This month, we highlight the Association to Benefit Children, a philanthropy very close to the hearts of TOWN Upper East Side. Established in 1986, the organization works to defend, benefit and revolutionize the lives of New York City’s most overlooked and vulnerable families, sparking reform in education, hunger, family housing, health care and more. Through the creation and implementation of innovative programs, open forums and widespread reports, ABC creates a model for reform that spreads both within and beyond the city’s borders.
Though the season heavily connected to the spirit of giving is behind us, organizations like ABC work year-round to ensure a brighter future for New York City, and particularly for its children. Check out some of the organization’s individual efforts and see how you can get involved.
There’s no such thing as too young when it comes to ABC’s approach to helping children. The organization’s schools teach patience, tenderness, civility and fortitude, as well as basic learning fundamentals to lay the groundwork for lifelong skills. Geared toward celebrating diversity, the schools allow children of all backgrounds and development to grow and thrive.
TOWN Upper East Side works particularly close with Cassidy’s Place, an ABC preschool dedicated to providing a warm, nurturing and encouraging environment to children who live in poverty, live with disabilities or have special needs. Situated on 86th Street just a few blocks away from TOWN’s office on 79th Street, the school offers nine dynamic classrooms and two outdoor play spaces. Year-round, TOWN spearheads fundraisers and volunteers one-on-one with the kids, whether hosting a hat and gloves drive or spending time outside on Planting Day.
ABC also creates licensed therapeutic youth programs that target those living in poverty or with severe emotional distress. Designed for children ranging from kindergarten through high school, the Summer Camp, After-School, and Teen Apprenticeship programs allow them to foster academic skills, character strength and self-esteem at integral parts of their lives.
ABC’s dynamic family programs are designed to support both children and parents and promote long-term family stability. The All Children’s House works to end the cycle of abuse and neglect with those parents at risk of losing their children to foster care. ABC’s licensed, highly-trained professional therapists provide services for families living in crowded apartments or shelters alike. The Child-Parent Psychotherapy program has successfully emerged as a new model for promoting a safe family environment in the context of the NYC child welfare system. Also offered within the program are budgeting management services, parent education, legal assistance and child care referrals.
In order to combat the sad reality that children are deeply traumatized by homelessness, loss, violence and disaster, ABC has created Fast Break, the city’s first mobile mental health crisis and disaster clinic for children. Designed to both prevent and respond to children’s mental instability, the models provide a full range of health services to address emotional needs and promote lifelong success. The Early Recognition and Screening Initiative also incorporates mental health awareness into routine health checkups in order to both remove the stigma against mental distress as well as to provide the services necessary toward healing.
Lastly, ABC employs a Supportive Housing Program that provides families in need with apartments and critical support services. Designed to help those families who are affected by chronic illness, poverty, homelessness and HIV/AIDS, the program allows for a life of decency and dignity inside a safe environment, while offering additional psychiatric, educational and recreational services.
Inspired by ABC’s initiative and mission? Check out the many ways in which you can get involved here.