MEDIA ALERT: HELP SEND CHILDREN BACK TO SCHOOL WITH NEEDED SUPPLIES

MEDIA ALERT:

BACKPACKS TO SCHOOL

HELP SEND CHILDREN BACK TO SCHOOL WITH NEEDED SUPPLIES

Who: The Sharing Shelf, a program of Family Services of Westchester (FSW)

What: Volunteers, including teens, families and employees from local businesses and area corporations will be gathering at The Sharing Shelf to fill hundreds of backpacks as part of The Sharing Shelf’s “Backpacks to School” program. Each backpack will be filled with new school supplies for low-income children. These backpacks will be distributed this week and next to low-income children through Family Services of Westchester and Westchester County’s Department of Social Services (DSS). The program is the primary source of backpacks for Westchester County’s DSS.

Who should attend: Any news or TV media covering local human interest and community giving.

Time & Date: Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016, 10:00 am – 3: 00 pm

Venue: The Sharing Shelf Warehouse, 47 Purdy Avenue, Port Chester, NY 10573

About The Sharing Shelf

The Sharing Shelf of FSW was founded in 2009. The program collects new and gently used clothing for infants, youth and teens. The clothing is distributed to more than 2,000 children in need each year at no cost to the families. Each month, volunteers assemble more than 1,100 outfits, providing each child a week of seasonally appropriate clothing matched to their sizing needs. The clothing is distributed through more than 50 local nonprofits, schools and hospitals. To learn more about The Sharing Shelf of FSW, contact Deborah Blatt at 914-305-5950 or by email at thesharingshelf@fsw.org

About Family Services of Westchester

Family Services of Westchester is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing Westchester County with a broad range of social and mental health services that strengthen and support families, children, and individuals at every stage of the life cycle. For more information, visit www.fsw.org, call 914-937-2320 and connect with us on twitter and Facebook @FSWestchester

Media contact:
Michelle A. Nicholas
mnicholas@fsw.org
914.305.6836

FSW Board of Directors to Match Donations, Now Through #GivingTuesday

FSW Board of Directors to Match Donations, Now Through #GivingTuesday

Port Chester, NY– Family Services of Westchester (FSW), one of the oldest and largest social services and mental health agencies in Westchester County, announced today that it will participate in #GivingTuesday (December 1), a global day of giving. FSW’s Board of Directors announced at its November meeting that it will generously match all donations from now until #GivingTuesday, up to $30,000.

FSW will participate in #GivingTuesday to raise funds in support of the work they do in the local community ranging from adoption services to veterans outreach. The private, not-for-profit, non-sectarian agency serves over 30,000 individuals annually through their 50 programs including Head Start, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and The Sharing Shelf.

“This initiative will significantly impact FSW’s ability to meet our mission of making lives better for people of all ages in Westchester,” stated Susan Wayne, President and CEO of FSW. “This #GivingTuesday, we look forward to the generosity of donors and supporters to help us meet the growing demand for our programs and services.”

Donations can be made at https://www.crowdrise.com/familyservicesofwest1 and thanks to the FSW Board of Directors, all contributions will be doubled up to $30,000.

About FSW

FSW runs more than 50 mental health and social service programs that reach 30,000 children, teens, adults and families a year. FSW’s programs run the gamut from adoption services to elder care, from home health care to youth residences and include chapters of such national programs as Big Brothers Big Sisters and Head Start. The agency’s 450 employees and 350 volunteers operate out of seven offices throughout the county. To learn more about FSW, visit www.fsw.org.

About #GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday is a movement to celebrate and provide incentives to give—the 2015 iteration will be held on December 1, 2015. This effort harnesses the collective power of a unique blend of partners—nonprofits, businesses and corporations as well as families and individuals—to transform how people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season. #GivingTuesday inspires people to take collaborative action to improve their local communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they celebrate and help create a better world. #GivingTuesday harnesses the power of social media to create a global moment dedicated to giving around the world.

The Sharing Shelf Teen Boutique 2015

Port Chester, NY:  On Saturday, November 14th, 2015, The Sharing Shelf of Family Services of Westchester (FSW) held its seventh semi-annual Teen Boutique event for teenage girls at the New York Covenant Church in New Rochelle, NY.  Nearly 170 girls from communities throughout Westchester County had an opportunity to “shop” for clothing, shoes and accessories, which had been donated by Westchester residents and displayed boutique-style by volunteers.   The Junior League of Westchester on the Sound partnered with The Sharing Shelf on this event.  FSW Board member Dierdra Gray Clark, a minister at the New York Covenant Church, arranged for the space to be made available to The Sharing Shelf free of charge.

“I am amazed by the incredible volunteers who step forward every year to make this event a success,” said Deborah Blatt, Program Director. “We saw an outpouring of donations from throughout the Westchester community. I am so grateful to stores and businesses who either donated items or opened their doors as collection sites.” More than180 volunteers were on hand over 3 days to help create the one-day event.  “All of this effort is completely worth it when you see the faces of the girls who walk away with their bags brimming with “new” clothing,” added Ms. Blatt. “Clothing is way of expressing themselves and contributes to their self esteem. I see it when the girls are shopping – they arrive reserved and shy, then leave smiling from ear to ear.” “The Junior League of Westchester on the Sound is proud to support The Sharing Shelf of FSW in giving these local teens, many of whom don’t have the means to purchase even the basic clothing essentials, a shopping experience they will never forget. This year’s Teen Boutique is helping more teens from families in need than ever,” said Cara Gentile, a committee chair for JLWOS.

The girls who attended were from Port Chester, New Rochelle, White Plains, Ossining, Yonkers, Mount Vernon, Sleepy Hollow, Pleasantville, Mamaroneck, Dobbs Ferry and Elmsford.  They had been referred by 22 different social service agencies, schools, community groups or churches.  By the end of the day, over 4,500 items had been distributed not only to the girls who attended but others from residential facilities such as Children’s Village, St. Christopher’s and the Jewish Child Care Association, who were unable to be there.  The girls were able to choose from a wide array of items, including shirts, sweaters, sweatshirts, skirts, dresses, jeans, coats, hangbags, scarves,belts and costume jewelry. Taneyasha, one of the teens, commented, “I love that everything is free! I found everything I need and now I’m helping my friend shop.”

“Teen Boutique exemplifies the importance of neighbors helping neighbors,” said Susan B. Wayne, President and CEO at FSW.  “Each of these events demonstrates FSW’s commitment to strengthening individuals and families in Westchester County.”

The Sharing Shelf collects new and gently used clothing for infants, youth and teens, then distributes the items to more than 2,000 needy children a year at no cost. Each month, volunteers assemble over 1,400 outfits for about 200 children and teens, providing each child a week of seasonally appropriate clothing. Blatt partners with more than 50 food pantries, social service agencies, non-profit programs, schools and hospitals county-wide to distribute the clothing.

FSW runs more than 50 mental health and social service programs that reach 30,000 children, teens, adults and families a year. The Sharing Shelf is founded and run by volunteers and corporate or school groups can volunteer at the program’s Post Chester warehouse. To learn more about FSW’s Sharing Shelf, contact Deborah Blatt at (914) 305-5950 or by email at thesharingshelf@fsw.org. To learn more about FSW, check out the agency’s website at www.fsw.org or contact Caitlin Halle (914) 305-6876 or challe@fsw.org.

Family Services of Westchester to Distribute Thanksgiving Meals to Westchester County Veterans

White Plains, NY – This Thanksgiving, 85 veterans and their families in Westchester County will receive a free holiday meal thanks to the collaborative efforts of Family Services of Westchester, Inc. (FSW), Veterans’ Angels, the Patriot Housing Initiative and other veteran serving organizations.  FSW has facilitated referrals from nearly a dozen veteran organizations to ensure that the meals reach those in need; they are also responsible for coordinating the distribution of meals. On Saturday, November 21, veterans will be welcomed to FSW’s Lanza Family Center for All Ages in White Plains where our Veterans Program is headquartered, to pick up the Thanksgiving meals. “This has been a great community effort,” says Jennifer Seager, Director of FSW’s Veterans Program. “We are thankful for all of the support we’ve received from our partner organizations in the veteran community and the Patriot Housing Initiative. We are particularly grateful to Veterans’ Angels, who worked so hard to secure in-kind donations.” For those veterans who don’t have access to transportation or are unable to travel, FSW has made arrangements to drop off the remaining meals.

FSW’s Veterans Outreach and Support Program, created in 2011, offers a unique set of programs to address the needs of Westchester County veterans.  Our Vet2Vet program, funded by a grant from the P.F.C. Joseph P. Dwyer Peer Support Project through the New York State Office of Mental Health, offers peer-to-peer support in a nonclinical setting, allowing veterans to stay connected with one another.  Vet2Vet offers both virtual and in-person support groups, combat meditation sessions and special recreational activities such as bowling nights and snow tubing trips.  Our case management program helps veterans address issues such as homelessness, medical benefits, mental health concerns and employment. The case manager conducts an initial assessment with each veteran and/or spouse to identify areas of concern and formulate goals, provide advocacy and outreach, and follow up to ensure that the issues are resolved. In 2015 alone, FSW’s Veterans Programs have served more than 500 veterans.

For additional information about our FSW’s Veterans program, please visit our website at: https://www.fsw.org/our-programs/veterans-outreach-and-support or call Jennifer Seager, Program Director at 914-872-5242.

FSW runs more than 50 mental health and social service programs that reach 30,000 children, teens, adults and families a year. FSW’s programs run the gamut from adoption services to elder care, from home health care to youth residences and include chapters of such national programs as Big Brothers Big Sisters and Head Start. The agency’s 450 employees and 350 volunteers operate out of seven offices throughout the county. To learn more about FSW, check out the agency’s website at www.fsw.org or contact Caitlin Halle (914) 305-6876 or challe@fsw.org.

 

 

The Sharing Shelf of FSW: Teen Boutique

New Rochelle, NY – A Free Shopping Day for Teenaged Girls from families in financial need

WHEN: Saturday, November 14, 2015, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

WHERE: The New York Covenant Church, 500 Main Street, New Rochelle, NY  10801

WHAT: The Sharing Shelf, a program of Family Services of Westchester (FSW) announces its Fall Teen Boutique, a one-day free shopping event for girls ages 13 to 19 from families in financial need. This will be our seventh Teen Boutique and The Sharing Shelf is proud to partner with the Junior League of Westchester on the Sound (JLWOS) to offer this unique opportunity.  Teen girls from throughout Westchester County are invited through social services agencies, schools and area nonprofits to attend and choose a week’s worth of seasonally appropriate clothing (at least 21 items) as well as accessories, costume jewelry, shoes, pajamas, robes and dresses.  In the weeks before The Sharing Shelf’s Teen Boutique, volunteers carefully screen everything to make sure the items are age-appropriate, in good quality and in clean, wearable condition. The Sharing Shelf, JLWOS members and other community volunteers to create a store-like environment stocked with thousands of seasonally appropriate donations. The teens are invited to look through racks of items, try on clothing, and choose what they would like, assisted by volunteers who serve as fashion consultants. The New York Covenant Church is generously offering its facility to host the Teen Boutique event.

NOTE: The shopping aspect of this event is not open to the public. The press can attend and the girls shopping at the boutique may be interviewed and photographed with parental consent. 

BACKGROUND: Founded by New Rochelle resident Deborah Blatt and FSW in 2009, The Sharing Shelf collects new and gently used clothing for infants, youth and teens. The clothing is distributed to more than 2,000 children in need each year at no cost to the families. Each month, volunteers assemble more than 1,100 outfits, providing each child a week of seasonally appropriate clothing. The clothing packages are distributed through more than 50 area nonprofits, schools and hospitals that partner with The Sharing Shelf.  The Sharing Shelf is founded and run by volunteers and corporate or school groups can volunteer at the program’s Post Chester warehouse. To learn more about FSW’s Sharing Shelf, contact Deborah Blatt at (914) 305-5950 or by email at thesharingshelf@fsw.org

FSW operates more than 50 mental health and social service programs that reach 30,000 children, teens, adults and families each year. FSW’s programs run the gamut from adoption services to elder care, from home health care to youth residences, and include chapters of such national programs as Big Brothers Big Sisters and Head Start. The agency’s 450 employees and 350 volunteers operate out of seven offices throughout Westchester County. To learn more about FSW, visit the agency’s website at www.fsw.org or contact Courtney Rabb at (914) 305-6836 or crabb@fsw.org.

FSW’s My Second Home – White Plains Open House

White Plains, NY—Family Services of Westchester, Inc. (FSW) invites members of the community to attend an open house at My Second Home-White Plains, on any one of three days—Monday, October 19, Tuesday, October 20, or Wednesday, October 21, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  Free memory screenings conducted by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America will be available on October 20 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

My Second Home-White Plains, modeled after FSW’s award-winning program in Mt. Kisco, is an intergenerational adult day program designed to help families who are caring for older adults in Westchester County.  Housed in the newly renovated Lanza Family Center for All Ages, My Second Home-White Plains provides a safe, nurturing and home-like environment where older adults can continue to find meaning and dignity in their daily lives through stimulating activities, wellness programs, personal care, excellent nutrition and “living room to living room” transportation.  At My Second Home, FSW’s unique intergenerational model brings children from FSW’s early childhood education and youth development programs together with adults on a daily basis to share in activities and forge relationships that promote mutual understanding and connectivity.

FSW will be providing tours and information throughout each day.  On Tuesday, October 20, free memory screenings provided by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America will be available.  These screenings, a significant first step toward detection of memory problems, consist of a series of questions and tasks designed to gauge memory, language and thinking skills.   For additional information, please call Rebecca Lippel at 914-422-8100 or email her at rlippel@fsw.org.

FSW runs more than 50 mental health and social service programs that reach 30,000 children, teens, adults and families a year. FSW’s programs run the gamut from adoption services to elder care, from home health care to youth residences and include chapters of such national programs as Big Brothers Big Sisters and Head Start. The agency’s 450 employees and 350 volunteers operate out of seven offices throughout the county. To learn more about FSW, check out the agency’s website at www.fsw.org or contact Caitlin Halle (914) 305-6876 or challe@fsw.org.

Sixth Annual Schwartz Family Circle of Friends Fishing Outing with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Family Services of Westchester

Sixth Annual Schwartz Family Circle of Friends Fishing Outing with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Family Services of Westchester

On Thursday, August 13, 2015, participants in Family Services of Westchester’s Big Brothers Big Sisters Program, an affiliate of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, will gather at the Glen Island Pier in New Rochelle to board the Klondike IX fishing boat for a day of fishing and fun on the Long Island Sound.  This annual event, now in its sixth year, is made possible thanks to the father and son team of Stephen and Todd Schwartz who each year raise funds to support this special outing.  The “Littles” learn how to fish, participate in a “biggest catch” tournament and enjoy lunch and refreshments out on the open water.

“We are so grateful to Stephen and Todd Schwartz for providing this incredible opportunity,” said Valerie Brown, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Westchester.  “Fishing has been an important part of their lives and they are eager to share this experience with the youth in our program.”

The boat will launch at 7:30 a.m. and return at 3:00 p.m. with approximately 80-100 “Bigs” and “Littles” on board.  Donations to support this event are greatly appreciated.  For those interested in making a tax-deductible contribution, please visit our website at www.fsw.org/donate or call 914-305-6840.

BBBS of FSW is the Westchester affiliate of the national Big Brothers Big Sisters organization, which is the oldest and largest youth mentoring program in the United States.  Operating continuously since 1958, our mission is to help children reach their full potential through professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships.  To learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters, visit www.fsw.org/our-programs/big-brothers-big-sisters or www.bbbs.org

FSW runs more than 50 mental health and social service programs that reach 30,000 children, teens, adults and families a year. FSW’s programs run the gamut from adoption services to elder care, from home health care to youth residences and include chapters of such national programs as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Head Start and AmeriCorps. The agency’s 450 employees and 350 volunteers operate out of seven offices throughout the county. To learn more about FSW, check out the agency’s website at www.fsw.org.

FSW and Big Brothers Big Sisters of FSW are Selected to Receive Grant as Part of GEICO Grand Opening in Yonkers–June 30, 2015

A celebration to mark the Grand Opening of a new GEICO local office in Yonkers will be held on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at 1915 Central Park Avenue in Yonkers. FSW’s President and CEO, Susan B. Wayne, will be on hand to accept a $5,000 donation in support of FSW and its Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) program to mark this special occasion. The new office, headed by agent Weezie Mullaly who is an active member of FSW’s Junior Board, is located in the heart of the Yonkers community. The celebration will also feature GEICO’s NASCAR Showcar and the Gecko; radio station 107.5 FM’s Street Team will be handing out free giveaways. Those in attendance will have an opportunity to win a series of raffle prizes including four Mets tickets and a $100 gas gift card.

“We are thrilled that Weezie and her team of agents have chosen to support FSW and Big Brothers Big Sisters as part of this grand opening celebration. FSW has a strong presence in Yonkers, including one of our seven Family Mental Health Clinics, and we are pleased to welcome GEICO to the neighborhood. ”

FSW Welcomes New Leadership at My Second Home in Mt. Kisco and Opens a Second My Second Home in White Plains

06/04/2015

Family Services of Westchester, Inc. (FSW) is pleased to announce the appointment of Karen Bisignano, LMSW, as the Director of My Second Home, our social model adult day and intergenerational program in Mt. Kisco. Ms. Bisignano replaces long-time Director Rina Bellamy, who recently left the agency in order to pursue her interests in Hospice Care and teaching.

Ms. Bisignano, a resident of the Mt. Kisco/Bedford Hills community, has a strong background working with intellectually disabled adults in individual and group settings, counseling caregivers, and developing and implementing programs to improve quality of life. She also has extensive leadership experience in film/commercial production. “We are delighted to welcome Karen on board,” says Susan B. Wayne, President and CEO of FSW, “as she brings the perfect combination of business acumen, clinical experience and passion, which will continue to grow what is already an award-winning program. We know that the participants and staff of My Second Home remain in good hands.”

My Second Home is the first of FSW’s two highly innovative programs that help families who are caring for older adults in Westchester County. Housed in the same building as the Mt. Kisco Child Care Center, My Second Home provides a safe, nurturing and home-like environment where older adults can continue to find meaning and dignity in their daily lives through stimulating activities, wellness programs, personal care, excellent nutrition and “living room to living room” transportation. At My Second Home, FSW’s unique intergenerational model brings children from the Mt. Kisco Child Care Center and adults together on a daily basis to share in activities and forge relationships that promote mutual understanding and connectivity. The JEWEL (Joining Elders with Early Learners) program has been tremendously successful and has led to numerous awards and recognition:
2014 Outstanding Adult Day Center Award from the National Adult Day Services Association
2011 MindAlert Award from American Society on Aging and the MetLife Foundation
2010 Recognized by the Alliance for Children & Families for Innovation in Serving Older Adults
2008 Winner of National Best Practices Award by MetLife Foundation and Generations United
2007 Non-profit Agency of the Year, Mt. Kisco Chamber of Commerce

A New York-based documentary filmmaker, whose work has been recognized with an Academy Award® and Emmy nominations, Megan Mylan, was so touched by the power of My Second Home that she created the 2013 Living with Alzheimer’s film, My Little Friends.

The success of My Second Home prompted FSW to replicate the program in White Plains so that residents.in the southern and central regions of Westchester could benefit from similar programming. The new Lanza Family Center for All Ages houses My Second Home, as well as Early Childhood Education programs and a teen center. Specialized programming is available for each of these groups in separate wings of the building, while shared spaces allow the different age groups to come together for intergenerational activities.
We welcome you to contact Karen Bisignano, Director of My Second Home, at 914-241-0770 or KBisignano@fsw.org, or Rebecca Lippel, Director of the Lanza Family Center for All Ages and My Second Home White Plains at 914-422-8100 orRLippel@fsw.org to learn more about FSW’s intergenerational programming.

The Sharing Shelf of FSW holds Teen Boutique at Carver Center It’s Sixth Free Shopping Day for Teen Girls

04/30/2015 – On Sunday, April 26th, the gym at Port Chester’s Carver Center hummed with activity, and it wasn’t the usual sound of basketballs as the bounce reverberated off the wood floor. The Sharing Shelf of Family Services of Westchester (FSW), assisted by more than 200 community volunteers, transformed the gym into a one-day shopping haven called Teen Boutique. The room was filled with hanging racks, tables and even bleachers stocked with colorful, stylish spring clothing for teen girls and the walls were decorated with hot pink and black flowers and signs.
Alex Chavarria, Director of Community and Family Services of Carver, was in awe. “I can’t believe how you’ve transformed the space.”
Throughout the day, more than 140 teen girls and many of their mothers and guardians, all from families in financial need, perused the displays and chose from the array of items. Each shopper received a certificate entitling her to select more than 30 items including shirts, shorts, sweaters, skirts, dresses, shoes, pants, belts, handbags, jewelry and even new socks and new underwear. All of the clothing was donated to The Sharing Shelf by members of the Westchester community and everything was prescreened to guarantee quality before being offered to the girls and women. By the end of the afternoon, the shoppers, smiles filling their faces, took home nearly 5,000 items.
This was the sixth Teen Boutique (formerly known as GirlTopia) offered by The Sharing Shelf. The Sharing Shelf first organized the event in November 2012 as a way to provide teen girls with the opportunity to choose their own clothing. The Sharing Shelf regularly provides free clothing to children from families in need through more than 50 social services agencies, schools, hospitals and other nonprofits in Westchester County, assisting more than 2,000 children each year. Each child receives a week’s worth of seasonally appropriate clothing matched into outfits according to the child’s sizing needs. A few years ago, Program Director Deborah Blatt noticed that teen girls were not using the service as much and surmised that they would prefer to choose their own clothing. She conceived of this one-day pop-up shopping boutique opportunity as the best approach and has partnered with many in the local community to bring her idea to fruition.
“Teen Boutique this past Sunday was again a reminder of the importance of not only providing clothes that these girls need, but empowering and allowing them to make their own choices,” said Deborah Blatt. “I love to see the smiles on the girls’ faces. It makes it all worthwhile.”
Jennifer, a 14 year old from Port Chester said, “Everyone at the event was so helpful and nice. I really loved the way the clothing was set out and displayed for us to shop.” Days after the event, Jennifer started volunteering at The Sharing Shelf, determined to give back to the community in her own way.
Volunteers are critical to the success of The Sharing Shelf and its Teen Boutique. Blatt founded the program as a volunteer and continues to run the program as volunteer. A committee of volunteers, many from Scarsdale’s Lion Heart’s Club, helped organize the event and volunteers county-wide organized clothing drives to collect the thousands of new and gently used spring and summer items. On Friday, April 24th, teens from Rye High School’s Girls’ Varsity Lacrosse team were joined by teens from the Carver Center, the Graham Windham School and Iona prep – together they loaded vans and moved items from The Sharing Shelf’s Port Chester warehouse to the Carver Center. On Saturday, more than 100 volunteers converged and transformed the gym into a burst of color, carefully hanging, folding and displaying each item. By Sunday morning, the room was ready and the teens arrived eager to shop.
“Teen Boutique succeeds because the Westchester community comes together to make it happen,” added Ms. Blatt. “It’s an amazing event and I am so grateful for everyone who helps make it happen.”