FSW’s SNUG Program in Mt. Vernon Receives International Attention

04/30/2015 – On Friday, April 24th and Saturday, April 25, Family Services of Westchester’s (FSW’s) SNUG program in Mt. Vernon welcomed Mohammed Asideh a representative from Cure Violence International who was visiting from the Middle East to observe the program in action.  Mr. Asideh will be training teams of Cure Violence workers from countries throughout the Middle East, so he was eager to see how the program is being implemented in the United States.  SNUG (Guns spelled backwards) in Mt. Vernon is an FSW program, which has been funded by a Neighborhood Violence Prevention Project grant from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.  The project is based on the increasingly popular Cure model, which treats violence like an epidemic and deploys “violence interrupters” to locate ongoing conflicts and respond with a variety of conflict mediation techniques both to prevent imminent violence and to change the norms around the need to use violence.

On Friday, Mr. Asideh attended a meeting with the SNUG staff and members of the Bravehearts program in Yonkers as they discussed an upcoming roundtable event.  He then accompanied SNUG staff to the field, where he was able to witness to two staff members mediating an argument between two members of the same gang.  The following day, Program Director Damon Bacote took Mr. Asideh to a housing complex in the target area in order to see the street outreach part of the Cure Violence model in action.  He observed the SNUG team as they gave out slices of pizza and juice, as well as informational brochures, to passersby.  He was also given an opportunity to meet with some of the current participants in the program as they stopped by for a snack.  Mr. Asideh was impressed with what he saw and grateful for the opportunity to gather first-hand knowledge about program implementation, which he will now use to help adapt the model for the Middle East.

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, Head Start and AmeriCorps. 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.


NY Yankee Dellin Betances to Help Family Services of Westchester Inaugurate Programming at Lanza Family Center for All Ages

04/28/2015 – Family Services of Westchester (FSW) is thrilled to announce that NY Yankee Dellin Betances will join us to mark the beginning of operations at The Lanza Family Center for All Ages in White Plains, with a reception on Wednesday, April 29, 2015.  Swiss Re, a leading wholesale provider of reinsurance, insurance and other insurance based forms of risk transfer, and a long-time supporter of FSW’s programs including the new Center, is the exclusive sponsor for the event.

“We are delighted that Brandon Steiner, President of Steiner Sports Marketing and FSW Board Member, introduced us to Dellin and that he immediately wanted to become involved with our efforts,” remarks Susan B. Wayne, President and CEO of FSW.  “It feels so appropriate that Dellin, a relatively new member of the Yankees and a great hope for the future of the team, should join forces with FSW as we launch operations at our newest facility, which is a great hope for our future,” adds Ms. Wayne.

The Center, modeled after My Second Home, FSW’s award-winning intergenerational program in Mt. Kisco, brings children, teens and seniors together at one site to participate in programs, share experiences and benefit from one another, just as they would in a family setting. Programming at the center includes adult day services with caregiver support, early childhood education and a home base for FSW’s many youth development programs.  Importantly, the Center includes space where the diverse age groups can come together.  The library at the Center, which is a quiet, cozy meeting space, is named for the Swiss Re Foundation.  The Teen and Technology Center at the new facility is named for Mara and Brandon Steiner.  The Steiners have also been tremendously supportive of FSW’s Boys and Girls Youth Residences, also located in White Plains and named for Mara’s father and Brandon’s mother respectively.

Dellin will be on hand to first greet Swiss Re employees and their guests, followed by a larger crowd of FSW supporters and program participants. “We are so grateful to Swiss Re for sponsoring this event,” says Courtney Rabb, Vice President for Development and External Affairs at FSW.  “Their support for FSW, especially their incredible generosity in designating FSW ‘Charity of the Year’ has been remarkable and we are excited to bring them together with Dellin to meet some of the youth who benefit from our programs.  For more information about the event, contact Lynn Halpern at LHalpern@fsw.org or 914-305-6834.

FSW was founded in 1954 and runs more than 50 social service and mental health programs for all ages, including Adoption, Head/Start/Early Head Start, Adult and Youth Residences and Veterans Outreach and Support. Please visit, www.fsw.org for more information.

Latino Connections Participants Treated to a Spa Day

04/25/2015 – On Friday, April 24th, 2015 the Carver Center in Port Chester, N.Y. hosted a Spa Day for members of Latino Connections, a program of Family Services of Westchester [FSW].  Sandra Batista, Program Coordinator of ADAPT and Latino Connections at FSW, organized the event.  For these hard working Latina mothers this was a rare, welcome and appreciated indulgence.

A continental breakfast was provided for the women and their children.  Every group member had an opportunity to have a hair cut and/or styling, manicure, make-up session and neck and shoulder massage for free.  At closing, each participant also received a party bag with samples to take home.

Nine hair stylists, a manicurist, two make-up artists, and one masseuse donated their services to the mothers.  These 13 professionals, recruited by Ms. Batista, generously gave their time, effort, materials and talent to the group.  Additionally, several local businesses donated product.

The Latino Connections program provides socialization opportunities, educational workshops, support services and linkages to community resources for recently arrived Latina immigrants living in Port Chester. Attendance is free. Weekly socialization meetings are informal and open to any new immigrants in the community on a drop-in basis. Theworkshops provide an opportunity for new immigrants to learn about their community and find ways to connect with each other as well as to engage in the network of community supports. The group currently meets once a week for two hours to discuss issues of concern that can then be addressed through individual sessions and support services at other times during the week. Each week there is an expert speaker who addresses subjects such as: parenting skills; nutrition; domestic violence; community resources; women’s health issues; budgeting; schools and parent involvement. This is followed by a question and answer session and then socialization with a shared meal, often prepared by the mothers.

The staff and participants of the Latino Connections program are extremely grateful to all of the following for donating their services to this event:

Ana Barajas, Port Chester Mayelín Nuñez, Sleepy Hollow
Valerie Hamonds, White Plains Nathali Nuñez, Sleepy Hollow
Maribel Huertas, Westport  
Mary of Mary’s Hair Salon, Ossining MAKE-UP
Edga Mendez, Ossining Ana Limón, Mt. Kisco
Yonoris Rivas, Port Chester Candy Escobar
Maria Gamez, Port Chester
Anny del Orbe, Sleepy Hollow María Isabel Lopez, Mt. Kisco


Bryan Díaz Port Chester Council of Community Services
Fabiola Montoya Port Chester
Karen Fink Family Services of Westchester, Port Chester Office
Friends at FSW Sleepy Hollow and Ossining
Yoly Salon Port Chester
Friends at Avon
La Flor de Jalisco Bakery Port Chester
Our Host, Carver Center & its Staff, especially: Port Chester
Serbelio Cifuentes
Michael Williams
Gustavo “Chef” Díaz

Family Services of Westchester (FSW) Seeks Foster Parents


Westchester County is currently faced with a shortage of homes for foster care children with special needs and Family Services of Westchester (FSW) wants to partner with you so that every child can find a safe, caring, and supportive place to live.  Our Therapeutic Foster Care program serves children of all social, economic and ethnic backgrounds. These youth are special – they may have behavioral, social, or emotional problems – but they need homes and the support of loving, nurturing foster parents.  Importantly, FSW offers a wide-range of supports for those willing to open their homes, and hearts, to a child in need.  These supports ensure that the foster parents who work with us have the tools they need to provide a safe, consistent and structured home environment where a child can develop skills to succeed in the home, school and community.

The shortage of foster homes in Westchester means that children in need are placed in situations far away from their home communities and/or in institutional settings.  Neither of which is optimal for the child.  “By giving a child the chance to grow up in a home and within a community, you can help this child learn how to function in society and how to care for themselves once they are old enough to do so,” remarks Dori Lewis, Homefinder and Clinician.  “There is no doubt that living in a foster home increases the child’s chance of success exponentially and FSW is there every step of the way to provide assistance.”  This includes specialized parent skills training; 24-hour support from our professional staff; weekly home visits by program staff; bi-weekly group support sessions; respite services; and tax free monetary compensation.

Through counseling and the support of their foster parents, the children are encouraged to acquire better self-control and improved social skills.  Ultimately, our goal is to strengthen the relationship between birth parents and their children and to assist with reunification where possible or to prepare the child for independent living.  “By becoming a foster parent, you have an opportunity to make a tremendous impact on the life of a child in need.  You will also be amazed by the impact this will have on your own life,” says Ms. Lewis.

To learn more about FSW’s Therapeutic Foster Care program, please call Dori Lewis at 914-872-5278 or email her at Dlewis@fsw.org.  Information sessions are held the first Thursday of every month in our office in White Plains, or you can make an appointment to suit your needs.

FSW was founded in 1954 and runs more than 50 social service and mental health programs for all ages, including Adoption, Head Start/Early Head Start, Adult and Youth Residences and Veterans Outreach and Support.

Family Services of Westchester Announces Opening of Lanza Family Center for All Ages

January 24, 2015

Family Services of Westchester (FSW) will celebrate the opening of the Lanza Family Center for All Ages in White Plains, NY, on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. The Center, modeled after My Second Home, FSW’s award-winning intergenerational program in Mt. Kisco, will bring children, teens and seniors together at one site to participate in programs, share experiences and benefit from one another, just as they would in a family setting.  “We are thrilled to see this longstanding dream of opening an intergenerational center in lower Westchester become a reality,” remarks Susan Wayne, FSW’s President and CEO.  “This is a tremendous milestone not only for FSW, but for all the community members who can now take advantage of this unique programming.”

The Lanza Family Center for All Ages is named for Patricia Lanza who generously provided a $1 million challenge grant that enabled FSW to embark on this project.  Thanks to the enthusiastic response of many generous donors, FSW was able to meet this challenge, purchase a property in White Plains, and renovate the existing building to create a warm and inviting new center that will meet the needs of a diverse group of participants—older adults, young children and teens.  “We are so grateful to the donors who shared our vision and enabled us to reach this moment,” said Lynn Green, Director of Special Projects who spearheaded FSW’s fundraising efforts. “We also appreciate the support we have received from the City of White Plains, which has enthusiastically welcomed us to the community.”

The building will be comprised of two wings – The Marjorie and Richard Dammann Youth Wing named after the founders of FSW and The Sperling Family Adult Wing.  Programming at the center will include adult day services with caregiver support, early childhood education, and a home base for FSW’s many youth development programs.  Importantly, the Center will include space where the diverse age groups can come together.

Participants will interact during planned intergenerational activities as well as through informal encounters throughout the day. Together, children, teens and older adults will enjoy gardening, sharing meals, singing songs, cooking side-by-side, and participating in special events that allow them to break down age barriers and form lasting impressions.

For more information about the Lanza Family Center for All Ages, the Ribbon Cutting, or to make an appointment to see the flagship facility, please contact Lynn Halpern, Director for Communications and Development Outreach at lhalpern@fsw.org or 914.305.6834.

FSW was founded in 1954 and runs more than 50 social service and mental health programs for all ages, including Adoption, Head/Start/Early Head Start, Adult and Youth Residences and veterans Outreach and Support.



Family Services of Westchester, Inc. (FSW) Awarded Three-Year $902,064 Grant for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Initiative

October 2014–Family Services of Westchester, Inc. (FSW) has been awarded a three-year grant by the federal Administration on Aging to implement a four-pronged initiative designed to strengthen Westchester County’s ability to serve adults with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD) and their caregivers.  The ultimate goal of the initiative is to reduce the disproportionate access to these services that currently exists in Westchester and to improve the County’s ability to serve all those in need.  “FSW has many years of experience working with this population of adults and we are thrilled to have this opportunity to expand access to needed services as the number of Westchester County residents affected by these illnesses continues to increase, ” said Susan B. Wayne, President and CEO of FSW.  “We are excited to partner with the Alzheimer’s Association, Westchester County’s Department of Senior Programs and Services, Arc, Fordham University, Burke Rehabilitation Center Memory Evaluation and Treatment Services and others active in the field to develop a system of care to meet the County’s needs.”


Specifically, the $902,064 three-year grant will allow FSW to: 1) Replicate in southern Westchester FSW’s  innovative, award-winning social model adult day program, My Second Home; 2) Provide respite, training and/or support to caregivers of those with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) and have or are at risk of ADRD; 3) provide outreach, gatekeeper training and ADRD education to residents of southern Westchester, and 4) offer advanced training in behavioral symptom management and expert consultation to Westchester ADRD caregivers.  “The timing of this grant award is particularly fortuitous as we move closer to the anticipated opening of our new Lanza Family Center for All Ages in White Plains,” added Ms. Wayne.  “This new multi-generational site was originally conceived as a means to serve residents of southern and central Westchester who did not have access to our adult day program in Mt. Kisco, so we are delighted that it will be a part of this more comprehensive effort to expand access to care.”  The Lanza Family Center, located at 106 N. Broadway in White Plains, is currently under construction and scheduled to begin operations early in 2015.

My Second Home of Family Services of Westchester Selected for 2014 Outstanding Adult Day Center Award

September 2014–My Second Home, Family Services of Westchester, Inc.’s (FSW’s) social model adult day and intergenerational program in Mt. Kisco, has been selected by the National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA) for a 2014 Outstanding Adult Day Center Award.  In the congratulatory letter announcing the award, the Association noted that My Second Home’s staff deserves to be recognized for their “expertise, experience, innovation, creativity, kindness and compassion.”  Rina Bellamy, Director of My Second Home and Susan B. Wayne, FSW’s President and CEO will be on hand to receive the award at NADSA’s annual conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, on October 11, 2014.

My Second Home was developed by FSW in 1998 as an innovative way to address the needs of the burgeoning population of 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.  What sets My Second Home apart from other programs is its unique intergenerational component, which 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.

“We are thrilled to receive this award,” Ms. Wayne said, “not only for the recognition that Rina and her team at My Second Home so rightly deserve, but because it reinforces our decision to bring this tremendously successful model to White Plains.”  Ms. Wayne is referring to the Lanza Family Center for All Ages, a new multigenerational site that FSW is developing on North Broadway in White Plains. The Center is currently under construction and scheduled to begin operations early in 2015.


Work Begins on Family Services of Westchester’s Lanza Family Center for All Ages in White Plains

August 2014–  Board and Staff members of Family Services of Westchester, Inc. (FSW) gathered this morning at 106 North Broadway, the site of the agency’s forthcoming Lanza  Family Center for All Ages, to formally begin construction on this exciting new project.  The Mayor of White Plains, Thomas Roach, and the City’s Planning Commissioner, Elizabeth Cheteney, were also on hand to show their support for the center, which will bring older adults, children and teens together to participate in programs and share experiences.  The facility is named for Patricia Lanza, the late philanthropist whose $1 million challenge grant made FSW’s vision to create an intergenerational facility in lower Westchester possible.  The Lanza Family Center for All Ages is modeled after FSW’s award-winning intergenerational program, My Second Home in Mt. Kisco.  “We are thrilled to take this next step on the road toward an intergenerational program in White Plains so that residents of southern and central Westchester can have access to the recreation, socialization, education and enrichment programs that have been so successful at My Second Home,” said Susan Wayne, President and CEO of FSW.  Nick Wolff, Chairman of the Board of Directors added, “We are so grateful to the North Broadway Neighborhood Association for welcoming FSW to the community.”

The 18,000 square foot building will house an early childhood wing, a youth center and an older adult wing.   Each space will be secure within itself for safety and privacy, but the building will be creatively designed to include dedicated space where the generations can come together to share in events and activities.  Construction of the building, which was designed by Dennis Noskin Architects, will be overseen by AP Construction.  The two-acre site will be landscaped to make maximal use of the property for outdoor activities, featuring plots for intergenerational gardening, outdoor seating areas for older adults, age-appropriate playgrounds and sports facilities for youth.

Lynn Green, FSW’s Director of Special Projects, who led FSW’s capital campaign to meet the $1 million Lanza Family Foundation challenge grant, remarked “It is wonderful that so many generous donors have shared our enthusiasm for this project, and we are so pleased that the City of White Plains has shown their support through the Community Development Block Grant program.”  Construction on the project is scheduled to continue through the fall of 2014 with programming to begin in January 2015.

Family Services of Westchester’s RideConnect Program Awarded Renewed Funding Through 2017

January 2014–Family Services of Westchester, Inc. (FSW) announced today that its RideConnect Program, an information and referral service providing transportation options for older adults (60+), those with disabilities and home health care workers in northern Westchester, has been awarded renewed federal funding to continue the program through March 2017. The funding was awarded by the Department of Transportation under the federal New Freedom and Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) competitive grant programs.  The grant expands the RideConnect service area from the original communities of Bedford, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, Pound Ridge, North Salem, North Castle and Somers, to now include Cortlandt, Ossining, Peekskill, Yorktown and New Castle, as well as an extensive database of providers countywide.

“We are thrilled to be able to continue offering this vitally important service in northern Westchester where public transportation options are limited,” says Program Director Karen Ganis.  “Our usage rates demonstrate how great the need is:  In 2012, RideConnect provided 1,000 rides/referrals while in 2013, we provided over 6,000.”

Older adults, individuals with disabilities and home health care workers can call RideConnect at (914) 242-7433 to talk with a transportation counselor about their individual transportation needs.   Rides can be scheduled for medical appointments, shopping, cultural events, hairdresser’s appointments, or errands.  Our services include volunteer drivers, RideConnect bus, information and referrals through our extensive database of providers and an on-site Social Worker. Staff members serve as personal assistants and direct callers to the fastest, most cost-effective transportation option to meet their needs.

The RideConnect call center is staffed Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. However, with advanced notice, rides can be scheduled on weekends as well.  In addition, the RideConnect website (www.rideconnectwestchester.org) is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  In addition to the federal funds, RideConnect also receives support from the Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services.

“RideConnect enables so many individuals, who otherwise feel isolated in their own communities, to remain mobile and independent,” says Ganis.  “We are so grateful for the renewed funding which will allow people to get out and about!”

Ganis points out that there is an ongoing need for volunteer drivers in all communities.  Anyone interested in volunteering (you must be 21 or older) should contact Ms. Ganis at (914) 864-0955 or kganis@fsw.org.

Swiss Re Foundation Selects Family Services of Westchester as Armonk Office Charity of the Year 2014

December 2013–Family Services of Westchester, Inc. (FSW) was recently selected by the Swiss Re Armonk Office as Charity of the Year 2014, receiving a $100,000 donation from the Swiss Re Foundation to support our new Center for All Ages.  Swiss Re has been a long-time supporter of FSW’s programs, and throughout the years has generously contributed both funding and employee volunteer time to our efforts.  This $100,000 contribution will do so much to ensure the implementation of high quality early childhood, youth and senior programming at the soon-to-be-built Center for All Ages in White Plains.   Modeled after our award-winning intergenerational program at My Second Home in Mt. Kisco, the Center will bring together individuals of all ages to share in programs and experiences in one shared site.  We are so fortunate to have the Foundation’s generous support for this new initiative and are looking forward to working with Swiss Re employees on volunteer projects throughout the year.  We are so grateful to the Swiss Re Foundation for this tremendous honor!