This fall, Family & Children’s Agency (FCA) introduced a new program, Parents as Teachers (PAT), as part of its Family Support & Prevention services. PAT is a voluntary family education and support program based on the philosophy that parents are their children’s first and most influential teachers. PAT staff work with families prenatally until children enter Kindergarten and provides the information, support and encouragement parents need to help their children develop optimally during the critical early development years. PAT is funded by The Grossman Family Foundation.
“We are thankful to The Grossman Family Foundation for making the Parents as Teachers program possible and recognizing FCA as a leader in providing support to children and their families from birth through college or career,” said Robert F. Cashel, FCA President & CEO.
“The early years of a child’s life lay the foundation for their success in school and in life,” says Mary Kate Locke, Director of Prevention Services at FCA.
FCA’s Family Support & Prevention services provide support and guidance to more than 1,500 parents and their young children through the Nurturing Family Network, Fatherhood Initiative, Maternal Outreach and Mentoring Service (MOMS) Program, Healthy Start, Child FIRST, the Help Me Grow initiative and Parents as Teachers (PAT). The program’s trained staff educates parents so they can build a strong foundation for their family’s growth. All programs are offered free of charge in English and Spanish to interested families in the Greater Norwalk area.
For the third consecutive year, the Rowayton Arts Center (RAC) has partnered with Family & Children’s Agency (FCA) to promote creative expression through the arts. The Expressive Arts Class is a six-week elective underwritten by the Rowayton Arts Center for ASPIRE middle school students. Students have the opportunity to study visual arts and enhance their personal expression. Their artwork was unveiled at RAC on October 29 and will be on display for the public until November 12.
Danny stands with his artwork, which is featured at the Rowayton Arts Center.
“The Rowayton Arts Gallery offers our students a positive art experience that teaches both technique and self-exploration,” Amy Jeffereis, ASPIRE Manager. “Having the opportunity to see their art hanging in gallery and talk about their work strengthens their confidence and self-esteem.”
Family & Children’s Agency seeks to improve the lives of Norwalk youth by increasing their ability to be productive, independent young adults. The ASPIRE program is FCA’s after school program, located on the Norwalk Community College campus, and includes a middle school, high school and summer enrichment component. In addition to academic support, students in the ASPIRE program participate in electives throughout the school year. It is a multi-faceted, longitudinal program that promotes academic success and positive youth development.
For more than 50 years, the Rowayton Arts Center (RAC) has been a community cultural hub that provides a welcoming environment for the exchange of arts-related ideas. Located on the banks of the scenic Five Mile River, the Arts Center hosts exhibitions, lectures, musical events and other activities. In its second-floor studio, RAC offers year-round classes and workshops for creative people of all ages and at all ability levels. RAC also underwrites arts education programs throughout Norwalk. For information call 203-866-2744 or visit the web site at www.rowaytonartscenter.org.
Family & Children’s Agency held its Annual Meeting on Oct. 7, 2015 at Oak Hills on the Green in Norwalk. At the meeting, FCA honored Joette Katz, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Children & Families (DCF) and Board member Virgina Martin for their work in strengthening families and volunteerism, respectively.
Family Strengthening Award
Family & Children’s Agency (FCA) awarded Joette Katz, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF), with the Family Strengthening Award at its annual meeting, held October 7 at Oak Hills on the Green in Norwalk. DCF has custody and guardianship for over 4,000 children and oversees services to 36,000 children and 16,000 families. The Commissioner is credited with changing the culture of DCF by reducing the overreliance on congregate care. FCA’s Specialized Foster Care program is honored to partner with DCF as we continue to support families and find permanency for Connecticut’s youth.
Joette Katz, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, accepts the Family Strengthening Award with FCA President & CEO Robert F. Cashel.
“This award means an enormous amount to me,” said Commissioner Katz as she accepted her award at the annual meeting. “Together, we changed the system and it’s with the help of your organization. You’re serving these children and families and making them whole again.”
During her time in this role, Commissioner Katz has reduced the reliance on congregate care by 60 percent. “Children should eat breakfast in the morning with the same person who put them to bed the night before. It’s about staying home, going home and finding home.”
“FCA is thrilled to present Commissioner Katz with the Family Strengthening Award, and we thank her for her incredible leadership and commitment to youth throughout out state,” said Robert F. Cashel, FCA President & CEO.
The Family Strengthening Award at FCA recognizes and celebrates individuals or organizations in the community whose outstanding contributions have dramatically impacted FCA’s ability to strengthen and stabilize families and offer help in all phases of life.
Anne C. Cary Volunteerism Award
Board of Directors member Virginia Martin (far right) accepts the Anne C. Cary Volunteerism Award with FCA President & CEO Robert F. Cashel and Board of Directors member KathleenP. Murphy.
Family & Children’s Agency (FCA) presented Board member Virginia (Ginny) Martin with the Anne C. Cary Volunteerism Award at its annual meeting, held October 7 at Oak Hills on the Green in Norwalk. Ginny has been involved with FCA for more than 35 years. She began volunteering in 1980, and eventually joined the Board of Directors in 1994. She has since served on countless committees, including the Development Committee, Benefit Committee, Advocacy Committee, Board Development & Nominating Committee.
“Ginny is a true ambassador of FCA,” said former Board Chair Kathleen P. Murphy, who presented the award. “She continuously keeps the Agency on the forefront of her mind and encourages her network of friends to become involved. We are thankful for her continued commitment and dedication.”
In addition to serving on the Board of Directors, Ginny assists programs throughout FCA, including families in FCA’s Prevention services, donating clothing to homeless adults and helping to sponsor events for Specialized Foster Care youth. She is incredibly loyal and makes every attempt to attend all meetings, informational tours and special events. Outside of FCA, Ginny is involved with the Christian Counseling Center, Darien-Rowayton Garden Club, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and, most notably, Darien’s Children’s Aid for 27 years. Ginny currently lives in Norwalk with her husband, Bob.
The Anne C. Cary Volunteerism Award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated the highest level of volunteerism on behalf of FCA. The award is named in honor of Anne C. Cary, who was involved in every aspect of volunteerism at the Agency for more than 25 years. Anne was also a Board member during the 1990’s.
Family & Children’s Agency is thrilled to announce its spring benefit will see a transformation! This year’s event, RE-IMAGINE 2015, will be held on Saturday, May 30 at The Loading Dockin Stamford, CT. The evening will highlight Family & Children’s Agency and the 10,000+ individuals we impact throughout Fairfield County. With a chic new venue, inventive cuisine, and entertainment by Broadway star Liz Callaway, you won’t want to miss RE-IMAGINE!
As you may know, RE-IMAGINE is our largest annual fundraising initiative; we host hundreds of guests from Darien, New Canaan, Rowayton, Westport, Wilton and surrounding communities for an evening of dining, entertainment, silent auction, as well as a compelling program. Since 1942, Family & Children’s Agency has been helping individuals in our community build better lives. As a leading nonprofit human service agency, we are committed to increasing the social and emotional well-being of our clients. We provide solution focused services that meet the needs of individuals throughout the life cycle, including children, families, youth, adults and seniors.
Family & Children’s Agency (FCA) hosted the 20th anniversary of its annual Golf Classic on Sep. 14, 2015 at Brooklawn Country Club in Fairfield. The golf tournament raised more than $100,000 for FCA’s client services. The event’s Co-Chairs, Jamie Bergin, Mark Brown, Peter Murphy and Bill Webster, have been longtime supporters of both FCA and the Golf Classic.
“The 20th anniversary of the Golf Classic was an enormous success,” said Robert F. Cashel, President & CEO of FCA. “The Golf Classic is one of the Agency’s largest annual fundraisers. FCA is grateful to the supporters of this year’s event, and we’re proud to say that 90 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to helping those we serve.”
In honor of the 20th anniversary of the event, FCA recognized several longtime supporters of the Golf Classic, including Bill Webster, Peter Murphy, Mark Brown and William O. Murphy, who was represented by his son, Jimmy Murphy.
Corporate sponsors for the golf outing included 3D Asset Management, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Bloomberg Tradebook, CBP, cg42, Deutsche Bank, Glen Gate Company, Goldman Sachs, HSBC Markets, Johnston Asset Management Corporation, Maplewood Senior Living, McMahon Ford of Norwalk, MJP Wealth Advisors, Morgan Stanley, People’s United Bank, Peterson Engineering Group, Piper Jaffray & Co., RBS, Société Générale Corporate & Investment Banking, State Street Global Markets, Stein I Troost architecture, LLC, UBS, Weeden & CO. LP. Individual sponsors included Tammy and Mark Brown, the Chapeys, Jill and Alex Dimitrief, Jay and Mark Lux, Kathleen and Peter Murphy, William O. Murphy and friends of FCA.
Family & Children’s Agency is thrilled to be named a Top Work Place for 2015 by Hearst Media Services. Companies are recognized as a Top Work Place based solely on surveys completed by their employees, which measure qualities such as company leadership, growth, opportunity, training, flexibility, compensation and benefits.
For the third year in a row, Glen Gate Company has offered two internships to FCA youth during the summer months. The Wilton-based landscaping company is a longtime supporter of Family & Children’s Agency (FCA). Two high school students in the ASPIRE high school component worked in the Glen Gate office gaining hands-on, real world job experience. This internship directly correlates to ASPIRE’s goal; to help students successfully transition into high school and higher education.
“It is gratifying to me to see FCA in action and young lives being changed with new experiences,” said Jordy Scott, Managing Partner with Glen Gate Company and FCA Board member. “I see our Glen Gate Summer Internship as a small part of FCA’s larger vision, and I hope other companies in the area follow our lead.”
The ASPIRE program, formerly known as the After School Program, includes middle school, high school and summer enrichment components. The middle school component includes an after school program throughout the school year for 50 Norwalk students in sixth, seventh and eighth grade. The program, based on the Norwalk Community College campus, provides academic support and character building activities. The high school component works with an additional 47 students who have successfully transitioned from middle school as they continue their journey to graduation. The summer enrichment program provides a six-week program to middle school students during the summer months to prevent the summer learning slide.
“FCA greatly appreciates the opportunities Glen Gate has offered to youth in our community these past three years,” said Robert F. Cashel, President & CEO of FCA. “Many of the students in the ASPIRE program, and other FCA programs, face a variety of barriers to success. This job experience is valuable to ensure students remain engaged and motivated to continue with their education.”
Thank you to the Friends of FCA for participating in our first “Done in a Day” project! Volunteers of all ages came together and sorted through school supplies for students and personal care kits for homeless adults. In total, FCA will distribute over 125 backpacks filled with school supplies and more than 50 personal care kits.
FCA would like to thank Erin Vincent for her help in coordinating the day’s event, and FactSet Research Systems, the New Canaan Service League of Boys, Tauck World of Giving, the Sciaretta and Lord Families, Morgan Stanley and other friends of FCA for their time and support.
In a typical year, Homeless Services at Family & Children’s Agency (FCA) may receive an average of two housing vouchers to transition homeless adults into independent living. In late 2014, however, FCA learned that through new federal funding and reallocated funds, an influx of 40 housing vouchers would be granted to the Greater Norwalk area to serve homeless adults. FCA Homeless Services is part of the Norwalk Housing First Collaborative, which also includes Open Door Shelter, the Mid-Fairfield AIDS Project, Homes with Hope, Supportive Housing Works and New Reach.
“The long-term goal of the Collaborative is to leverage services and dollars in any way to end chronic homelessness,” says Chris Jachino, Director of Homeless Services at FCA.
Ending chronic homelessness may initially seem like a lofty goal, but it’s one that FCA, the Collaborative and the State of Connecticut feel is attainable by the end of 2016. In January, Connecticut became just one of five states nationwide to take part Zero: 2016, an initiative to end chronic homelessness for veterans and disabled adults by 2016. The endeavor, organized by the nonprofit Community Solutions, seeks to end homelessness through a number of means, including an expansion of existing permanent housing subsidies.
“We’re taking the lead nationally on this issue not only because it’s good for our economy and makes our communities stronger, but because it’s morally right,” said Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy in a statement.
There are three ways in which FCA and its fellow Collaborative partners have attained these housing vouchers. One is through the U.S. Department of Housing, which provided funds for 24 housing vouchers in December of 2014. These vouchers are determined by data collected through the Vulnerability Index, which captures one’s health and social status, taking into account such factors as hospital bills and their length of homelessness. When certain criteria are met, these individuals are placed on a statewide list, which allows agencies to prioritize homeless adults with the greatest health and social risks. The second is through the Social Innovation Fund (SIF), a federal initiative to combine public and private resources to improve the lives of people in low-income communities. Lastly, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has shifted priorities allowing funds previously used toward services to be used to fund housing vouchers.
Some of the individuals identified in the Greater Norwalk region are already participating in services from FCA’s Community Connections Center, a day center that provides case management, social and recreational opportunities for homeless individuals. Moving these particular individuals into affordable housing exemplifies FCA’s goal of providing wrap-around services and ending the cycle of homelessness. These vouchers are in addition to the Supportive Housing programs already offered by Homeless Services at FCA. Homeless Services staff works with homeless adults to learn skills to maintain housing and independent living. In addition to providing vocational counseling and case management, the program offers a variety of activities including crocheting, fishing, biking and a community garden initiative so adults have a recreational outlet and become involved in the community.
Ultimately, the goal is to reduce the cycle of homelessness and hospitalizations due to mental illness and substance abuse.