By the Numbers
$72 FOR EVERY $1
For every $1 invested in a Family Partnership Center program, the short-term social return on investment averages $72 for the persons served and the community.
Wear Orange to Raise Awareness About Gun Violence
Vice President for Operations
We live in a world where mass shootings are a disturbingly common occurrence. I am the mother of three girls, one in elementary school, one in middle school, and one graduating high school in just a couple of weeks. They have so many questions and fears about gun violence, particularly about school shootings. They have seen too many horrific incidents such as those in Sandy Hook, CT and Parkland, FL. While it is my job to make them feel safe, I struggle to explain why these shootings happen. Why would anyone want to hurt innocent children? Why can’t they just go to school to learn and feel safe there? It is amazing how children can surprise their parents with insight beyond their years. One day, shortly after the Parkland shooting, my girls told me that they decided that rather than be afraid, they wanted to help stop gun violence.
Every day, 100 Americans are killed by a gun and many more injured. Firearms are the 2nd leading cause of death for American teens and children. This is unacceptable, so I ask that this month you join me and wear orange in support of gun violence prevention. Why orange? Orange is the color that Hadiya Pendleton’s family and friends wore in her honor after she was shot and killed in Chicago in 2013. Hadiya was a 15 year old girl who had performed in President Obama’s inaugural parade only weeks before she was killed. Since then the “wear orange” movement has spread beyond Chicago and June has been designated as Gun Violence Prevention Month across the country.
The fight to prevent senseless gun violence starts with all of us standing together. Standing up as people who want safer communities for our families. Standing up as parents protecting our children and freeing them from fear that they may not make it to recess today. Standing up as moms, dads, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents and neighbors who are putting their foot down to say “no more”.
Last year my girls and I went to the March for our Lives in Washington D.C… I have never been more proud than I was in that moment as I watched them stand side by side with people of all ages, races, genders, and socio-economic backgrounds fighting for the same cause. The right to feel safe. The right to gun free schools. The right to live.
After School Programs
As Family Services’ After School programming is coming to an end for this school year, we are happy to share highlights of the school year. This year, we served over 175 Poughkeepsie students at four locations: Krieger Elementary, Clinton Elementary, Warring Elementary and Morse Elementary Schools. Funding through the Advantage and Empire grants allowed all of our students to attend at no cost. Children not only benefited from the enthusiasm of Family Services staff, but also the participation of college interns and volunteers from Marist College, Adelphi University, Dutchess Community College, Vassar College, and Mount St. Mary College.
Throughout the school year, students were engaged in homework assistance, enrichment projects and recreational activities includingtalent shows, a Harlem Renaissance Fair, holiday themed parties, and arts and crafts. This year students enjoyed yoga once per month, thanks to a local volunteer. The Poughkeepsie Farm Project provided fun activities in which the children learned about nutrition and gardening and everyone was amazed when Happy Dan’s Magic Show performed.
The children take pride in giving back to their community. For this year’s projects, they collected food for those in need and donated clothing to school Kid’s Closets. Older children participated on Youth Councils, helping to build leadership and mentoring skills. The Youth Councils selected community projects and special activities throughout the year, such as Game Day, Movie Day with popcorn and hot chocolate, and their end of the school year parties.
Poughkeepsie Youth Theatre
Poughkeepsie Youth Theatre (PYT), The Teen Resource Activity Center’s newest initiative, wrapped another successful year with a rousing culminating performance. On May 21, in the Family Partnership Center Lateef Islam Auditorium, youth presented STREETS, an original theater production created by the youth, all ages 13-18.
The evening featured seven dramatic vignettes, including movement-based first and last scenes. A humorous, albeit contentious scene was played, re-wound and replayed, with an invitation for audience participation and reflection. The vocal and engaged audience was comprised of local community, friends and family of the cast, Family Services staff, and faculty from both Vassar College and Dutchess Community College, who have student-interns at PYT.
Participation in PYT requires no audition or experience; only a willingness to share ideas, fully commit, and engage with fellow participants with a sense of humor and good will. The program, which runs during the school year, is free to participants and PYT welcomes new participants throughout the year.
PYT is grateful for the support of various entities. The Bunnell Family and Ann and Abe Effron Donor Advised Fund each gifted PYT with trips to New York City to attend theatre performances. PYT is also supported by Vassar’s Good Neighbors Fund, the United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region, and the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the NYS Council of the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Legislature and administered by Arts Mid-Hudson.
A Look Back
On April 25, 2019, over 350 friends and supporters attended Family Services’ Family of the Year Awards Dinner at the Grandview in Poughkeepsie. For almost 30 years, this noteworthy event has recognized and commended individuals who have made significant contributions to the community and whose ideals reflect those of Family Services by providing hope, improving lives, and strengthening community. This year, we were pleased to honor the Arnoff Family with the Quality of Life Award and the Rossi Family with the Good Neighbor Award.