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Everyone Counts!

There is still time to complete the 2020 Census. The Census is conducted every 10 years and counts every single person living in the United States and its five territories — regardless of citizenship. 

The 2020 Census will provide a snapshot of our nation — who we are, where we live, and so much more. This data will be used to make decisions that impact our community for the next decade, such as:

  • The number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives.
  • Drawing congressional and state legislative districts.
  • The need for new schools, clinics, roads and additional services for families, older adults and children.
  • The allocation of billions of federal dollars for programs, including:
    • Medicaid
    • Head Start
    • Community Mental Health Services
    • SNAP
    • School Lunch
  • Federal dollars for hospitals, fire departments and other critical services.
  • Business owners making decisions about where to open new stores, restaurants, factories, or offices, where to expand operations, where to recruit employees, and which products and services to offer.

It is up to us to make sure that our community has a complete count. Please complete your form online, by phone, or by mail. Visit my2020census.gov to begin. If you have questions, or would like assistance completing the Census, please call one of our Resource Centers.

You can check to see the response rate for your city, town or village. Please help spread the word and let’s get everyone counted!

Our Family Ties family has been profoundly shaken by the most recent racist attacks and unjustified killings of black men and women including, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others before them. In addition to widening economic disparities and the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 virus sweeping our country, these acts of violence at the hands of those in authority have left us reeling. Nonetheless, we recognize that these issues are not isolated. Rather, they represent two sides of the same coin – the structural and systemic racism that has existed in this country since its inception. 

 

Black lives matter. Family Ties stands with the rest of our colleagues, family members and loved ones against racism and bigotry in all its forms, both visible and invisible. There is no place in our community for violence or other acts of hatred.

 

Building respectful and equitable relationships is integral to our mission as well as a core aspect of our organizational culture. Thirty years ago, Family Ties was founded on the principles of social justice, as well as a belief in diversity, inclusion and the importance of human connection for families affected by social, emotional and behavioral health challenges. Since that time, we have remained steadfast in our efforts to strengthen the resilience and the rich diversity of our staff and the families we partner with – preferring to focus on the experiences that unite us rather than on what separates us. 

 

We can do better… 

In order to promote lasting social change, and create a more just society for everyone, we must first start by looking at ourselves.  On our journey to becoming an authentically anti-racist organization, we pledge to begin with an examination of our own values, biases, and practices; and to creating more meaningful opportunities for staff and community to shape our future. As Michelle Obama reminds us, we must start with “…self-examination and listening to those whose lives are different from our own.”

 

We commit fully to this effort – to keep growing, listening, and learning from one another, and to continuing to approach all of our relationships from a place of humility, empathy and respect. Our children deserve a just world that is kinder, smarter and stronger.  We look forward to doing this work together.

 

A commitment on behalf of Family Ties Executive Staff and Board of Directors

Patricia Sparkman was a true change agent. Her compassion and innovation changed children’s mental health in Westchester County and built a community of caring. To honor her legacy, please consider making a donation in her memory to the Patricia Sparkman Founder’s Fund

During this difficult time, everyone could use a little support.

We may be practicing social distancing, but we will never practice social isolation. Now, more than ever, caregivers raising children with social, emotional and behavioral challenges need to connect to their peers. We will continue to meet the needs of families in Westchester by offering our regular services virtually.
 
All services are available Monday-Friday, 9AM-5PM, unless otherwise noted.



Family Peer Support

Our Family Peer Advocates have been where you are. They can offer support, connect you to needed resources in the community and work with you to get the services that your family needs.
 

 


Youth Peer Support

Our Youth Peer Advocates work with other youth between the ages of 14-21 and use their own experiences to support, mentor and empower.

 

 


Support Groups

Our support groups allow caregivers to discuss their feelings openly and honestly with others who are experiencing similar challenges. Participation in one of our groups will reduce stress, provide motivation,develop skills and strategies, and let participants know that they are never alone.
 

 
 
After-Hours Support
Your hours have changed, so our hours have changed. In response to COVID-19, Family Ties has developed an after-hours, non-emergency number for caregivers looking for support.

Every day, families across Westchester are forced to make tough choices when it comes to paying for housing, food and medical care.  The economic stress caused by COVID-19 has only made these decisions more difficult. Thanks to a generous grant from ACME Markets Foundation’s Nourishing Neighbors Community Relief Fund, Family Ties’ families can purchase the fresh and nutritious food they need. This donation is not only a gift of dollars; it is a gift of dignity. Nothing empowers a family more than making their own decisions about what is important to them. This donation will give many of our families the opportunity to purchase items they would not otherwise be able to access.

Thanks to the generosity of the Westchester Community Foundation, Family Ties is able to expand our virtual services during this critical time. This grant allows us to purchase the equipment needed to offer our support groups online, provide one-to-one advocacy at a safe distance, participate in online meetings with families, and offer a nightly “warmline”.

Social connection is beneficial during the best of times, and now with COVID-19, even more so. Our unique Family Peer Support Services promote the well-being of families raising children with social and emotional challenges through lived experience, in the belief that those who have faced life’s challenges and overcome them are best able to support others experiencing similar obstacles. We connect caregivers to other peers, reduce family isolation, decrease internalized blame, increase self-efficacy, promote self-care, and empower families to take action in all aspects of their lives. This grant will allow us to continue to connect Westchester’s families to the support and resources that they need.

We cannot thank Westchester Community Foundation enough. Your mission to improve lives and strengthen our community is vital. Your dedication to Westchester is admirable and we look forward to continuing to work together to make a difference.

We are compiling a list of resources that may be helpful during this time. Some of them are for health and well-being, some are for how to talk to your children about the virus, and some of them are just for fun. We will continue to add resources, so please check back soon. 

t For You and Your Family t

🆕What is COVID-19? And How Does it Relate to Child Development?

🆕Quick Stress Relief

How to Stay Healthy While Staying Home

Legal Services of the Hudson Valley

Internet/WiFi Challenges:
Optimum 

Verizon
Comcast
Spectrum

How to Clean and Disinfect Yourself, Your Home, and Your Stuff:
https://www.wired.com/story/coronavirus-disinfectant-cleaning-guide/

Taking care of your behavioral health:
https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/tips-social-distancing-quarantine-isolation-031620.pdf

Westchester County Updates:
https://health.westchestergov.com/2019-novel-coronavirus

United Way of Westchester and Putnam:
https://www.uwwp.org/health-emergency-covid-19-coronavirus/

School Food Distribution and Child Care Information
https://www.uwwp.org/coronavirus-closures/

Child Care Council of Westchester:
https://www.childcarewestchester.org/

Factsheet: Know Your Rights, Protect Your Health
https://protectingimmigrantfamilies.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/You-Have-Rights-Protect-Your-Health-Updated-February-2020-ENGLISH.pdf

New York State Department of Labor
https://labor.ny.gov/unemploymentassistance.shtm

New York State Department of Health
https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home

New York State Office of Mental Health:
https://omh.ny.gov/omhweb/guidance/covid-19-managing-stress-anxiety.pdf

Food Resources
https://feedingwestchester.org/
http://www.hudson211.org/cms6/files/os178/p145/Westchester%20County%20Food%20Pantries(1).pdf
https://www.expensify.org/hunger
https://www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/find-meals

CDC
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html


OTalking to Younger Kids )

Advice from a Child Psychiatrist
https://news4sanantonio.com/news/local/child-psychiatrist-offers-advice-about-how-to-reassure-kids-during-covid-19-crisis

A Comic Exploring Coronavirus
https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/02/28/809580453/just-for-kids-a-comic-exploring-the-new-coronavirus?fbclid=IwAR31G2xYmiPWZ9axa6JKoBcnZp554QGF4bID06Z6Q3OY2CM0GOLO63dC8CE

Talking with Children about Coronavirus
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/talking-with-children.html


^ For Older Kids O

🆕How Teenagers Can Protect Their Mental Health During  Coronavirus
https://www.unicef.org/coronavirus/how-teenagers-can-protect-their-mental-health-during-coronavirus-covid-19?fbclid=IwAR31hGM26Wja1YT6Mdd8b5PSFS8gHInr0VekohXxs22UQTx8CTjbmm-wnlI 

Facts about the Crisis:
https://www.bestcolleges.com/blog/facing-the-college-mental-health-crisis/ 

Learning to Cope:
https://www.bestcolleges.com/blog/mental-health-crisis-learning-how-to-cope/
 
Maintaining Physical and Mental Health:
https://www.bestcolleges.com/blog/mental-physical-health-college/


R For Fun {

🆕100 Things to Do When You Are Stuck Inside

🆕Free Audio Books

Hudson River Museum’s Museum from Home 

Wide Open School 

California Science Center’s Stuck at Home Science

ABCMouse.Com

Scholastic Learn at Home

NYSED/PBS 

A Space to Breathe Over the next six weeks of free online classes they will explore the following themes: anchoring, connection, restoration, body awareness, empowerment and resilience. You will have the opportunity to build stability and grounding by practicing a theme over the course of one week, with one of Exhale to Inhale’s Fellows. They are offering the same class two times a day at 7:15 AM and 6:15 PM, Monday through Friday. No prior yoga experience (or mat) required.

Discovery Education Virtual Field Trips

Zoo Atlanta’s Panda Cam

Georgia Aquarium’s Ocean Voyager Cam

Monterrey Bay Aquarium’s Jelly Cam

Nature Works Everywhere

Yellowstone Park

Great Lakes Now

Boston Children’s Museum

Census Bureau

Smithsonian

National Aquarium

List of Free Online Event and Activities for Kids at Home

Our compassionate Peer staff have first-hand appreciation of how difficult it can be to care for family members during times like these. We continue to work closely with every client to make sure “social distancing” does not turn into “social isolation”.
 
Here are just some of the ways we’ve made a personal difference this week:
  • Connected a vulnerable mother to Domestic Violence services.
  • Reconnected an isolated youth to his GED program when he had not received notice from his school district.
  • Helped caregivers understand online learning technology for their children.
  • Shared coping tips and local community resources with other parents via regular check-in calls. 
  • Created a comprehensive safety plan for a child of an essential worker being discharged from a psychiatric hospital.
  • Gathered all the supplies needed so that a new mom could bring her baby home from the hospital safely.
  • Created a virtual support group for single dads raising kids with behavioral health challenges.
 
In trying times, Family Ties provides:
  • Connections to friends, family and community;
  • Access to crucial services and resources;
  • Confidence to manage crises.
 
We’re helping Westchester families. Can you help us? We know that some people are dealing with financial uncertainty in this moment. If you can’t give, we completely understand. If you can, we’d love your support.
 
 
Kerry Whelan-Megley, MS, LMSW
Executive Director
 

Dear Friends and Community Partners,

During these challenging times, we are reminded of the resilience of our families and community and the importance of remaining connected. 

On behalf of my colleagues, we express our deepest concerns for your health and well-being.  As Peer professionals, all of us here at Family Ties understand intimately how difficult it can be for parents and caregivers to manage the multiple roles they must play in their families’ lives, particularly in times of crisis. 

For more than twenty years, Family Ties has provided individualized support and advocacy services when families have needed us most, and we proudly continue to do so at this crucial time.  To protect the health of our staff and the community-at-large, our Family and Youth Peer Advocates are working remotely to:

  • offer a “virtual shoulder to lean on” in times of increased stress,
  • deliver one-to-one and group support by phone and video,
  • collaborate with community partners around the needs of individual families,
  • share information about local resources, as well as health and wellness tips,
  • provide a connection to needed services in the event of a family crisis or mental health emergency.

Our services continue to be free, confidential and available without regard to diagnostic criteria.  We are able to immediately provide our Family Peer Support services in both English and Spanish.

Family Ties of Westchester is honored to play a role in ensuring the health and well-being of the children and families in our community. We will continue to use our lived experience and on the ground expertise to ensure that youth and caregivers have the opportunity to share their voice, strengthen their natural resilience and access the support and resources they need to thrive.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help.  We thank you for your concern for our staff and the community at large.  Please consider a donation to Family Ties of Westchester now, so that we can continue to support our neighbors and community members when they need us most.  

Wishing you and yours good health,

Kerry Whelan-Megley, MS, LMSW

Out of an abundance of caution, all Family Ties staff are currently working remotely. We are committed to continuing to provide support and advocacy during this time of need. If you need to contact a staff member, please call (914) 995-5238 and leave a message with your name and number, and someone will get back to you shortly. The health and well-being of our staff and the community are our top priority. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Check our Calendar

Find Support Groups, Parent Coaching Sessions, and upcoming events at our locations.

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