This year’s spring event, IMAGINE 2016, will be held on Friday, May 20 at The Loading Dock in Stamford, CT. The evening will highlight Family & Children’s Agency and the 11,000+ individuals we impact throughout Fairfield County.
As you may know, IMAGINE is our largest annual fundraising initiative; we host hundreds of guests from throughout Fairfield County and beyond. Since 1942, Family & Children’s Agency has been helping individuals in our community to realize life’s possibilities. As a leading nonprofit human service agency, we are committed to 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.
Ways in which you can support the event are as follows:
To print a hard copy of the IMAGINE 2016 packet, please click here.
If you have any concerns or would like to learn more about IMAGINE 2016, please contact Janina Serrao, Director of Development, at (203) 855-8765 or email@example.com
Leona Bissonnette learned about Family & Children’s Agency from a presentation given at her church and decided that adding “volunteer” to her schedule has a retiree, would be an easy and fulfilling task. Leona has now been an FCA volunteer for more than three years. Each Monday, Leona shops for snacks and supplies for the ASPIRE after-school program. “When I first began grocery shopping for the program, I had no idea where to find snacks, now the staff at my local grocery store know me by name,” laughed Leona.
Now, as a veteran snack and supply shopper, Leona has had a chance to connect with the FCA staff and participate in the different events the students showcase and add “a tiny value to the awesome work Family & Children’s Agency does,” she smiled. “I am glad to be a part of the agency in any way, the staff has become like family.”
FCA is thankful for Leona and the many volunteers who donate their time, big and small, to enhance the lives of others.
Diane Lambert has been a friend of FCA for nearly three decades. After adopting two children, now 27 and 29, through FCA’s international adoption program, Diane’s heart led her to do more.
Over the years, Diane and her husband have been licensed foster parents to more than 25 children. “After raising my kids, I knew I had more in my heart to give. FCA is what I felt good about, itwas an agency I believed in,” said Diane.
After retiring from the workforce, Diane followed her heart back to FCA and, as luck would have it, she was placed as a volunteer with the program that started her journey. In January of 2015, Diane became a volunteer for FCA’s international adoption program, helping families who would enjoy the same joy of adoption that she and her husband experienced nearly 30 years ago.
FCA is fortunate to have many friends like Diane, who trust and value the mission of FCA and volunteer their time to enhance the lives of others.
Click here to learn more about individual volunteer opportunities
A Mother’s Love
FCA client artwork, inspired by the 1950s art movement, Pop Art
This Mother’s Day, celebrate the extraordinary women in your life, by supporting at-risk mothers and children in our community. With your donation of $50 for one honoree or $100 for three honorees, FCA will mail your honoree(s) a greeting card that showcases artwork created by agency clients.
Delivered in early May, the notecard will explain that you have chosen to honor them by making a donation to support programs at Family & Children’s Agency that benefit at-risk mothers and children in our community.
Giving Day 2016
FCA for Giving Day: 10 Reasons for $10 on March 10th
You play a significant role in impacting the lives of our community.
Make an impact that lasts a lifetime this Thursday, March 10th, by
donating $10 during Fairfield County’s Giving Day.
10. To support Yale trained counseling teams, who provide Intensive In-home Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Services.
9. To help at-risk mothers and newborns maintain the support and resources for healthy living and parenting.
8. To help provide adults experiencing homelessness with vocational support and housing resources.
7. To help provide teens in foster care with life skills training, including social, emotional and mental health assistance.
6. To support the work of Project REWARD, Fairfield County’s only out-patient substance abuse program designed specifically for women.
5. To provide home visiting services and parent coaching, to enable family reunification.
4. To support the continuous academic, theme-based and cultural immersion education for our middle and high school ASPIRE students.
3. To help provide local seniors safe and reliable transportation to medical appointments.
2. To support college visits for FCA high school students.
1. To impact the lives of thousands of families in Fairfield County and help FCA win $20,000!
Join us for the 2016 Korean Roots Tour
Family & Children’s Agency and Spence Chapin invite you and your family to explore the
unique culture and heritage of Korea. Learn more about your child’s country of origin with
our expert guides. This trip is a once in a lifetime experience for you and your children to share.
For more information including trip itinerary and cost, please download Roots Brochure 2016.
You may register by completing the KoreanRoots 2016 Registration Form
Questions? Please contact Darlene Cirilli at 860-586-2365 or DCirilli@FCAgency.org .
Bringing Hannah Home
There’s an adjustment period for every family when they bring home a new sibling. While the parents modify their work and sleeping schedules, older brothers or sisters are adapting their routines, as well. In the case of the Park family, however, their new daughter was not a newborn, but rather a one-year-old who seemingly overnight became capable of both playing with and stealing toys from her three-year-old brother. While many families would pull their hair out at the mere thought, the Parks feel blessed to have adopted two healthy babies and are reveling in the chaos.
“We can’t imagine our family without her,” said Hoon Park.
Hoon and Yvonne Park first adopted their son, Jaehoon, from Korea in October 2012. Hoon, an American citizen of Korean decent, and Yvonne have always been interested in adoption to build their family. In 2011, they were introduced to Family & Children’s Agency and began the adoption process through Korea. The following year, they brought home their 11-month-old son, Jaehoon.
Soon after settling in at home, the Parks made the decision to adopt again. Although initially worried the process may take longer following several changes to Korean international adoption laws, they found the process to be seamless. Adjustments to the referral process and travel requirements were seen as minor hurdles to the Parks, who knew it would all be worth it when they brought their daughter home.
As with their first adoption of Jaehoon, the Parks say FCA was with them every step of the way. In addition to receiving updates every other week, the couple met with FCA adoption staff after the Agency’s annual trip to Korea to collect pictures of their daughter. Even when Hoon and Yvonne traveled to Korea, they say FCA staff was always accommodating and only a phone call or email away.
For over 30 years, FCA has partnered with the Social Welfare Society (SWS) of Korea to provide international adoption services. According to Mary Kate Locke, Director of Adoption and Youth Development at FCA, this longstanding working relationship is strengthened by each agency’s commitment to learning about the other’s culture, and providing support for the birth mothers, foster parents and adopting families. “We’re two likeminded agencies,” says Mary Kate.
Hoon and Yvonne agree that the love the Korean foster mothers have for the children is both palpable and genuine. When visiting SWS awaiting Hannah’s adoption, Jaehoon was able to reunite with his foster mother. She told Hoon and Yvonne that seeing how happy Jaehoon was with his family is what encourages her to continue fostering.
“They do it out of love,” says Hoon. “You can see it in their eyes that they love these children. I think the children adjust so well because of them.”
While visiting Korea last year, the Parks were also able to celebrate Hannahs’ first birthday. SWS hosts a banquet dinner each month for children awaiting adoption, their foster parents and the adopting families, if they are available to visit. It’s an evening Yvonne and Hoon will never forget, and they are grateful to have been a part of their daughter’s earliest memories.
The Parks officially received custody of Hannah on Oct. 31, 2014 and brought her home to the United States one week later. Hannah is now two and Jaehoon is four. Although the last year has been a whirlwind, the Parks say they wouldn’t change a thing and their family is now “richer with love.”
FCA Incorporates Parents as Teachers Program into Prevention Services
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.
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Youth Expressive Arts Class
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.