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Volume 2

Issue 3

Spring 2009

DOORS Summer pleasures will soon be here! INSIDE THIS ISSUE

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Letter from the Executive Director

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NAC Activities

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From our Alumni Good News for B2H Save the Date How you can Help Artists’ Corner

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Meet our Staff

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New Board Member NAC Benefits Grants at Work Thank you Donors

Ramapo for Children Workshop at NAC NAC staff are mindful of behavioral issues that may arise for each child who joins in our activities and services. There are always new challenges, both medical and social in origin. For instance, the national autism epidemic is reflected in NAC’s population – in recent years 75 children with diagnoses on the autism spectrum have received services at NAC. As well, NAC staff have noted the negative effects on our children of their families’ struggles with the recent economic downturn.

In meeting these challenges, NAC staff keep our ideas fresh and our skills sharp – tools that can benefit parents as well. Staff enthusiastically attended a workshop on strategies for resolving behavioral issues associated with children with special needs that was presented by Behavior Management Training staff from Ramapo for Children. (continued on page 2)

News


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Dear Friends: Spring has brought renewed energy and excitement to NAC. This year spring has also included changes in leadership. New Alternatives for Children, Inc.

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

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. Bryan Beller 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 Elizabeth S. Pforzheimer President Emeritus 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 Emeriti 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.

NAC’s

Board welcomes a new President!

Welcome!

President Virginia Aaron

Congrats!

NAC’s Board welcomes a new President! Last June, long-time Board President Elizabeth (Betty) Pforzheimer announced her retirement as President. Betty is a founding member of the Board and has served as its President for the past 27 years. We are fortunate to have her leadership and support, which have inspired not only NAC staff and friends, but also the thousands of children and families helped by the agency. I am pleased to report that Betty will continue to serve on the Board as President Emeritus. NAC’s former Board Secretary Virginia

Aaron has been elected President and will assume the title in June 2009. She has been on the Board of Directors since 1991, serving on the Nominating and Program Committees, and is a long-time volunteer and advocate for children’s rights. We also welcome Board member Barbara Rauch as our new Board Secretary. Summer’s big event is the 4th annual NAC Kids Olympics on June 6 at

Chelsea Piers (see details, page 4). This is a terrific opportunity to meet NAC children and families, and see NAC in action! It can be a great start to summer for all of us.

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

Arlene Goldsmith, Ph.D. has been inducted into the prestigious Columbia University School of Social Work Alumni Association Hall of Fame.

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Ramapo for Children Workshop at NAC A total of 19 NAC staff, including new members of our Social Work staff, Bachelor’s level Case Associates, and other NAC staff at every level participated in the workshop. Mike Celentano, NAC’s Director of Recreation, said of Sheri Klugman, Teacher Trainer, “…the training was excellent! Sheri really got staff thinking about what we are doing and how we can be more effective in structuring our space and activities. She was responsive to our various needs, and she demonstrated a keen insight into the struggles we face and how to avoid or better manage the challenging behaviors of our clients. I want to thank Lia Younes, Out-of-School-Time Training Coordinator and everyone at Ramapo for helping us out.” As a grantee of the J.E. and Z.B. Butler Foundation, NAC received Ramapo for Children’ Behavior Management Training pro bono. NAC extends our gratitude to the Foundation for making this valuable opportunity available to us.


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After the Holidays it seemed so long until spring, but NAC offered cheer and adventure all winter. NAC children and teens shared a lot of laughs and became closer friends at the AdoptMent mentoring group, the Girl Power Group and the Sibling Girls Group. Our talented children joined in Music with Kiki, Drama Therapy, Early Teen Art Therapy, Young Adult Art Therapy and the Starlight group. Parents enjoyed camaraderie and creativity at Parent Open Art Studio. Animal Assisted Therapy continued to bring special companionship to NAC children. Adventures out on the town included a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to explore the Egyptian collection, a performance of Puss in Boots at the Connelly Theater, Puppetry Arts Day at Regal Cinema, Sony Wonder Technology Lab, Valentine’s Day crafts with Arts for All, the Martin Luther King Day of Service, the Prospect Park Film Festival, a documentary on African-American performers at the Apollo Theater, and Macy’s Flower Show. And at last, warmer spring weather made it possible to visit the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, and the Staten Island Zoo.


Darnell has been a part of the NAC community since childhood. He has always generously shared his thoughtful written and visual works with us.

Today’s youth What exactly are we teaching our kids? A 5 year old can do the Soulja Boy dance 9 year olds can recite an entire Lil’ Wayne song This is all impressive but still. Either your pants are baggy, hanging off your butt Or tight, cutting off all circulation. Kids are fed up with school so they cut, skip Or go but become a problem. Today’s youth have so much talent Why would you want to waste that? Why not be educated in what you want to do? School may be boring or dull at times But chilling on a corner isn’t that exciting either. Yes school isn’t the only way of being educated Some people have made it without But some haven’t as well Basically a 50/50 chance or less. Use the potential you have to your advantage Stop giving up on your dreams cause you want to follow someone else. You could have all the close friends you want But in the end the decision of your life is yours You were born with the right to want to be

FOR B2H The good news is that NAC had enrolled 55 children in the Bridges To Health (B2H) program by the April 1 deadline. More good news – New York State reinstated B2H funding to its original goal of enrolling 3,305 children over 3 years. This means that we can continue enrolling our children in B2H over the next two years. NAC B2H Staff provide health integration services for children in foster care who are medically fragile, severely emotionally disturbed, or who have a developmental disability. NAC’s advocacy with the government has paid off. Along with B2H, TANF funds (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) for PIP and PLAN were reauthorized as well. Arlene Goldsmith said, “The restoration of funding for the B2H program will allow agencies like NAC to continue providing critical child welfare services to some of New York’s most vulnerable children in foster care. We are grateful to the Governor, the Senate, and the Assembly for their realization that this program not only improves the lives of thousands of children by shortening their time in the foster care system and helping them to achieve permanency in the community, but also by providing them with opportunities to reach their full potential.”

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

An actor, doctor, singer, police officer and Even the president of the U.S.A.

Editor Marcia Scanlon

Life is hard, it’s gonna suck at times

But you can either let it break you

Contributors Stephanie Gardner, Lara Hanson, Adrienne Lawler, Jessica Lutzke, Linda Peck, Yolanda Ruiz, Jenny Traslavina, Brian Schatz, Carolyn Synol, Steve Walton

Or you can beat the crap out of it

Distribution Lydia Roman

And continue to believe in yourself.

Designer Shari Finger Design LLC

There will be days you want to be isolated

DARNELL 2009

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S AV E T H E D AT E ! Saturday, June 6 The 4th Annual NAC Kids Olympics will be held at Chelsea Piers. All NAC families and friends are welcome. We are looking forward to this new venue and a variety of new activities. For more information, please contact Jessica Lutzke at 212.696.1550 x230 or jlutzke@nac-inc.org.

H OW YO U C A N H E L P There are many ways to support NAC. We welcome financial gifts and in-kind donations. We invite you to volunteer for NAC activities and to attend our benefit events. The rewards of getting to know NAC children and families are extraordinary. For more information, please contact Jessica Lutzke, Director, Volunteers and Community Relations, at 212.696.1550 x230 or jlutzke@nac-inc.org.

Artists’

F RO M O U R A L U M N I

Good News

OPENING

CORNER Celebrating our NAC Artists! NAC artists took over the

7th floor conference room for an art show, reception and karaoke performance in February. Parents, friends and NAC staff admired work in a variety of styles and materials that filled the walls and covered a large table. Each artist received a gift to reward her efforts. Congratulations to Jade, Mariah, Isis, Brianna, Tiffany, Tamara, and Sashii, and thank you for sharing your creative brilliance.


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Most of you have never met the majority of NAC staff, so we are taking an opportunity to familiarize you with more of the NAC community. Everyone who is employed here takes part in making NAC a welcoming place and helping our families change their lives in countless ways. The staff on this page represent many facets of NAC, including services in Prevention, Foster Care and Adoption, employment preparation, education, transportation, recreation, medical and mental health, and the complex administration that supports all these activities. And for those of you who have wondered who the mystery man is in the animal costumes at all the NAC parties, it’s the fellow with the mustache, Lenny Saul, our CFO. There isn’t space to picture all the staff and tell you how each person makes her or his unique contribution to helping our families thrive. We now have 138 full- and part-time staff and 3 consultants at NAC, and the number is growing. NAC staff, however, all share a profound commitment to and deep affection for NAC families. Each one deserves special recognition and appreciation.


NAC

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BENEFITS The NAC Junior Committee held its first Slam Dunk for NAC Kids March Madness fundraiser at the Mad Hatter in Murray Hill on March 28. About 70 people attended and raised $1,200. All proceeds will help sponsor the 4th Annual NAC Kids Olympics on June 6 at Chelsea Piers. The event was a huge success and everyone enjoyed cheering for their favorite team. Fantastic raffle prizes went to the winners of pools and contests. Many thanks to the Junior Committee who created the event with enthusiasm and hard work and to the Mad Hatter staff for their generosity. On Saturday April 4, approximately 300 NAC donors, children, and families attended a private screening of Monsters vs. Aliens. The event is an annual fundraiser, with donors sponsoring NAC children’s tickets and AMC theaters generously donating the movie and refreshments. This year NAC guests received special 3D glasses with which to view the film. Both kids and adults found the movie amazing!

Top: NAC staff and volunteers teamed up for a Slam Dunk! Above: NAC surprised Mariah with a song composed just for her. The Songs of Love Foundation is a nonprofit organization that creates original personalized songs, free of charge, for children and teens facing tough medical challenges. For further information, visit them on the web: www.songsoflove.org.

NAC Welcomes Bryan R. Beller

Grants

NAC Board member Lou Maloof staged a production of Neil Simon’s hilarious play The Good Doctor to benefit NAC. Members of the NAC community enjoyed the two performances on April 25 and 26 at the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre. All proceeds from the play will support services for NAC children and families. We are grateful that Lou continues to share his considerable theatrical skills with NAC in this generous way.

to our Board Bryan became acquainted with NAC through the Junior Benefit Committee, which he joined in 2007. He is a Director within Citigroup’s Global Investment Bank, focusing on the media and entertainment sectors. He has been with Citigroup since 1996, with extensive experience advising clients on mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, leveraged finance and restructuring transactions.

Welcome!

In the summer of 2008, the Taproot Foundation awarded NAC a Service Grant to help us re-develop the agency website. The Taproot Foundation does not award funding; it is providing NAC with an extremely talented pro bono team of ten professionals with expertise in website development, marketing, copywriting and programming. The Taproot volunteer team has been working closely with NAC Development and MIS staff to develop a unique website that conveys NAC’s leadership and expertise at delivering healthcare and social services to children with special medical needs and their families. The new, vastly improved NAC website will be launched in early summer, 2009. It will serve as a useful tool to our supporters in learning about upcoming events, volunteer opportunities and the vital services that NAC offers our children and families.

Thank You

Bryan is also a member of the Whitney Museum Contemporaries, a Young Patron of the New York Philharmonic, and a member of the Guggenheim Museum Collectors Council. He is eager to commit more of his energies to this agency, and NAC is very fortunate to have Bryan’s active support.

AT W O R K

DONORS NAC is pleased to acknowledge the following corporations and foundations that have made grants to us since January, 2009:

Louis and Anne Abrons Foundation, BlackRock, Clifford Chance US LLP, Fund For The Poor, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, Livingston Foundation, Morton Meyerson Foundation, nycTIES, The New York Community Trust, Richards, Kibbe & Orbe; Robin Hood Foundation, Société Générale Group, The Tiger Foundation, and The Joseph LeRoy and Ann C. Warner Fund. NAC gratefully acknowledges the commencement of a weekly donation of food from Trader Joe’s for our families, and also our NAC Parent Advisory Group’s fund-raising efforts for NAC special events. We would also like to thank the many donors who responded to our summer mailer, assisting NAC children to attend special camps and participate in NAC’s summer recreation programs. It is not too late to help NAC kids have a great summer. Donations may now be made on the NAC website: www.nac-inc.org.


Opening Doors Spring 2009