To a casual observer, it might have looked like two people surrounded by stacks of paper. But to me, last Friday was a poignant landmark, as I watched our Executive Director, Ivy Gamble Cobb, sign her name on the lease for a brand new, much expanded Brooklyn office location.
I was the Founding Board Chair of The Family Center in 1997, when we opened our first space in downtown Manhattan; in 2004, I saw us open our first Brooklyn office; by 2008, when we moved uptown to our present offices in Manhattan, I had joined The Family Center’s staff. Last Friday The Family Center took the next turn in our ever-expanding journey. Our new lease triples our Brooklyn space, allowing us to open our first mental health clinic. It was hard to imagine, 15 years ago, that we would be still growing today, and that we would soon be serving our 10,000th client!
Kind of makes you wonder where The Family Center will be in 15 more years, doesn’t it?
-Dave Nimmons, Special Projects Director
In one week you will have the opportunity to listen to a child speak at BLOOM 2012 regarding their experience in our Buddy Program. Here is just one of many stories of the special relationship our Buddy pairs share!
I love The Family Center because I get to go places and The Family Center has picnics for us. Meghan and I do fun things a lot. Today we went on the Roosevelt Island tram; that was really fun. Meghan helps me because she gives me advice and tells me meanings of hard words that I don’t know, and she’s really nice. It makes me feel really, really happy that we get to spend time together and go outside and have fun.
– Armani, mentee, 8 years old
Several weeks ago, Alison emailed a reminder that my one year anniversary as mentor to Armani was approaching, and asked if I wanted to continue. I knew it had been almost a year, but I’d forgotten that if either Armani or I wanted to, we could end our Buddy relationship after this milestone. I responded immediately— of course I was planning to continue! Our twice a month outings have settled in as a natural part of my life as well as hers. With each outing Armani and I have grown closer and become more comfortable with each other.
I love that Armani is so curious and excited about everything around her. She enjoys every outing we do together, whether it’s educational or just for fun. By taking Armani out twice a month I have had the opportunity to see parts of the city I might not have seen otherwise. Armani says whatever is on her mind, and she doesn’t hold back when she has a question or idea. “I have never been more excited in my life!” she exclaimed before we took off on the Roosevelt Island tram, just one example of her level of enthusiasm. This happy characteristic is something I hope rubs off on me.
Mentoring through The Family Center has been a very special experience for me. I’ve learned a lot about myself over the past 11 months, which I did not expect, and I’ve learned a lot from Armani. It brings me joy to see how much our relationship and outings positively affect Armani. I look forward to the many more experiences we will have together.
– Meghan, mentor
Interested in learning more or supporting The Family Center’s Buddy Program? Join The Family Center’s Leadership Council next Thursday, May 10th for the BLOOM 2012. All event proceeds benefit the Buddy Program.