You Can’t Keep It Unless You Give It Away

“I’m just going to put these down and speak from the heart,” she said, tossing her note cards aside. From the day she stepped in our door five years ago, Teresa has challenged herself and others to grow and make courageous decisions for the well-being of their families. And now, speaking in front of the entire agency staff, her honesty helps everyone see how The Family Center continues to make a difference in our community.

Teresa came to The Family Center as a client and has turned into one of our biggest advocates. She received services from the legal, social, and mentoring departments and has undergone training with our outreach team, making her a well-equipped advocate.  “A lot of people don’t want help because they’re scared,” Teresa explains. “You have to understand what people are going through and help them take baby steps.”

Teresa and other Family Center Peer Outreach Workers at a Street Fair in Brooklyn

In her own life, Teresa appears to opt for giant leaps. After becoming a member of The Family Center’s Consumer Advisory Committee and Peer Outreach Educators, she has recently become the first Outreach Educator for our B-SWEL program. “I think it’s wonderful,” she says. “The program teaches you how to eat right, exercise, and you can receive counseling as well.” Hearing the excitement in her voice, it’s easy to see how Teresa has been so successful in her outreach role. “My goal is to help bring in more clients. If I can guide someone here, then I will.”

Teresa says she was inspired to give back after the support she received from The Family Center made a positive impact in her and her family members’ lives. “I have to give back because they gave so much to me,” she said. “If even one parent comes in, at least you can say, ‘Wow, I helped one person.’”

But Teresa’s advocacy efforts have already helped many community members make positive choices for their families. In addition to helping change other people’s lives for the better, she also believes that reaching out makes her a stronger and more unselfish person. “You can’t keep it unless you give it away.”

In this season of giving thanks, The Family Center expresses gratitude for all of those, like Teresa, who choose to partner with us in helping families stay stronger, longer. If you would like to give to The Family Center, please visit to learn more about our holiday toy drive and other opportunities to donate throughout the year.

Posted by Teresa, Family Center Peer Outreach Educator

Make a Positive Impact This Friday

Volunteering for The Family Center’s Just Buddies program since April 2007, I signed up with hopes to make a positive impact on someone’s life.

It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

My “buddy” is now 17 years old and in high school. I have learned much from him. He has taught me how to deal with adversity and to be thankful for what we have in our lives.  We spend a couple days a month together on the weekend and do everything from going to the park for a catch to hanging out and watching football. One favorite activity of his is going to the movies; he loves action and horror movies.

A couple of years ago I decided to get more involved with The Family Center so I joined the Leadership Council.  It has allowed me to get to know other like-minded New Yorkers interested in making a difference.  The teamwork and spirit that go into planning events such as Bloom and Bids for Kids have made them a tremendous amount of fun.  Their success is extremely important, as the funds raised go directly to supporting Family Center programs, like Just Buddies.

I will be at Bids for Kids tomorrow with a bunch of friends and I can’t wait!  You should join us –not only to have a good time, but also to make your own positive impact on a child’s life!

John Morro, Buddy & Leadership Council member

Stay Well, Enjoy Life, and Make Regular Doctor’s Appointments

November is National Diabetes Month and the Brooklyn-Stay Well, Enjoy Life! (B-SWEL) team is taking advantage of the opportunity to get the word out about their ongoing free diabetes screenings and cooking series.

The B-SWEL team travels around Central Brooklyn and beyond to provide free Diabetes screenings to residents and stress the importance of regular doctor’s visits for everyone. This message was made even more evident at Step On It!, a recent five-day event at JFK Airport for NYC taxi drivers, featuring workshops and screenings focused on improving access to healthcare, increasing physical activity, following a healthy diet, reducing stress, and quitting tobacco.

During a routine screening, the B-SWEL team was surprised to find elevated A1c levels of a population in which most people appeared relatively healthy. One participant’s A1c result was even too high for the machines to measure. After comparing the result to a blood sugar reading, coupled with a high blood pressure measurement, the team agreed that a to call urgent care was necessary in order to avoid any serious issues for the participant in the future. The incident reinforced the fact that even though an individual may appear healthy, it is still crucial for everyone to check in with a doctor regularly and receive proper care.

Another aspect of B-SWEL’s health awareness initiative takes place in the form of a new cooking series for Central Brooklyn residents. This 10-week series is a part of B-SWEL’s ongoing free health & wellness workshops. B-SWEL Cooking Classes cover topics such as Quick, Healthy Meals; Healthy Comfort Foods; Meatless Mondays; Rethinking Fruits & Vegetables; and many more engaging, practical nutritional subjects. Classes specifically address the basics of nutrition, food groups, importance of fruit and vegetable consumption, how to eat healthy on a budget, and portion control. Each weekly session lasts two hours and includes time for discussion and sharing of experiences, check-in on participants’ progress toward cooking healthier, and of course, hands-on meal preparation and consumption.  Healthy substitutions and portion control are a main focus of the cooking series and are incorporated at every opportunity with participants being encouraged to use these techniques to meet their goals.

If you reside in Central Brooklyn, are over 18 and interested in learning more about your health, nutrition, diabetes prevention and control, and weight loss support please call the B-SWEL team at 718-230-1379 x214 to find out more about our FREE workshops to support your health goals.