Eleven women sat front row in a room of nearly 60 attendees as they eagerly awaited the start of their HER TURN graduation ceremony. This group of women from Hempstead, NY endured difficult upbringings, have struggled with trauma, addiction, and/or mental health issues putting them at risk for HIV/AIDS often with little to no access to quality care. Nonetheless, they remained determined to find new hope. A fresh start, a reliable network of resources and the comfort of being with a group of women who’ve endured similar struggles are all opportunities offered at HER TURN.
HER TURN stands for Health. Empowerment. Resiliency. Treatment. Understanding. Recovery. Network and is one of Family & Children’s Association’s (FCA) newest initiatives to empower at-risk individuals within their community. The program is funded by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).
The women engaged with HER TURN spend countless hours attending support groups and educational workshops led by a dedicated team of HER TURN social workers and volunteers. To incentivize women to attend the program and learn more, Walmart gift cards are offered as part of the community outreach plan and they’ve proved positive in the case of several graduates. After receiving her graduation certificate, HER TURN graduate Cheryl Jenkins shared with the audience, “I came to the HER TURN Program for the Walmart card incentive and stayed for the groups and support”. Two HER TURN graduates have been brought into the HER TURN aftercare program as volunteers to help mentor future HER TURN clients.
Jeanne Cacciatore, Program Director, HER TURN, said of the graduation, “I am proud to be part of the HER TURN Team; this event displayed what we can do together. HER TURN is truly a partnership between an amazing staff, awesome agency, external providers, community leaders, and SAMHSA; the focus is the clients, they are committed to helping each other move forward.”
Don Ryan, Mayor of the Village of Hempstead, Siela Bynoe, Nassau County Legislator and Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, President/CEO, FCA shared words of wisdom as graduates progress towards a new stage of their lives, whether furthering their studies or doing volunteer work with HER TURN. The women were encouraged to take their strength and empowerment out to the Hempstead community as living examples of positive change.
Selia Bynoe, Nassau County Legislator, said, “I am deeply impressed by the strength and resiliency demonstrated by the graduates of the HER TURN program. It was my honor to acknowledge their success and to encourage them to keep moving ever forward”.
Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, President/CEO, FCA, said, “We are so proud of the wonderful women who comprised our inaugural class of HER TURN graduates. More proof that those closest to the problem are closest to the solution.”
HER TURN graduates had family and friends at the event and enjoyed a celebratory dinner after the ceremony. The event was held at FCA’s freshly renovated Family Treatment & Recovery Center in the heart of Hempstead which offers a range of programs and services to help families struggling with addiction.
Special thanks to the HER TURN team, to THRIVE Recovery Center’s Director Lisa Ganz for providing a live musical performance and to Maggiano’s Italian Restaurant of Garden City for their donations for the graduates and guests.
HER TURN is funded by a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
To further support HER TURN, text FCA to 855-735-2437 and follow the instructions on your phone.
To learn more about HER TURN, please visit: https://www.familyandchildrens.org/programs-services/addiction/herturn/
MINEOLA, NEW YORK, May 16, 2018 – Long Island organization Saf-T-Swim has been named Family & Children’s Association (FCA)’s “Hero of the Month” for April. With multiple locations in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, the year-round swim school is a leader in water safety education, dedicated to teaching people lifelong swimming skills and how to love and respect the water.
Children attending FCA’s Lynn Vanderhall Nursery Co-Op were selected to take part in an 18-week pilot program launched to enhance awareness and funding for swim education and water safety initiatives. The program, a collaborative effort between Saf-T-Swim, Inc., Horizon Media, Real Change Productions and the Marcie Mazzola Foundation, aims to provide vital water safety skills at no cost to children in low income or single parent families. FCA was recommended for the program by Nancy Mazzola, President/CEO, Marcie Mazzola Foundation.
Currently, 15 students from the Nursery Co-Op (ages 2 ½ to 13) attend the program on Tuesday evenings, taking part in 90-minute individual and group swim lessons at Saf-T-Swim’s Westbury location. Classes are structured according to children’s ages and swimming ability.
Fundraising efforts for the program were led by Roseann Sagginario, Broadcast Group Manager, Horizon Media, and Ambassador and Water Safety Advocate for 13 Strong and partner, Real Change Productions. “I was inspired by my sons’ love of the water to create the 13 Strong ‘Swim-Tips’ Initiative to build awareness about the importance of water safety for our children in the US,” Sagginario said.
Jim Hazen, Owner/CEO Saf-T-Swim, explained, “In our programs, we begin educating children at two or three months old since they haven’t been conditioned to fear water yet.” With backyard pool drowning ranking as the second leading cause of death of children under the age of 5, teaching water safety skills is essential. “It’s vital to teach kids how to stay calm and paddle over to the side or even turn over and float on their back if they fall in the water,” Hazen said.
According to Ana Castillo, Nursery Coordinator of the Lynn Vanderhall Nursery Co-Op, children are learning fast and regularly receive rewards for their achievements. Families are equally pleased. “The parents are so excited and tell us how much their kids love coming to the swimming lessons, and that they keep asking for Tuesday to come,” Castillo said. “Parents are also very thankful to the trainers because they are doing a really good job teaching their children, and they have been very patient with them.”
Don Holden, Chief Development Officer at FCA, who presented April’s “Hero of the Month” award to Danielle and Jim Hazen of Saf-T Swim, said, “The kids are having a ball and learning vital skills that will serve them well throughout their lives. We can’t thank Jim, Danielle, Nancy and Roseann enough for all they are doing to further the mission of FCA.”
About Family & Children’s Association (FCA)
FCA is a not-for-profit agency helping more than 30,000 Long Islanders each year. For more than 130 years, the organization has worked to protect and strengthen vulnerable children, seniors, families and communities on Long Island.
Through an integrated network of services and counseling, FCA provides help and hope to under-served and disadvantaged individuals struggling to build better lives. The agency offers Addiction Prevention, Treatment and Recovery Services, Family Education & Support, Children’s Mental Health Services, Adult & Senior Services and Residential Care Programs.
FCA has been nationally recognized as a model of excellence, fiscally sound, well-managed and possessing an impeccable reputation in providing community-based social services. The agency embraces more than 200 individual volunteers, corporate groups, community groups and sponsors who join together to be part of something bigger than them.
For more information about FCA, visit www.familyandchildrens.org.
Saf-T-Swim is a year round swim school dedicated to teaching people how to love and respect the water. Its many facilities on Long Island offer unique and fun programs for all ages, from infants to seniors. Saf-T-Swim is committed to providing every student with a safe, attentive, fun environment to learn lifelong swimming skills. Many students begin as infants and continue to attend Saf-T-Swim for many years, working their way through the organization’s various swim levels and programs.
For more information about Saf-T-Swim, visit www.saf-t-swim.com.
(Photo L to R): Don Holden, Chief Development Officer, FCA; Danielle Hazen, Marketing Director, Saf-T-Swim; Roseann Sagginario, Broadcast Group Manager, Horizon Media and Ambassador and Water Safety Advocate for 13 Strong and partner, Real Change Productions; Jim Hazen, Owner/CEO, Saf-T Swim.
Phone 516-746-0350 x1247