently feel guilty, alone, and inadequate with regard to caring for their medically fragile children. All these issues are compounded by poverty and disruptions in family life that may include the loss of housing or placement of children in foster care. At NAC any parent or child has access to a NAC mental health professional who can help create workable solutions for the most complex situations and offer comfort during times of distress.
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Above: Over 150 clients celebrated Literacy for All at NAC’s Book Fair on June 5. Scholastic, Inc. and the ASPCA donated new books and McDonald’s provided lunch. Members of NAC ’s Parent Advisory Board, who initiated the Book Fair, worked with Carrie Banks, Supervising Librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library, and Lisa Chow, PULSE Trainee, to organize books into reading levels. Credit Suisse volunteers read to the children while families delighted in selecting books and deciding which ones to read together. Below: Summer excursions included the Cloisters, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Bronx and Central Park Zoos, TADA! Children’s Theater, and Fresh Kills landfill, which is becoming a park. On site, NAC offered the Summer Readers, Music Inspirations, and Only Make Believe theater groups. NAC vans took groups to Coney Island, the Liberty Science Center, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, and family barbeques at Valley Stream State Park. Kids learned to swim at Riverbank State Park’s SwimFit program. Summer Sibs enjoyed a day of Circus Yoga and the Salsa Dance Series.
On May 1 and May 8 we held our annual NAC Parent Luncheons to honor the people who care for NAC children. NAC staff and parents chatted while enjoying a delicious meal of ribs, salmon, collard greens and key lime pie at Blue Smoke/Jazz Standard. Guest speaker NYS Assembly Member Micah Kellner spoke to NAC parents of his own poignant history and then joined them for lunch. Dancer/Actress/ Author Victoria Rowell spoke to our parents about growing up in foster care and gave them signed copies of her book, The Women Who Raised Me. Once again, Estée Lauder donated gift bags for both mothers and fathers. And a special treat - NAC parent Rasheeda Williams sang a thrilling a cappella version of Mood Indigo.
Tamara Morgan celebrates her recent graduation from Hunter College at the Annual NAC Art Show on June 6.
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PA R E N T S At the NAC Parent Luncheons, many parents spoke eloquently on how NAC has helped them and changed the lives of their children. “A counselor sent me to NAC after watching me melt into a pool of tears. I had thought I could be super-mom. When my new Social Worker told me how glad NAC was to have me and my child as clients, I thought, ‘What can this 25-year-old kid do for me?’ As it turns out, NAC can do everything.”
S TA F F
S AV E T H E D AT E !
It’s well after 5 P.M. Again, I’m buried in paperwork and I wonder if we’re naïve at NAC to think we can make a difference in the lives of families who come here. “Why do we do it?” I ask myself.
Thursday, October 30, 2008 NAC’s annual benefit event will be at 583 Park Avenue. The theme this year is Building a Golden Tomorrow, which reflects our optimism and determination in planning for the future. For more information, please call Cindy Cavalli at (212) 696 -1550 x262.
Then I think of a client who came to NAC morbidly obese, with heart disease and pulmonary hypertension. She had obstructive sleep apnea and used a CPAP machine at night to breathe. Her enlarged tonsils and adenoids required removal. Can you believe that this is not an adult, but a child under the age of ten?
Saturday, December 13, 2008 NAC’s Holiday Party for all our families and children at the Javits Center. This annual event hosts over 800 NAC children and parents for visits with Santa, games, entertainment, gifts, and a holiday meal. If you wish to volunteer for this event or if your company or group would like to become an official sponsor of NAC’s Holiday Party, please contact Jessica Lutzke at (212) 696 -1550 x 230.
When her family entered a NAC program six months ago several staff members began to work with them on strategies for change. I wondered if we would see any success. Then a medical report from her Cardiologist arrived at NAC. She has lost 18 lbs, no longer requires the CPAP, has no pulmonary hypertension, and her heart disease has improved significantly! She now looks in the mirror and smiles. She says she wants to look and dress like her beautiful Social Worker. I ask again, “Why do we do it?” and I think we know why. Dr. Mike Vergara N A C P E D I AT R I C I A N
O P E N I N G D O O R S S TA F F
Editor Marcia Scanlon Contributors Stephanie Gardner, Lara Hanson, Adrienne Lawler, Jessica Lutzke, Harvey Mar, Yolanda Ruiz, Carolyn Synol, Mike Vergara Distribution Lydia Roman Designer Shari Finger Design LLC
CORNER “I told people all day long I was going to my group itoday because I was so iexcited.” NAC offers opportunities for self-expression, including art and drama. In these groups, many children discover special gifts and talents that become sources of confidence and pleasure. The Only Make Believe workshops give children a chance to stretch their imaginations and perform with a group, with sets and costumes that help them step into a variety of characters.
The 3rd Annual NAC Kids Olympics on June 21 was a huge success from start to finish. Many athletes had attended NACâ€™s previous Olympics at Riverbank State Park, and were eager for the games to begin. Following lunch and welcoming remarks, NAC Olympians and their families paraded onto the fields, led once again by Pipe Major Albert Gonzales. Then, nonstop action: double-dutch, distance throw, wiffle ball, bean-bag toss, hot potato, mini golf, and basketball. Track events included the potato sack, 3-legged, egg and spoon, obstacle course, and speed races. Animal-assisted therapy, tattoos by Project Sunshine, and flag making by New York Life offered quieter moments. For the finale, all Olympians proceeded down a congratulatory line to receive a NAC Kids Olympics medal while families, staff and volunteers cheered. The occasion was reported by CBS News and Time Warnerâ€™s NY1 News. You can view a video clip on http://www.video.nac-inc.org.
NAC Kids Olympics photography: Steven Freeman
AT W O R K
First Photo Above: Bowlers at the NAC Rock n’ Bowl 11 prepare for strikes and spares. Second Photo Above: nycTIES, a philanthropic group of young professionals, has selected NAC as their partner organization for the next six months. These amazing volunteers gave enthusiastic support to the Olympics. They will host two fundraisers for NAC this fall, including a concert with classical pianist David Homan on September 29 at Merkin Concert Hall.
Goldman Sachs Career Day On June 5th Goldman Sachs volunteers spent the afternoon with NAC teens, helping them learn about career options. The volunteers spoke about how first jobs like busing tables and working retail helped prepare them for the future. Teens worked on interviewing skills and ended the day by sharing new information. It was a fantastic afternoon, with both teens and volunteers learning a lot!
The NAC Jr. Benefit Committee hosted its second major fundraiser, NAC Rock n’ Bowl II, on June 4 at Bowlmor Lanes. The event was a tremendous success, raising over $46,000 to send NAC children to camp. Many of the guests had attended last year’s Rock n’ Bowl while others were new to NAC. The committee did an incredible job of collecting silent auction and raffle prizes, and securing sponsors – Coors, Starr African Rum and Function Drinks. Everybody enjoyed themselves and some even bowled a few strikes!
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation recently awarded a grant of $475,000 over three years for support and expansion of NAC’s Article 28 Medical and Article 31 Mental Health Clinics. The licensure of these clinics is a major accomplishment for NAC, which will enable the expansion of medical and mental health services. Nonetheless, along the path to becoming licensed, there have been many expenses that will take time to recoup through the new funding stream of Medicaid and other insurance reimbursements. Most recently we have added several staff members, particularly within the Mental Health Clinic. The grant from the Weinberg Foundation will help to support these new staff members as we work to maximize insurance reimbursements. We are deeply grateful to the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation for its generous contribution to NAC and the children and families we serve. We are committed to providing services to medically fragile children and their families who are in need, without regard to their insurance or ability to pay. This grant is important to our ability to sustain service provision in this manner.
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DONORS NAC is pleased to acknowledge the following corporations and foundation
funders that have made grants to us since March 2008: ACCESS New York City, Barbara Walters Charitable Foundation,
Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Frances L. & Edwin L. Cummings Memorial Fund, Goldman Sachs Community Teamworks, Heckscher Foundation for Children, Hedge Funds Care, HGI Foundation, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Hyde and Watson Foundation, K.I.D.S. Kids In Distressed Situations, Inc., Vincent Mulford Foundation, The News Corporation, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, Société Générale, TJX Foundation, Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. We thank the following government officials for their recent support: State Senator Thomas K. Duane, State Assembly Member Micah Kellner, State Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, State Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal and NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn. We also thank the following donors to the NAC Kids Olympics for their generosity: Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, Gatorade, Kenmar Shirts, Pepsico, and Titan Worldwide. NAC Volunteers from the following companies and groups offered invaluable support for the Olympics: Accenture, Centro Properties, Credit Suisse, the Estée Lauder Companies, New York Life Insurance Company, nyc TIES, Project Sunshine, Société Générale Group, and Willkie, Farr & Gallagher LLP.
Newsletter for New Alternatives for Children