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NY Foundling Halloween PSA

Halloween should be “spooky” in all the fun ways for you and your little ones! Below are some easy tips to keep the fun “creeping” and “crawling,” because when we put safety first, the fun always follows!

 

  • Have a full, healthy meal before Trick-or-Treating, there will be less room to fill up on junk food that way.

 

  • To avoid slips and trips, make sure all costumes are fitted correctly. Masks, gowns, shoes, or capes that are too big or long may hinder your vision or lead to a serious wipe out!

 

  • Carry a flash light, or use reflective tape on costumes so you are visible to cars, cyclists and other Trick-or-Treaters!

 

  • Adults should accompany children and create a safe route. If your child is older, create check-in points for them and their group of friends to build independence while keeping everyone safe. Agree on specific meeting times and locations. No one should be alone on Halloween.

 

  • Only Trick-or-Treat at homes that clearly welcome Trick-or-Treaters. 

 

 

  • Inform your child to be aware of strangers and never follow a stranger into their home or car.

 

  • Go over again with children on how to call 9-1-1 in case of an emergency or in case they get lost. Make sure children know their home address and know their parent/guardian’s phone number as well.

 

  • Wait until you’re at home to enjoy all the candy you collected. Have an adult inspect each piece to make sure it has no tears in the wrapper and it has not been tampered with. Homemade treats should not be accepted during Trick-or-Treating.

 

  • Don’t forget to brush your teeth after eating sugary candy!

 

Cat Greenleaf is a mom, wife, adoption advocate, exceptionally loyal friend, city dweller, country girl, avid pet collector, real estate dabbler, CEO, and Emmy Award-winning host of Talk Stoop with Cat Greenleaf.

 

Cat is also the emcee of The Foundling’s first annual Fall Fête coming up on November 19 at The NoMad in New York City!  

 

We love Cat for so many reasons, but here are our top five:

 

1. Cat is an adoptive mother to Primo (age 6) and Truman (age 3). She believes that every child should have a loving and supportive family—and a place to call home. Cat had always planned on adopting children after learning at age 4 that her sister was adopted.

 

2. She lives in New York City—in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, and uses her brownstone’s stoop as the backdrop for her television show.

 

3. Cat has four adorable rescue dogs (many of you may recognize Gracie, her English bulldog turned co-host!).

 

4. She created a company called LUST, an acronym for Look Up Stop Texting. The LUST mission is to encourage people to put the phone down, look up, and LIVE.

 

5. Cat is a true role model for women, proving that passion combined with grit and perseverance can lead to success.

 

Don’t miss your chance to meet Cat at The Foundling’s Fall Fête.

 

Tickets, digital advertisements and sponsorship packages are still available and can be purchased here.

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 them questions about their role at The Foundling, what their passions and hobbies are outside of the office, and recognize their achievements and accomplishments.

 

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

Our goal in foster care is to achieve permanency by having children return to the care of their parents. When that is not possible, kinship guardianship and adoption are the next best possible options. It’s important to put supports in place for the family and children, so hopefully, the children do not return to foster care. We encourage and nurture adolescents in Independent Living by helping them with school, work and housing

 

What are your major responsibilities?

As the Assistant Vice President, I oversee six Clinical Supervisors at two sites (Bronx and North Manhattan) where I provide clinical oversight for the cases of the children and families in our foster care program. I work with teams to assess safety, risks and to facilitate permanency for the children and families in our care. I also work to foster staff development.

 

What I enjoy most about working at The Foundling is the opportunity to be a part of a team that is committed to providing the support and hope that our children and families need during their most vulnerable times. It’s extremely important to keep my staff motivated and to ensure that they have the tools they need to successfully fulfill their roles.

 

How did you become an Assistant Vice President at The Foundling?

I started at the Foundling as an intern with Blue Sky, a Juvenile Justice Initiative program. I worked with youth as a Skills Coach and then an Individual Therapist as part of the TFCO treatment team (TFCO is Treatment Foster Care Oregon; it is an evidence based model of foster care). I also worked as Resource Specialist, identifying and developing relationships with community providers to support our families in receiving needed supports and remaining connected to their communities.  

 

I was then a supervisor with The Foundling’s PINS Division (Persons In Need of Supervision) at its inception and worked directly with youth and their families participating in treatment foster care. I moved into a role with the Implementation Support Center that allowed me to provide support to programs internally and with other New York City agencies implementing evidenced based practices, including the implementation of Youth Development Skills Coaching with our Family Foster Care teams.

 

Given the opportunity to work with the foster care teams directly led me to want to move closer to the direct practice and I was motivated by the hard work and commitment of the teams. I started as a Program Director and moved into the role of Assistant Vice President in 2014.

 

What inspires you most about working at The Foundling?

I am grateful to the New York Foundling as it has built me up professionally, as well as personally. The Foundling has provided me with the opportunity to take on different roles and learn about various programs; I have had the opportunity to learn and grow from strong leaders, and to develop my clinical and leadership skills. The Foundling embraces a strength based approach that supports the children and families we work with, and helps them reach success.

 

Tell us about a case or family that was successful.

A mother and her son were separated when the mother was unable to care for the child because she was mentally ill. The mother worked extremely hard and used Foundling resources to make safety plans and reestablish relationships with family members. It was not an easy road but she committed herself to getting her son back. Recently, the son had his final discharge from Foster Care and is now back with his mother!

 

What makes this case a success is the fact that the mother took small steps toward her goal and did not give up. It’s our job to ensure the safety of the child while recognizing the effort the family makes, meeting them in the middle, and helping them figure it all out to really show them it can all work out. Many of the families are not used to receiving help—they are used to disappointment and roadblocks. But being able to not give up on them is really important. With this type of progress we are able to send a number of children back to their homes and that is a success.

 

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

I would go back to Florence, Italy. I studied there for a summer during college and loved it! Florence has great food and wine and a very rich culture.

 

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

I recently read “The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who left Newark for the Ivy League” by Jeff Hobbs, who was Robert Peace’s college roommate. It is about a young man, who had a rough childhood with many bad influences, but he and his mother fought to get him into catholic schooling, and eventually he ended up at Yale. But he had trouble balancing the world he came from and the world he came into.

 

What is your spirit animal?

My spirit animal is a butterfly because I’ve gone through a lot of changes in my roles at Foundling and I continue to develop my skills and grow in my position.

 

 

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

Written by Foundling Guest Blogger, Stephanie Kearns, Vice President of Business Operations

 

In recognition of National Special Needs Month I’ll be sharing a series of blog postings about special needs and severe allergies with the help of peer parents who live with these fears or challenges every day.

 

Most people don’t know I had an older sister, Audrey, with special needs. She suffered with Cornelia de Lange syndrome at birth and fought to live until she succumbed to cancer and other serious complications at 8 years old. I was only 7. I loved my sister deeply but her presence and challenges were extremely tough for a little kid learning how to fit in and I often didn’t know how to approach people to let them know “it’s OK, she is just a little different!”

 

During her time on earth and after she died, I found myself fighting against stereotypes, going out of my way to talk to friends and strangers who had special needs, and advocating to eradicate the misused word “retarded” from my generation’s vocabulary. Different is intimidating and uncomfortable to most people and everyone has a different response to the idea of different, which can often times be perceived as dismissive and hurtful.

 

I have always found that the best way to respond to this is kindness, empathy, and warmth. In recognition of National Special Needs and National Down Syndrome Awareness Month this blog posting is written with the hope that at least one person will better understand special needs and find a way to connect their child with another child as a friend and equal peer who has special needs.

 

For this next posting, I conducted an interview with Megan Mennes a parent and English teacher and writer. I virtually met Megan after coming across a viral news story and immediately followed her Instagram and blog series, Define Crazy. I love and admire Megan’s open and honest writing, and the way she makes special needs familiar to all walks of life. I also recommend parents connect with Kids Included Together to learn about local opportunities to connect kids with and without special needs for activities in your community.

 

When was your child diagnosed with Down syndrome and how did you discover the diagnosis?

We learned Quinn would be born with Down syndrome when I was 24 weeks pregnant. We took one of the new noninvasive prenatal tests that measures fetal DNA in the mother’s bloodstream. While the test is not technically diagnostic, it detects Down syndrome pregnancies with 99.8% accuracy. Because the test was so new, part of us felt like it was incorrect; nevertheless, we prepared to have a child with Down syndrome, and we did.

 

What lifestyle changes have you made to adapt to living and raising a child with special needs?

My first instinct was to say that our lifestyle hasn’t changed since having Quinn, but that’s not entirely true. We are lucky enough to live in Houston, Texas, home to the world-renowned Rise School, a preschool for children with developmental disabilities. When Quinn was born, though, we lived on the opposite end of town (in a neighborhood we didn’t like all that much, to be honest). So we moved closer to downtown and, by extension, The Rise School. We love our trendy new neighborhood with its bungalows, coffee shops, and boutiques. We likely wouldn’t have moved here if Quinn didn’t have Down syndrome, so in a way, we actually have that extra chromosome to thank for our current living situation!

 

What are your biggest fears related to this and how do you cope?

My biggest fears for Quinn exist not in his academic success and opportunities. I know the law thanks to my years as a public school teacher and my Master’s degree in Education, and I will wield that knowledge like a sword to ensure that Quinn gets what he needs and deserves academically. But will he have friends? Will the other kids tease him? Will he be the only kid with Down syndrome in his kindergarten class? Will he have dates to the school dances? Be invited to slumber parties? And if he does, will it be out of pity or true friendship? These questions haunt me and keep me up at night.

 

How do you communicate your child’s special needs to your friends, family, other parents and caregivers?

So much of Quinn’s life is spent in the presence of other kids with Down syndrome that this hasn’t really come up yet. When it does, I’ll stress the fact that, when interacting with Quinn, we should presume competence. He is bright, curious, social, and able to do most things that other kids his age can do. It might take him a little longer, but he’ll get it. And if he doesn’t, don’t dismiss him. Work with him until he gets it right.

 

What could you not do that other parents whose children don’t have special needs can do? Nothing! Our life hasn’t changed much since Quinn was born. I still work, he still goes to school, his siblings still get all the attention they deserve, and our lives are so much more “normal” than I ever thought it would be when we received his diagnosis.

 

What kind of support is helpful to you? Do you rely on friends and family for any particular kind of support?

The support of other moms who are raising kids with Down syndrome is invaluable. Not only can they help me understand developmental delays, mysterious medical questions, and Medicaid waivers, but they are also there as a system of support. I’ve met some of my closest friends since having Quinn; the special needs community is like a family and we’re all here to support one another.

 

Tell me an experience you have had, if any, with a difficult friend or family member who didn’t understand how to engage with your child or offer the support you need? How did you help redirect them?

I’ve been immensely fortunate in that our family and friends have been nothing but supportive and have always properly engaged my child. We have had to share the importance of “people-first language,” meaning that we prefer to refer to Quinn as a child with Down syndrome, rather than a “Down syndrome child.” The latter implies that Quinn is defined by his disability. While it is a part of who he is, he is also so much more. But these are lessons I had to teach myself when I began this journey, so I aim to educate and avoid taking offense when someone with good intentions misspeaks.

 

What are the common misconceptions or misunderstandings about children with special needs? Include any inaccurate vocabulary or derogatory words.

My biggest fear with Quinn is that people will see him and automatically judge his abilities before even getting to know him. Just like typically-developing children, individuals with Down syndrome are complex and talented in many different ways. Assuming that he is a “retard,” that he can’t learn, that he won’t understand the feeling of being judged or left out is both ignorant and hurtful.

 

What are the top three ways other parents can embrace differences and shed discomfort with the unfamiliar?

1. Educate yourself. Meet other families raising children with disabilities. If you have questions, ask!

2. Educate others. Be open with your children when they encounter someone who looks, speaks, or acts differently. To avoid this discussion suggests you are ashamed of that person’s differences.

3. Take time to get to know us. Sure, we’re a family raising a child with special needs, but that doesn’t make us alien. Invite us to the birthday party or the play date.

 

*Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The New York Foundling, its funders, regulators, donors and/or employees.

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 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?

Being a Strategic Partnerships & Communications Coordinator means I get to wear a lot of different hats, and am able to partake in an abundance of assorted tasks varying from researching/ brainstorming for upcoming events and projects, to interviewing and writing pieces for The Foundling’s Blog, and much, much more.  In any area the Communications Team needs support; I am happily there to help!  I like to make things happen, and in Communications there’s always a new project to start and to carry out—there’s never a dull moment and I truly enjoy the ever changing atmosphere.

 

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

We help The Foundling community by voicing the importance of our programs and events to the public in creative and informative ways.  We also raise awareness and spread valuable information/protocols within our staff sphere. It is our job to make sure the Foundling’s mission is accessible and well known.

 

What has driven you to be where you are today?

I have been on my own since I was 16 years old, and I have always had a lot of fight in me to better myself and succeed. I have experienced how cruel and unfair the world can be, but I have also been extremely lucky to not be jaded by those events and still be open to life’s adventures and beauty. Every challenge you encounter and every person you meet is a new opportunity to show the world you are a strong, intelligent, and a capable force! Hard work accompanied by a good attitude will always lead you in the right direction. With that stance I have been able to advance from being an intern at the Foundling to a staff member, while also going back to school and making the Dean’s List within one year. I can’t wait to see what the future holds because I’m just starting to rev up! 

 

What inspires you most about working at The Foundling?

What inspires me most about working at The Foundling is that we as a community and institution are able to provide the instruments that enable people to direct and better their own lives. The Foundling offers services that produce hope and gives the flexibility needed to allow change to occur favorably.  When seeking help from the Foundling, one is not alone; in fact you are empowered by a whole group of people who want to help you help yourself, your family, and your community.

 

Who is your role model?

I have never had just one role model! Throughout my life, I have taken aspects of important people within it and I have taken those elements with me. For instance, I admire my Mother for her tenacity, I admire my big brother for his charisma, I admire my husband for his determination—and I don’t know her personally, but  I admire Tina Fey for being hilarious! Between all these people, I have made up some deity form that I hope to be like one day. 

 

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

One place I have always wanted to travel to is Iceland. I would love to experience the beauty of the Aurora Borealis, take a swim in the hot springs, and look out onto its dynamic landscapes of glaciers and rolling green hills—Oh, and see some icebergs!

 

Tell us about the latest book you’re reading?

I am currently reading “Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence: From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror” by Judith Herman, MD.  To say the least, it is not a light read, but I enjoy tying my leisurely reading to what I am studying in my school/work life. I find it very beneficial.

 

What is your spirit animal and why?

I see myself as a Gorilla as I am highly sociable, loving, and playful. But I am also incredibly strong and a force to be reckoned with.

 

State a fun fact about yourself.

In my senior year of high school, I was the lead female role in my senior class’s production of the musical “Pippin”.  I had never sung out of the shower before, let alone in front of another human being, so that was quite the experience!

 

Want to learn about other Foundling staff?

You can meet some of our other employees on TheMuse.com.

Written by Foundling Guest Blogger, Stephanie Kearns, Vice President of Business Operations.

 

In recognition of National Special Needs Month I’ll be sharing a series of blog postings about special needs and severe allergies with the help of peer parents who live with these fears or challenges every day.

 

Last weekend my family and I explored the local street fair for some weekend fun and tasty treats. As the day went on I noticed my daughter was covered in angry red hives triggered by an unknown cause. My stomach jumped into my throat as I tried to remain calm for her sake and run through the checklist of things to do when your child has an allergic reaction. After rushing her home to shower her off and administer an antihistamine, the hives faded away and she went on with her merry day. It ended up being a minor allergic reaction but that split second of fear is a moment I’ll never forget like all moments when you feel helpless as a parent. This is nothing compared to the life threatening reality of severe food allergies.

 

My first interview was conducted with Kristen Rutter whose own child, Giuliana (age 4) is severely allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. Kristen is an attorney turned Stay-at-Home Mom.

 

When was your child diagnosed and how did you discover the diagnosis?

She was diagnosed right after her second birthday. She had an anaphylactic reaction within minutes of eating her first bite of peanut butter. We immediately dialed 911 and she was transported via ambulance to the hospital, where she stayed for observation for five hours after the initial reaction. She was given a shot of epinephrine, a shot of anti-histamines and was sent home with a week’s worth of steroids. Knowing what I know now about food allergies, I consider us very lucky. We are so thankful we knew enough about food allergies that we dialed 911 right away. We had follow-up appointments with her pediatrician and a board certified pediatric allergist for further food allergy testing right away. 

 

What lifestyle changes have you made to adapt to living and raising a child with this condition?

Food allergies affect every aspect of our lives. The changes we have made are too numerous to list. The most obvious change is that we don’t keep any peanuts or tree nuts in our house. We also don’t purchase or use any products that may contain nuts or that are manufactured with nuts. We read every label of every product that we provide to our daughter and we have a strict non-sharing policy regarding food and drinks. We are very careful about where we eat out. We take our own food to many places and events including birthday parties, holiday parties, sporting events, the movies, school events and fieldtrips, etc. I make Giuliana’s lunch to take to school every single day. We have Epi-Pens in various locations including our home, grandparents’ houses, school, and a two pack in my purse at all times.

 

What are your biggest fears related to this condition and how do you cope?

My biggest fear is unmentionable. Food allergies are life threatening. There is no way to predict how severe a reaction will be. Every reaction has the potential to be life threatening. I am fearful that she may be bullied or made fun of because of her allergies. I am fearful that as she gets older, she might engage in risky behavior with unsafe foods because she wants to fit in. I am scared that she may not always carry her Epi-Pens with her when she starts to self-carry. My fears and concerns will change throughout her life as she enters and exits stages and ages. But my biggest fear will always remain the same. I am scared that one day, one bite could take her life.

 

How do you communicate the condition to other parents and caregivers, namely those parents in the child’s class or activity spaces (i.e. extracurricular activities)

I always tell teachers, instructors and other parents about her allergy and that she absolutely cannot eat or share any food or drinks with anyone. The rule is that she eats what we bring and that’s it. I will make an exception if I have spoken to a teacher or parent in advance and they have purchased and brought something that I know for a fact is safe for her, but all of that research and those conversations are conducted in advance. The rules are always clear-cut and we don’t make last minute or spur of the moment decisions. I talk about the signs of an allergic reaction and make sure that anyone who is supervising her knows what to look for, knows where her Epi-Pens are located, and knows how to administer them and what to do in the event of a reaction.

 

With all of the parties, celebrations, going away, welcome events, how do you ensure they are free of the allergen in question and do you take any measures to check?

The most important thing I do is call and speak to the host/hostess well in advance of the party or event. I learned to do that the hard way. There have been two occasions that I forgot to call in advance and one was a baby shower that, unbeknownst to me, was candy themed, and another was a birthday party that had PB&J sandwiches for all the kids. Both were very difficult situations to deal with. Now, I ALWAYS call the host/hostess before any event, no matter how big or small, to ask what is being served or if there is a party theme, etc. That way I make sure Giuliana has options that are safe and that make her feel included. If an event is being catered or is at a restaurant, I call the catering company or restaurant and ask them questions. I often make all of our own desserts for events and parties.

 

Do you have any limitations on what your child can or can’t do as a precaution from preventing an encounter with this trigger?

We do our absolute best to make sure Giuliana is included and able to participate with her family and friends in activities, events, fieldtrips, and whatever else she may be interested in. There really isn’t anything she can’t do without a little preparation, research and maybe some substitution. With planning, we have successfully managed parties, trips to the movies, play dates, school lunches, picnics, eating out, traveling, and even plane trips. We have gotten a lot of support from family and friends along the way.

 

Tell me an experience you have had, if any, with an uncooperative or dismissive parent who excluded your child’s from an event or activity due to her allergy?

I have heard nightmarish stories but I must say, we have never had a downright bad experience. Most uncomfortable or difficult situations have stemmed from my lack of planning in the past or from another parent’s misunderstanding or lack of knowledge regarding the severity of food allergies. I have not yet had (and hopefully will never have) an encounter with another parent who has blatantly disregarded the safety of my child or been dismissive and excluded her from something. We consider ourselves to be very compassionate people and try our best to surround ourselves with others who are compassionate and strive for the safety and inclusion of all children. 

 

What are the common misconceptions or misunderstandings about children with serious allergic conditions? Include any inaccurate vocabulary or derogatory words.

I think there is a definite lack of understanding regarding food allergies. Even I don’t know it all! Some people don’t understand that food allergies can kill. They think that a child might just get a stomachache, or a rash when exposed to their allergen. Many people don’t understand that food allergies are different from food intolerances. I will say it again, food allergies are life threatening.

 

A lot of people think that the amount of the allergen eaten has a direct affect on how severe a reaction will be. For example, someone might think that putting sugar cookies on a plate next to peanut butter cookies is okay because the sugar cookies don’t contain peanuts and how could one crumb kill someone? But it’s true, even the smallest trace amount of a person’s allergen could cause a reaction. That is why you hear talk about avoiding products that don’t even contain nuts but are just manufactured on the same lines as another product that does. Also, food proteins are sticky! Using hand sanitizer will not remove peanut residue from your hands. That is also a common misconception. Proper hand washing is a must. That also goes for cleaning surfaces, dishes and utensils, as well.

 

What are the top 3 goodies that a parent can produce at lunches, parties, or events that ensure your child doesn’t encounter these triggers?

Non-food favors! With any treats or edible food and drink, definitely talk to the child’s parent. What I would consider safe is not necessarily what another parent would consider safe based on their child’s needs and restrictions. Non-food favors/goodies are a great way to ensure every child is safely included. Pinterest is a great resource for finding different favor/craft/party ideas based on the celebration, whether it be a birthday party or holiday. Aside from talking directly to the child’s parent in advance and including non-edible goodies, look for brands that are top-8 allergen free, like Enjoy Life Foods. And then talk to the parent about providing something like that. Did I mention, talk to the child’s parents?

 

What about travelling? How do you go on plane trips, hotels, or even restaurant outings and ensure your child is safe?

It takes a lot of planning but we have done all of the above successfully! We try to be as prepared as possible. I always carry safe snacks in my purse so that we are never in a bind. We take a lot of our own food. With restaurants and resorts/hotels, I call in advance and talk to a manager about their food prep practices and feel out their level of knowledge regarding food allergies. When we fly, we take wipes and ask to board planes early to wipe down the seats we are assigned to. Sometimes the flight attendants will make an announcement regarding having a passenger with a severe allergy on board and sometimes they won’t. We have experienced both scenarios. We always have two Epi-Pens with us at all times.

 

What are the top 3 tips you would tell parents who do not have a child with a serious allergic trigger to best accommodate a child who does?

  1. Talk to the child’s parent. Find out what the child is allergic to and what their family rules are regarding food and drink. Ask how you can help safely include them.

 

  1. Try new products and substitutions! There are so many substitutions for things these days, like SunButter instead of peanut butter, or rice milk instead of cow’s milk. Introduce some of these products to your non-allergic children and explain why you are doing so. Children are naturally compassionate and want to keep their friends safe. You may also find that they love a certain product that is safe for their friend with food allergies. Everybody wins.

 

  1. Do your best to safely include children with food allergies. A few weeks ago, my daughter had her blood drawn for her annual food allergy testing. It was a very rough morning and a difficult blood draw. We left the lab in tears and she was so sad, disheartened and down. Giuliana had swimming lessons afterward and when we got to the pool, a friend of ours who was there with her three boys had brought some nut-free fruit gummy snacks for the kids for after the lesson. When Giuliana asked if she could partake in the after swim treat and the other mom told her they were nut-free (and I verified of course), her whole demeanor changed. Something as simple as another mom bringing nut-free fruit gummies for the kids turned her entire day around. When you safely include a child with food allergies, you do more than just keep them safe. You make them feel loved, included and accepted.

 

Lastly, what are your expectations from other parents when it comes to packing lunches, carpooling, and field trips? Do you restrict your child’s attendance or blast communication and confirm everyone got the message?

I don’t expect anything. I have hope that other parents will be mindful and considerate when packing lunches. The most important thing I can do is maintain open, honest and respectful communication with other parents so that I am better able to prepare for and ensure my child’s safety in any given set of circumstances or in any given environment. So actually, yes, I suppose I do expect that: open, honest and respectful communication

 

*Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The New York Foundling, its funders, regulators, donors and/or employees.

 

The information contained within this article is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only.

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 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 at The Foundling?

My department’s main goal is to hire exceptional employees that will go above and beyond to serve children, families and individuals. As a Human Resources Generalist at the Foundling, my major responsibilities include recruiting and being our employee’s main point of contact for any issues and concern that they may have. The best part of my job is the ability to meet so many different people who are so inspired by what The Foundling does, and who want to become a part of our organization.

 

What inspires you most about working at The Foundling?

The Foundling serves so many different communities—from foster children to young moms to individuals with developmental disabilities. Simply knowing that in some small way, my involvement with how our clients are ultimately taken care of inspires me!

 

What has driven you to be where you are today?

My parents have driven me to be where I am today. They have always showed me unconditional support in whatever it was that I wanted to do. They have always told me to follow my heart and I will succeed, and I have to say so far they have been 100 percent right!

 

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

My role model is my mother. She is the well-oiled machine that keeps my family going. She is one of the most loving, caring, and humble people I have ever met. I hope one day that I can be half the mother and wife that my mom is to me, my father and brother.

 

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

I have been fortunate enough throughout my life to travel to many beautiful places, both domestic and abroad. If I could take a trip anywhere in the world, I would want to go to Turks and Caicos. I have always wanted to go here, because it is an absolutely beautiful island and would be an amazing place to just relax and unwind. 

 

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

I have recently finally finished “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn. I have not allowed myself to see the movie because I was in the middle of the book. I am excited that I have finally finished it, simply for the fact that I can now watch the movie.

 

What is your spirit animal and why?

I would say that my spirit animal is a bear. Bears are playful and tough, as well as maternal and nurturing to their young. I believe I’m fun and can be tough when needed, and I am certainly the “mom” of my group of friends.

 

Want to learn about other Foundling staff?

You can meet some of our other employees on TheMuse.com.

The New York Foundling has been selected as a finalist for the 2015 New York Community Trust Nonprofit Excellence Awards.  The announcement was made by the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York (NPCC), which created and manages the nine-year-old Excellence Awards program.

 

A selection committee of 34 nonprofit management experts chose The Foundling as one of six finalists from a list of 10 semifinalists following an intensive application and vetting process that identifies excellent and replicable management practices among nonprofits in New York City, Long Island and Westchester. A total of 56 organizations applied for the 2015 Awards. Three winning organizations will be announced and honored at ceremony in November.

 

“We are honored to be among the six finalists for the Excellence Awards,” said Bethany Lampland, Chief Operating Officer at The Foundling.  “Our commitment to effective and efficient management practices enables us to provide essential services and programs to 30,000 children and families each year.”

 

“The New York Community Trust is proud to honor nonprofit groups with outstanding management practices,” said Lorie Slutsky, President of The New York Community Trust, one of the region’s leading funders of nonprofits. “These six finalists offer examples of management excellence for the more than 40,000 nonprofits in New York City and its suburbs.”

 

The Excellence Awards program has attracted more than 685 applicants from across the city and its suburbs in its first nine years.

 

Click here to learn more

Congratulations and kudos to the approximately 30,000 people who participated in Sunday’s 14th annual Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk!  At the finish line, participants are greeted with cheers, smiles and giveaways from volunteers, and this year, from The Foundling’s staff and Junior Board as well. Among the giveaways were temporary tattoos which displayed The Foundling’s iconic “huggy” logo in bright red. Armed with spray bottles and other supplies, volunteers were busy all morning helping runners and walkers debut their tattoos and passing out information on the work that we do.
 
This annual event is now in its 14th year and was created to honor the heroic life and untimely death of Stephen Siller, a New York City firefighter who lost his life on 9/11 after strapping on his gear (more than 60 lbs) and running through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the Twin Towers.  
 
Staff at the 2013 Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk
Staff at the 2013 Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk
 
 
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation is an organization that supports victims of 9/11, families who lost their loves ones in the attacks, local children who have lost a parent or both parents, and veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.  Tunnel to Towers is a longtime friend of The Foundling and we wouldn’t miss the opportunity to attend this event and demonstrate our mutual support!
 
Staff and volunteers from The Foundling look forward to this event each year. It’s a chance to connect with fellow New Yorkers and answer questions about the programs and services The Foundling provides across New York City. Many thanks to the Siller family and the Tunnel to Towers Foundation for including The Foundling in the finish line festivities this year!

SAVE-THE-DATE: Interested in joining The Foundling’s Junior Board? Come to an information session on October 5 where you can meet current members, ask questions and learn more about the work we do to support children and families throughout New York City.

 

Last weekend The Foundling launched its new Digital Inclusion Program which will help narrow the digital divide that exists between foster youth and their peers in New York City. Computer classes were held at The Foundling’s West Village Location and will take place throughout the fall.  Each participant receives a free computer and Internet access in their homes for four years.

 

Less than 50 percent of former New York City foster youth are employed within four years of emancipation—and only 3 percent of foster kids nationwide graduate from college. These are startling facts and something must be done to stop this cycle. For this reason, The Foundling has chosen to focus its efforts on digital inclusion through two unique programs.

 

The first program is available to foster youth ages 12+ and teaches basic computer and internet skills. Foster parents are encouraged to participate as well, and can use these newly acquired skills to enhance their own digital and tech abilities. The program includes a series of three classes which consist of a curriculum developed by The Knowledge House, a Bronx-based, tech organization. This program will empower foster youth and give them the tools they need to excel in school and beyond.

 

The second initiative is a workforce development program for highly motivated youth interested in technology. The Foundling will identify candidates from eight foster care agencies (collectively serving more than 40 percent of the New York City’s foster population) and enroll them in one of three tech vocational organizations: Per Scholas, Year Up or General Assembly.

 

Benefits of this program include: a laptop computer, access to tutors knowledgeable in their course content, opportunities for mentorship with professionals in technology, a peer support group, access to social service supports (e.g., help with housing needs, child care, relationship difficulties, etc.) and enhanced job placement services.

 

“Our first-of-its-kind workforce program aims to close the tech employment gap with young adults who face huge barriers to finding jobs, who bring unexplored ideas and experiences to tech and who are motivated to work hard in this field,” said The Foundling’s Chief Operating Officer, Bethany Lampland, who developed both pilot programs.

 

Want to learn more? Check out this article about our new program which was featured in Metro New York.