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Nyyim

Nyyim, a young adult in our TFFC Foster Care program, had an interest in the military since the age of 7 – and with the support of The Foundling, he completed his school’s ROTC program and became a US Marine this summer! Joseph Alexander, a Foundling staff member who has worked with Nyyim over the past two years, attended his boot camp graduation ceremony. “I was able to witness one of the most amazing young men I’ve ever known accomplish the dream that has carried him through a rather difficult childhood,” he shared.

Vernon DD

The Foundling employs a full-time Nutrition team to ensure that the residents in our homes for people with developmental disabilities stay healthy – from nutritious meal planning to regular exercise courses.  Across all of our 104 supportive residences, staff and residents are encouraged to try new recipes and bolster their cooking skills. With the help of our dedicated staff, Vernon, who lives in one of our residences in Brooklyn, learned to cook his own healthy meal of oatmeal blueberry pancakes! Not only is he learning skills for independence, but is achieving the tools and mindset to stay healthy for years to come.

Elizabeth

For many people with developmental disabilities, it can be difficult to express oneself through language and actions. In our Day Habilitation programs, we work to elevate the voices of our participants, and provide them with meaningful tools for self-expression and fulfillment. Through art workshops – from photography to poetry – many of our participants found that art provided a novel way to truly share their voices and experiences with the world. “Art makes me feel terrific and excellent,” says Elizabeth, who shared many of her photographs in our 2022 art exhibition. “I feel happy. I learned about myself.”

 

 

 

 

Adeola

As a person with developmental disabilities living in one of our residences, Adeola faced a number of difficulties in achieving her goals. Like many young people, Adeola has always wanted to find employment, go to college, and become independent—but she struggled to find pathways to achieve this on her own, and felt stagnant in her life trajectory. Over the past three years, however, she’s discovered an incredible support system within The Foundling—and her future is bright.

After joining our Employment Services program, she began to learn important job skills and gained experience through volunteering. After a year and a half of intensive training, she now works part-time as an Administrative Assistant. The program continues to influence her continued success—she regularly reviews her notes to brush up on skills, and Foundling staff continue to provide workplace guidance as needed. At the same time, Adeola is pursuing her education. She’s a full-time college student, working toward her bachelor’s degree in Disability Studies. The Foundling has been proactive in ensuring that she take advantage of all resources available to her, and she’s succeeding in the final year of her studies. As an aspiring artist, she hopes to one day teach art to others.

Adeola never would’ve imagined she’d be where she is today—and now, she is living the life she dreamed.

Nitegua

Caring for a newborn and a toddler is a lot to handle in the best of times, but COVID-19 has posed even more challenges for young families. During the height of the pandemic, Nitegua – a mother of two infant children, Najay and Nellieann, in the Bronx – faced new pressures in balancing pandemic safety measures with childcare and necessary household tasks.

As a resilient and dedicated mother, Nitegua was willing to do whatever it took to best provide for her family’s needs—and when she began her work with Strengthening our Families, she had access to a new support system that was there to help.

Her Founding coach, Melanie, provided resources and support to improve her family’s stability—GED classes for her husband, guidance as she worked to secure better housing, and more. With Melanie’s help, Nitegua enhanced her budgeting and household management skillsets, and was able to move into a new apartment that fit her family’s needs. Now, her family is doing great—Najay (now 2) and Nellieann (now 1 ½) are thriving, and Nitegua is proud of the strides that she’s been able to make over the past year. “[The Foundling] helped me execute the plans I had in place to move my family forward,” she says.

Michelle and Liv

As a transgender woman with developmental disabilities, Michelle had spent most of her life struggling to access the gender-affirming care she needed. But after coming to live at one of our supportive residences two years ago, she was finally able to take the steps to live as her true self. The dedicated Foundling staff at Michelle’s home provided her with crucial support throughout her transition process – helping her navigate the healthcare system, update her identification documents, and more.  When asked to provide advice for others in the LGBTQ+ community, she shared that it’s important to “make sure they have the right people around to help.” At The Foundling, Michelle found just that – and is now on her way to living her best life and reaching her full potential!

Sitan

As a 19-year-old in foster care, Sitan had already faced a lifetime’s worth of challenges when she gave birth to her daughter in April 2020. But the added stress of managing life as a new parent — during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic — made her struggles feel insurmountable. Her foster care team saw that Sitan needed more help, and connected her with our Mental Health Services department.

Through therapy, Sitan learned breathing exercises and coping mechanisms, and now tackles her challenges one day at a time. Additionally, The Foundling helped her make important steps toward independence— she secured daycare for her daughter, rented her own apartment, and has found a full-time job. She now has the stability to provide for her daughter, and is optimistic for the future ahead.

Marquise and Khristian

Marquise was struggling academically, found it difficult to focus on life goals, and was often distrustful and distant around others — including his foster mother. Then he joined The Foundling’s Road to Success tutoring program. Once realizing that his tutor, Khristian, was there to help him, Marquise began to open up and see new possibilities. Marquise and his tutor formed a close bond, and while Khristian provided life-changing academic support, he also became Marquise’s friend and mentor. And their relationship did more than improve Marquise’s grades. He has more confidence, and his relationship with his foster mother has completely changed for the better. Now, Marquise is on track in his high school courses, and is excited to plan for higher education and beyond.

Bianca and her Family

Bianca, now a mother of three, came to The Foundling’s Early Head Start Center in San Juan when she learned she was pregnant with her first son, Kermitt, for pre-natal guidance and parent resources and support. Working in partnership with Head Start specialists, Bianca later learned that Kermitt had mild attention deficit challenges. Kermitt began to receive the services and help he needed to succeed in school.

Now 10 years old, Kermitt is on the Honor Roll in school, and Bianca’s two younger daughters are currently receiving support and services through Head Start as well. Thanks to the Head Start program, Bianca’s three children are thriving today—and she is too.

Nina

When Nina opened her home as a foster parent to two siblings, she committed to making them feel safe, secure, and loved. The Foundling provided guidance, intensive therapy services, and more to support her and the children as they healed from past trauma and adjusted to a new environment.

Thanks to The Foundling’s support, Nina, Grace, and Logan are now a thriving family – and with adoption paperwork finalized last year, they will have each other for a lifetime.  “They’re biological siblings, and it’s amazing that they get to be together – I think they feel blessed, and I also feel blessed,” says Nina.