September/October 2022


A Note from Our CEO

Remember Where You Came From

by Brian Doyle

Remember where you came from” – These words have been spoken by individuals who might be envious of another’s achievements and accomplishments coming out of a marginalized community and yet achieving success in their lives. That envious person might be unconsciously reinforcing stigmas that suggest a person from a marginalized community is unable to succeed against the odds that have faced them.

This was part of a conversation I recently had with Jannera Cruz, the  Financial Development Center Manager (The Financial Development Center is an extension of Heritage Financial Credit Union which is a new and most-welcomed partner at the Family Partnership Center).

Jannera spoke of the pride she has in achieving her position with Heritage.  She does not hesitate to note the Credit Union is tremendously supportive as an employer. Jannera spoke of her notable accomplishment of being the first person in her family to receive a high school diploma and then advancing on to college.

“Remember where you come from” can best be used as a call to all of us to remember that we are all a “product of immigration”.  This reminder is engraved on a lapel pin I keep on my desk.

When I remember “where I came from”, I think of a seventeen-year-old woman sailing from Cork County in Ireland to New York City. My own grandmother, Mary Sullivan, arrived here and first served as a domestic servant to one of Manhattan’s Eastside wealthy families.  From there, she raised a family and made the way for her future generations.  Little did she know…  The road may be difficult and paved with trials and tribulations, but there is a destination.

As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, it is vital to look with pride on the ways in which past & present immigrants continually contribute to all that we cherish in this country.

So, to some who are striving to achieve, “remember where you came from” may be an ill-advised cautionary.  These words, for the remainder of us, allows us to celebrate the positive contributions immigrants continue to make to American society. 

 Thank you for reminding us, Jannera!


A Message of Hope, Possibility and Life

by Lori Lentini, Vice President of Behavioral Health

September is a month of new beginnings, children go back to school, fall approaches, holiday planning gets underway and the anniversary of 911 is remembered. September is also a month to celebrate hope, recovery, and life. Checking in on loved one’s mental health can be supportive, and you might get the opportunity to talk them through stressful moments and events, helping them stay on the path to overall wellness.
September is National Recovery Month. The purpose and goal through September is to join together and celebrate individuals in recovery, and offer hope to anyone struggling. It is a time to reinforce the positive message that Behavioral Health is essential for overall health, treatment works, and people do in fact recover.
Recovery is not easy or always accomplished on the first attempt. As with any change in life, there are days where your motivation is endless and days where you struggle to find any. Be kind to yourself or others on this path. Keep going and encourage yourself and family and friends to forge on in their quest for recovery. Share that treatment is available and recovery is possible. Family Services is here to help with your mental health needs.
The theme for 2022 National Recovery month is “Recovery is for Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community.”  Both so true and so inspiring.
Mental health is complicated, and like physical health it faces many challenges. September is not only National Recovery Month, it is also World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, 2022.
According to the World Health Organization “Each suicidal death is a public health concern with a profound impact on those around them. By raising awareness, reducing the stigma around suicide, and encouraging well-informed action, we can reduce instances of suicide around the world.”- If you are experiencing a mental health crisis please call the 988 hotline immediately.
“Creating hope through action” is the theme for the World Suicide Prevention Day.
By eliminating the stigma and talking about this struggle, lives can be saved. We all play a role, individually, through advocacy, culture change, education and funding.

Program Spotlights

Ulster Prevention Council

by Susan Baxter, Program Director

The Ulster Prevention Council received a grant through Ulster County to run a yearlong student driven campaign to spread a message campaign around substance use. The NACCHO-funded UCPM campaign ended on the 31st of July. Over the course of this grant, students in Ulster County created one billboard and bus ad design, six radio PSAs for local stations, eight videos for streaming services, and managed the campaign’s social media presence.
The six radio pieces were played on a rotating schedule, and were featured on WDST, WKZE, iHeart Media, Townsquare Media, and channels hosted by Pamal Broadcasting. Charter/Spectrum ran the videos on streaming services and through live television broadcasts. Bus ads could be seen on the UCAT buses, and sixteen billboards across Ulster County promoted the campaign. Actions have also been taken to promote project sustainability, including creating t-shirts to give out to the community to maintain brand awareness. The Ulster County Department of Health is currently working on a sustainability plan with the Ulster County Chamber of Commerce, and a list of student leaders who wish to remain involved in the project is being collected.
Check out these videos from the Ulster Prevention Council!

Domestic Violence Offender Project

by Onaje Benjamin, Case Manager

The Domestic Violence Offender Project (DVOP) is an offender focused, victim-centered approach to holding accountable the most serious and chronic offenders known to law enforcement, all while prioritizing victim and community safety. The DVOP intervenes where possible to prevent violence from continuing or escalating by offering support services and elevating the community moral voice against violence. With its unique focus on offender accountability, DVOP offers Dutchess County a novel opportunity to leverage its law enforcement and community resources to address the ongoing challenge of chronic Intimate Partner Violence offending, while also continuing to ensure the highest levels of victim and community safety.

The Operations Team was formed in early 2019, with leadership from the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department, the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office, the Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office (in an advisory capacity), the Dutchess County Office of Probation and Community Corrections, and Family Services. The DVOP also offers case management services to individuals involved in police related incidents, including those which do not result in a formal complaint. Case Management services are offered in the hopes that identifying needed resources and supports can support the reduction of coercive control incidents among individuals eligible for DVOP services.
The Operations Team looks forward to seeing the impact of the DVOP in enhancing the existing DV infrastructure, strengthening support to members of the community, while reducing the incidents of intimate partner violence.

A Look Back

On Thursday July 14, we hosted our annual Family of the Year awards dinner at the Poughkeepsie Grandview. We wanted to give you the opportunity to look through the photos our incredible photographer, Gabbi Gershowitz shot that night! Click here!

We are so thrilled to announce that after being closed for an extended time due to the pandemic, the Children’s Center at Dutchess Family Court is reopening! Starting 3 days a week (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays) from 9:30-4:30 pm. Beginning Monday, September 26, we will be open five days per week. The Children’s Center provides free child care for families that have business at Family Court.

Our incredible and dedicated Children’s Center team has been working hard to ready and reopen the Center, and we extend our deepest gratitude to Tina Valentino, Joe Parise, Lavasia James and Myah Perino on their hard work, effort, and passion!
On September 2nd we hosted the American Red Cross for a Blood Drive here at the Family Partnership Center, in total they collected 13 units of blood, which potentially impacts the lives of 39 people. We look forward to welcoming them back for another drive with an even bigger collection!
Our advocates from CVSS had a wonderful time at the National Night Out event – a night to enhance the relationship between law enforcement and the community. This event was such a success that they rain out of brochures and swag! We thank all that attended and stopped by to talk!
On Friday August 12th Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado came to the Family Partnership Center and shared his personal life experiences with our SNUG Program! Per his post, he spoke on his visit:
“The Family Services Partnership Center in Poughkeepsie provides critical resources including children’s programming, teen outreach, homeless assistance, and mental health services all under one roof. They also provide one of 12 SNUG Street Outreach programs in the state. Today, after touring the Center, I joined the New York State Office of Victim Services and the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services for a SNUG Hip Hop Therapy session where I spoke about my own background in Hip Hop and how it can be used to build connections and diffuse conflict.”
On August 23rd we distributed the school supplies generously supplied by our local Chase Bank branches, and it was a huge success! Every supply was given out, and we couldn’t have been be more thrilled to see all those full backpacks leave. Special thank you to Wappingers Branch Lead Associate of Operations, Christine Kleiner for organizing the drive among the branches and volunteering her time to help distribute to the children!
On Thursday September 15 we were honored to attend the Grand Opening Event of Heritage’s Financial Development Center right here in the Family Partnership Center! This Partnership is a much needed and exciting addition to our building.
The main objective of the FDC is to provide a pathway for the unbanked and underserved through financial education and awareness into responsible banking and financial wellness. As this program leads with financial assessment and education, appointments are recommended to afford the opportunity to have timely, focused, in depth conversation, with walk-ins accepted based on availability; please refer to the attached welcome flyer to view how this will be communicated to walk­ ins within the FDC. All community members can access safe and affordable Heritage Financial Credit Union products and services intended to help communities make possible their financial hopes and dreams.
We are looking forward to watching Heritage help our community flourish, and once again welcome to the FPC!

Upcoming Events

During The National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims advocates and community members commemorate murder victims and surviving family members. The day also honors the work of organizations that provide services, including support, advocacy, and counseling for families, individuals and communities coping with homicide-related deaths. Join us on September 28 as we honor those who have had their lives taken from them.

Join us on Saturday, October 15 to take a stand against sexual assault and domestic violence and show your support for survivors!

Together, we will walk to end sexual assault and domestic violence, to show our solidarity with survivors, and to raise funds for services that not only support victims, but also educate youth on violence prevention and help offenders turn away from abusive behavior.

Festival of Trees is back for another fun filled event!

Mark your calendar and make it a part of your holiday season! Your family will enjoy beautifully decorated and unique holiday trees and wreaths while shopping local artisans and vendors.

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By joining our Family Tree, you are supporting our vision of stronger, safer communities where our neighbors have access to critical resources when they need it most.

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