For the past month, The Family Center has been conducting a group program called SPARCS for Structured Psychotherapy for Adolescents Responding to Chronic Stress.

SPARCS is a trauma-informed, evidence-based group intervention aimed to address the impact of chronic stress, which is defined as consistent exposure to high levels of stress and trauma. For this group, our facilitating clinicians recruited teens 13-16 years-old whose families were receiving services at The Family Center. SPARCS encourages mutual aid and support between participants who engage in activities like self-monitoring their stress levels, mindfulness exercises, problem-solving activities and more.

From their response to DACA’s current status to their outrage over gun violence in schools, youth in our society have a relevant, compelling voice. The Family Center believes that all youth should be heard and we are happy to give them a safe space to exercise their voices.

Parents on a Journey at TFC

Parenting Journey is a 12-week group which encourages parents to reflect on their own childhoods, in order to be able to choose what kind of parent they want to be and create their own style of parenting – one that reflects their personal vision and values.  The fun and interactive program encourages parents to build confidence and community.  TFC is excited to be offering our second cycle of Parenting Journey and we thank our terrific group members for making it a powerful experience for all.  Enjoy photos taken during the group’s most recent meeting below!

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Parenting Journey group members working hard to be the best parents and caregivers that they can be!

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A piece of artwork that also doubles at the Parenting Journey group contract -how clever!

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A Family Center staff facilitator of Parenting Journey shows off the day’s agenda.

The Open-Hearted Grandmother Behind The New York Times Story: Ms. Parker

Neediest-Cases-1.24.2017-862x575Ms. Sandra Parker is a current Family Center client, who was featured in the New York Times Neediest Cases in January. The article, A Door to a Home Brimming with Love, and Open to All, has a title that accurately describes Ms. Parker and her devotion to her grandchildren, despite her own obstacles and health issues. Ms. Parker has been involved with The Family Center since 2014. Ms. Parker stated that an issue came up and she was in need of some assistance accessing furniture. She called and met with Marya, The Family Center Director of Social Services, who was able to quickly put in an application for furniture. With the assistance from The Family Center, Ms. Parker was awarded a $1,000 grant from FPWA, one of the eight organizations supported by The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund.

Since receiving that grant, Ms. Parker and her family have received a variety of different services, for which she is very grateful. Ms. Parker is currently caring for four grandchildren, from age five to sixteen, a responsibility she accepts open-heartedly, but has experienced her share of struggles and setbacks; she is appreciative of the additional support from The Family Center. Ms. Parker and her family have participated in events and are benefiting from counseling and support offered at The Family Center.

Ms. Parker said, “I love the Family Center because even though I have had hard times, no one has been judgmental. Everyone has been kind about my situation and very helpful.”

The Family Center strives to provide our client families with nonjudgmental, compassionate and supportive assistance in a variety of different areas.  Ms. Parker is a client, who is a pleasure to work with, as she has an overwhelming love for her grandchildren and does her best to impart wisdom and teach her grandchildren valuable life lessons, such as the importance of education, disregarding negativity and always trying to reach one’s potential.

-Tara Pine, Family Center Social Worker

The Family Center Has Moves

Clients at The Family Center are making moves! Recently, TFC hosted a dance and movement workshop in partnership with Gibney Dance, an NYC-based organization whose mission is to “bring the possibility of movement where it would otherwise not exist.” Clients from Familia Unida Latina (FUL), a peer-led Spanish-speaking support group, took part in the workshop; and Amy Miller, Associate Artistic Director of Gibney Dance Company, facilitated.

PrintGibney Dance partners with community organizations all across New York City to offer free workshops for survivors of violence, and people living with illness and loss. Gibney workshops focus on the principles of choice, self-expression, trust, and sharing, in order to create a collaborative space for healing. FUL group members had a great time moving and creating together, and found that the workshop provided a very energizing start to the day! Thank you, Amy and Gibney Dance for this wonderful opportunity!

-Sophie Schapiro, Family Center Social Worker & FUL Group Facilitator

TFC @ SAMHSA Center for Substance Abuse Treatment Grantee Meeting

Greetings to all from the SAMHSA Center for Substance Abuse Treatment grantee meeting!  Family Center representatives attending the meeting were delighted to present findings from the first three years of our BWEL program.
Marya Julian Ivy and SAMHSA Program Officer

From left to right: Family Center representatives Marya Gilborn, Julian Ho, and Ivy Gamble Cobb with SAMHSA Program Officer Kim Thierry-English

Key outcomes include the following:

  • BWEL clients reported fewer days in the last month of serious depression and anxiety after 6 months in the program
  • BWEL clients score reported less acuity of symptoms of emotional distress after 6 months in the program.
  • 77.8% of HIV+ BWEL clients who were not virally suppressed at intake had reduced viral loads at discharge, in most cases achieving viral suppression.
  • BWEL clients who reported current or past PTSD symptoms remained engaged and achieved benefits like those described above at rated higher than those who reported no past trauma or had experienced traumatic events but reported no or few PTSD symptoms.
The Family Center’s partnership with SAMHSA allowed us to achieve these outcomes for Brooklyn women.  We are grateful for SAMHSA’s ongoing support and gracious welcome to present at this meeting.
Best from Ivy, Marya, and Julian

A Long Way from Accounting: One Child Welfare Worker’s Journey

Angelina was studying accounting in college when she took a social services elective that had an internship requirement.  Her internship involved working at a school.  When one of the children left their group project to see the school social worker, Angelina became curious.  She wondered, why might this little girl need a social worker?  While she didn’t pry at the time, Angelina knew she was hooked on helping children from that moment forward.  Today, she makes a lot of inquiries of Family Center clients as she strives to help them be the best parents and caregivers that they can be.

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Angelina, far left, with a client family happy to receive her support.

Working in The Family Center’s Family Net/ Family Connections program as a Case Planner, Angelina knows that the struggles faced by families, who receive her support, can seem insurmountable.  Angelina feels particularly fulfilled in her work when a families reaches their treatment goals or when she can help them secure something that they really need.  In 2016, Angelina worked with her Family Center colleagues to connect a client family to the Modell’s/ Pix11 Toy Drive when NY Giants player Landon Collins was Santa for the kids.

Angelina lauds The Family Center for all the services that we offer struggling families.  She also credits the NYC Administration for Children Services, Family Net/ Family Connection’s funder, with having a wrap-around fund that helps families obtain much-needed material goods when their incomes are prohibitively low.

The Family Center is proud to have dedicated staff like Angelina in Family Net/ Family Connections.  While she would surely have been a good accountant, we know dozens of client families thankful that Angelina chose the social services industry.

Thank You for Listening

Family Center Social Worker Deborah Rosado received this letter of gratitude yesterday. We are always so touched by our clients’ thankfulness, as we see our work with New Yorkers and their families as a privilege. After all, they invite us into their homes and lives during some of the most difficult times. The courage demonstrated by our clients is profound -and yet so many are grateful to the point of tears. In this day and age, we can all listen to each other more -and be more grateful. At The Family Center, we are honored to listen to our clients -and to receive their gratitude.