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The New York Center for Children is an organization that sets the example for caring and protecting children at risk in a society that increasingly shows its inability to cope with some of the issues that affect the most vulnerable among us. It continues to remind us that in times of crisis, children are always the most susceptible to pain and trauma. That’s why the existence of the New York Center for Children (NYCC) is such a positive role model of what caring for, and protecting children at risk does for a community as a whole.
The Center has been open for more than 20 years. It offers free, comprehensive evaluation and therapy services to victims of child abuse and their families in an effort to minimize the traumatic effects of both physical, verbal, and emotional abuse. They also feature a variety of training programs to help identify and prevent child abuse in the first place. And since NYCC (associated with the Mount Sinai Medical Center) is a nonprofit organization, our donations are the lifeblood that keeps this noble enterprise alive.
Part of the appeal of the New York Center for Children is the staff’s honest attention and commitment to making every detail count. When kids arrive on the premises, they come carrying pain and going through some horrific situations. The youngsters are immediately welcomed by qualified personnel and brought into a warm, friendly environment made even brighter by the vibrant murals on the walls and a toy-laden playroom, which work to create a neutral, comfortable transitional space that is conducive to conversation and problem-solving.
In addition to the comforting, therapeutic and child-friendly setting, trained social workers, medical experts, and psychologists are on hand to deal with the immediate needs and the long aftermath of abuse. Therapy comes in many forms, from individual counseling to larger groups sessions. And one of the most beautiful things about the privately funded New York Center for Children (previously known as the Children’s Advocacy Center of Manhattan) is that no child is turned away because of a lack of insurance, or the inability (of the guardians) to pay for the organization’s services.
From thorough evaluations performed by experienced social workers working closely with other institutions (legal and law enforcement) to prevent further unnecessary trauma, to medical exams carried out by an on-site pediatrician, the moment a child steps into the world of the NYCC, safeguarding that child’s physical and mental well-being are of paramount concern for all involved. Crisis intervention and counseling are offered on a continual basis, as are workshops for identifying abuse, plus ongoing consultations for victims, families of victims and the different professionals all trying to help.
The New York Center for Children sticks with its children through thick and thin, over the weeks, months and as many years as it takes to recover. The road to recovery can be long depending on the children’s circumstances, but the Center is always a place of refuge, understanding, and safety where these kids can find solace and turn their lives. It’s an exemplary organization doing good in the community. Helping a child escape and recover from abuse truly is a beautiful thing. ■