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By Bill Baccaglini, President and CEO, The New York Foundling 

 

When actress Sandra Bullock revealed in People Magazine that she adopted her second child from foster care, it was not only a demonstration of her love and support for that child, but a reminder to the rest of us about the more than 100,000 children in the United States who are hoping someday to be adopted. Our society has made great strides toward moving children from congregate care settings into foster homes and ultimately into adopted homes, but there is much more that needs to be done.

 

To begin with, there is a tremendous need for more families to open their homes to foster children. These children need loving foster parents to care for them either for a transitional period or longer-term. In some cases, these children have been through a lot. Many have experienced some form of trauma at a very young age. Especially now, at holiday time, we should remember that for some youngsters, a safe and stable home to live in may be the most precious gift they can hope for.

 

As with most gifts, those who give also receive. Foster parents continually tell us what a blessing these children are and how spiritually rewarding it is to be able to bring them into their homes. In fact, through the New York Foundling’s foster care program, we’ve seen many foster parents taking in multiple children over time as they recognize the joy that flows through their homes with each new addition.

Even with the help of these wonderful foster families – and we certainly need more of them – we still need to do more. Some children are in foster care temporarily and are eventually able to return to their biological parents. But there are many for whom that is not an option. For some, they move from foster home to foster home, from school to school, from neighborhood to neighborhood – never sure how long they’re going to be in one place.

 

That’s why Sandra Bullock’s spotlight on this issue is so important, and coverage like the TODAY Show will help us continue the discussion. No matter how caring and devoted foster parents may be, adoption provides a unique type of gift. When a foster parent adopts a child, they are letting that child know they are part of a permanent family – for the rest of their lives.

 

Toniann Gelardo and her daughter, seven-year-old Shay Anabelle Gelardo, a Staten Island family featured in the TODAY Show’s coverage, made their family official after two years of fostering. “It is the most amazing feeling in the world,” says Ms. Gelardo. “The greatest accomplishment in my lifetime.”

 

Foster families will say that making their loving family permanent through adoption provides them as many rewards as it provides to their child. Giving a child stability and love – reading bedtime stories, tucking them into bed, cheering them on at sporting events or praising good grades – showing love in ways large and small – means everything. Adoption makes those moments permanent, can drive away fear, conquer uncertainty and help children recover from the trauma of their young lives. It lets them know they have a home.

Flamingo New York visited 3rd and 4th grade students at Mott Haven Academy in The Bronx last month and took them on an exciting field trip to THE POINT, a community development corporation dedicated to children. 

 

Haven ‘scholars’ had access to all the essential Arts & Crafts supplies any kid could ask for, and spent the afternoon drawing, painting and crafting with volunteers and staff from Flamingo New York.

 

Haven Academy Scholars.

Haven Academy Scholars.

 

Flamingo’s social purpose is cultural enrichment which is why they wanted to immerse Haven scholars into the thriving community culture THE POINT offers. THE POINT is dedicated to youth development, and cultural and economic revitalization of The Bronx, encouraging the celebration of life and art in the community, specifically in areas traditionally troubled by poverty and crime.

 

Established in 2008, Haven Academy serves 290 scholars in grades K-5 and 36 pre-kindergarten students. The school empowers children in an educational environment that addresses and reduces the barriers to academic success through the integration of family support services with a rigorous academic program. Graduates will be resilient, resourceful, independent scholars who have the skills necessary to reach their full potential and to build a better future.

The Foundling offers dynamic, progressive and evidence-based services and programs to 30,000 children and families each year. What makes our programs so unique and successful are our dedicated and committed employees and staff. Get to know the people inside our organization by reading our blog each week as we highlight a new staff member.  We’ll ask questions about their role at The Foundling, what their passions and hobbies are outside of the office, and recognize their achievements and accomplishments.

 

 

What are your major responsibilities at The Foundling?

My two major responsibilities at The Foundling are ensuring that all of our compliance requirements are met while on-boarding employees and overseeing employee relations for the Human Resources department. It is the area of my work where I can create solutions that can have a positive impact.

 

 

What inspires you most about working at The Foundling?

The team that I work with is my biggest source of inspiration. I strive to impart all the knowledge that I have and really enjoy us improving as a department.

 

 

What has driven you to be where you are today?

I have a commitment to excel at everything that I do and I get satisfaction from doing my best. Continually having a sense of accomplishment in all tasks—no matter the size is extremely important to me.

 

 

Who is your role model and what do you admire about them?

I don’t have a particular role model but there are a lot of people that I admire. The common quality that these people have would be compassion.

 

 

If you could take a trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Morocco would be my destination of choice because of the film Casablanca.

 

 

Tell us about the latest book you’re reading, or recently read?

I am currently reading “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins.

 

 

What is your spirit animal and why?

According to my roomie, Laurie, I am a tiger because I am “no holds barred.”

 

 

State a fun fact about yourself.

I am a proud member of Omega Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated.

 

 

Want to learn about other Foundling staff? You can meet some of our other employees on TheMuse.com.

My first few weeks at Spelman College were action packed and truly amazing. I was terrified of being 900 miles from home, yet it all worked out in my favor. The first ten days of my Spelman experience consisted of orientation activities: we weren’t apart of the Spelman family just yet—we had to learn the chants, the history, and what it actually means to be a Spelman woman.  At the end of those ten long days, we were inducted in to the 134th class of Spelman College!

 

This opportunity could not have been possible without the New York Foundling. They provided me with an amazing tutor through the Road to Success tutoring program who ensured I received the grades necessary to attend Spelman. Rachel (my tutor) helped read and reread, as well as edit and reedit my personal statement when I was applying to college. I couldn’t have done this without her support and encouragement.

 

The Foundling helped me achieve my goal of attending my dream school. Although it’s only the first semester of my freshmen year, I absolutely love it here. It feels like home, I’ve made wonderful friends and I genuinely enjoy my classes.

Today is #GivingTuesday, a worldwide celebration of generosity and telling others what causes and organizations matter to YOU!

 

The Foundling has a long history (146 years) of giving back to the community and helping children, families and individuals. Whether it’s placing a child into an adoptive home or ensuring that a struggling student doesn’t give up on themselves, The Foundling offers help where it is needed the most.

 

As The Foundling’s annual appeal video series continues, we invite you to meet Tajuana, a foster parent to her younger cousins with special needs. Please click on the image below to watch this short video.

 

 

Join The Foundling Family this #GivingTuesday and be a part of an organization that has been transforming lives every day since our founding in 1869.

 

 

Spread the news that you donated to @TheNYFoundling this #GivingTuesday with an announcement on your favorite social media page!

Thanksgiving is a time when family and friends gather to continue old traditions, start new ones and create memories that will last a lifetime. It’s a day filled with love, warmth and gratitude.

 

In the next installment of our video series, you’ll meet a woman named Judy and her son Manuel, age 14, who she recently adopted and hear about Manuel’s very special act of thankfulness.

 

 

We hope you’ll be inspired by Manuel’s act of kindness and contribute to our 2015 annual appeal.

 

The NY Foundling 2015 Annual Appeal Make a Donation

The Foundling offers dynamic and progressive services and programs to 30,000 children and families each year, but what makes each of our programs so unique and successful are our employees and staff.  Everyone who works at The Foundling is motivated, passionate, caring, creative, strong and goal-oriented.

 

Get to know the people inside our organization by reading our blog each week as we highlight a new staff member.  We’ll ask them questions about their role at The Foundling, what their passions and hobbies are outside of the office, and recognize their achievements and accomplishments.

 

What are your major responsibilities?

My major role is to provide administrative support to the Developmental Disabilities Division and our new program FOCUS-NICH which uses an Evidence Based model. Essentially, I am a part of two worlds here at the Foundling. I work directly with Jill Gentile our Senior Vice President in ensuring that our programs have everything they need to be successful day to day. I also work with the Evidence Based administrative staff to help bridge the gap between the two worlds.

 

How does your department help the people and communities we serve?

The Foundlings’ Developmental Disabilities Division provides respite, resources and supports to people with developmental disabilities. Our goal is to help them to live as independently as possible at home and in their communities. Our staff works with individuals by identifying their strengths and developing their personal goals to fulfill their dreams.

 

What has driven you to be where you are today?

I’ve always wanted to work for a nonprofit because I love helping those that are in need. Although I do not work directly with the individual, I can say that because of the success I bring to my programs we are connected in some way.

 

What inspires you most about working at The Foundling?

I loved the spirit that The New York Foundling has on reaching out to the community, lending a hand where needed and always looking for ways to connect to those who need us most.

 

Who is your role model?

I believe my mother is my biggest role model. She is the only person that knows me better than myself. She pushes me beyond my limits and without her I would not be here today.

 

If you could take a trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?

 I am a huge fan of pasta…so possibly Italy to taste the real deal.

 

Tell us about the latest book you’re reading?

As a huge Harry Potter fan, I find that I always have to read the series over and over again so that I always feel enrolled in Hogwarts.

 

What is your spirit animal and why?

I would say I am a deer. I am highly sensitive and have a strong intuition. I have the power to gracefully deal with challenges and I master the art of being both determined and gentle in my approach. I compare my ability to be vigilant, moving quickly and trusting my instincts with this animal.

 

State a fun fact about yourself.

I was a vocal performance major my first two years of school. I was classically trained as a lyric soprano.

 

Want to learn about other Foundling staff? You can meet some of our other employees on TheMuse.com

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This Thursday, The New York Foundling will present Judge Michael A. Corriero with its Lifetime Achievement Award for the work he has done to improve the juvenile justice system and change the course for hundreds of at-risk youth. He will be given the award at The Foundling’s first annual Fall Fête at The NoMad in New York City.

 

We’ve told you why we admire Cat Greenleaf, our Fall Fête emcee, and last week we shared what makes TD Bank so special. Today, we’re pleased to celebrate Judge Corriero and share why The Foundling loves him:

 

1. Judge Corriero was the first in his family to go to college. Then he went on to law school where he graduated at the top of his class.   His parents watched as he was appointed to the bench at the young age of 37.

 

2. No distance is too great for Judge Corriero to travel and share his knowledge, expertise and wisdom on developing juvenile justice programs. Sierra Leone, Australia, Peru, Israel and South Africa are just a few of many countries he has visited throughout his career.

 

3. Judge Corriero is committed to improving outcomes for youth involved in the juvenile justice system. Hundreds of at-risk youth have been given a second chance thanks to his work. (Read more about The Foundling’s Juvenile Justice Programs here.)

 

4. He served at the request of the former Chief Judge of New York State, Judith Kaye, on the New York State Permanent Commission on Justice for Children. He also served on Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Committee on the Judiciary and former Governor David Paterson’s Task Force on Transforming Juvenile Justice. He has previously served on the New York State Probation Commission Task Force.

 

5. Judge Corriero is a native New Yorker and grew up in Little Italy. Today he cruises the city streets wearing his signature fedora.

 

Hear more from Judge Corriero by clicking play! 

 

“Family” means different things to different people. We recently asked members of The Foundling community what words they would use to describe family. We invite you to watch this brief video below to see what they said.

 

 

Supporting familiesin their many different formsis just one of the ways The New York Foundling helps empower people to live their best lives. Over the next several weeks, we’ll be sharing success stories from our clients and introducing you to some of the people who make these stories possible. 

 
We encourage you to contribute to our 2015 annual appeal to help us transform even more lives. 

 

The NY Foundling 2015 Annual Appeal Make a Donation

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest” – Benjamin Franklin

 

The generosity of our friends & donors allow us to continue to fulfill our 146-year-old mission of empowering children & families throughout New York & Puerto Rico. Thank you for investing in these efforts with a gift to our annual appeal. Together, we can empower New Yorkers to build their own successful & happy futures. Click the link to make a donation: /donate/