Late Fall Winter 2009 Foster Care Newsletter FINAL

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  • 8/8/2019 Late Fall Winter 2009 Foster Care Newsletter FINAL



    Say C he e se!

    The Heart Gallery is

    looking for professional

    photographers to

    volunteer their services

    for the Heart Gallery. If

    you are a photographer,

    or know someone who

    is, please call Lori at

    388-4399 to help out!

    T e m p o r a r y

    C a r e Ca n M a k e

    a P e r m a n e n t


    I f y o u v e e v e r c o n s i d e re d f o s t e r i n g a c h i l d ,

    n o w i s t h e t i m e . A c h i l d i s w a i t i n g f o r y o u !

    We hope you will join us for an Informational Session

    for Prospective foster/adoptive Parents on

    Thursday, December 17 at 5:30pm, at 106 Erie

    Boulevard in Schenectady. At this session you

    will learn about the training process, and about foster

    care and adoption in general. The training

    sessions begin on January 5. In order to begin

    the home study process, you are required to attend all

    11 sessions in the training. Sessions begin promptly

    at 5:30pm, and end at 8:30pm. Training sessions

    will be held at 106 Erie Boulevard in Schenectady.

    Please note: for all evenings, it is necessary that

    you make arrangements for child care while you are

    participating in the training each week. If you have

    any questions, please call the Foster Home Finding

    Unit at 388-4541.

    I n f o rm a t i o n a l & T ra i n i n g S es s i o nDa t e s a re a s f o l lo w s :

    In fo rma t ion a l : Thursday, December 17

    T ra in ing Sess ions :

    Tuesday January 5

    Thursday, January 7

    Wednesday January 13

    Wednesday January 20

    Monday January 25

    Wednesday January 27

    Wednesday February 3

    Tuesday February 9

    Thursday February 11

    Monday February 22

    Wednesday February 24

    Can Y ou H elp U s Find M or e F os ter Par en t s ?

    If you are able to help us share informational brochures with prospective foster/adoptive parents, or

    would like to invite our staff to give a presentation to your church or community group, please call

    the Foster Home Finding Unit at 518-388-4456 to let us know. Currently, our greatest need is

    finding homes for older children (teenagers and up to age 21) and sibling groups.

    Please help us in our search for more quality foster homes for the children in our community!

    Winter 2010 Training Dates Announ ced

    D i d Y ou K now ? "Mele Kalikimaka"

    is the way to wish

    someone a Merry

    Christmas in


    employed at Six Flags Great Escape

    as a "Thriller" Michael Jackson

    tribute artist and choreographer at

    age 16.

    I am currently employed as a youth

    mentor for America Reads/Counts

    program and choreographing

    children from ages 6-18 for the much

    anticipated Wizard of Oz Meets The

    Wiz production for Pratt Institute

    and will be starring as the

    Scarecrow. Since College, I have

    traveled across the world from L.A

    to Jamaica and even Venice Italy,

    where I lived for two months

    through Pratt Institute studying art

    history. Northeast Parent and

    C h i l d S o c i e t y h a s a i d e d

    me greatly and allowed me to

    comfortably maintain my pursuits as

    both a student and active member of

    society. I am highly appreciative of

    all of their efforts with other youth

    in my position.

    As Good perpetuates Good, a little

    bit of positive thinking can go a long

    way. I realized that, throughout my

    hard upbringing, the best attitude to

    take is the drive for a better

    tomorrow. With life, there are some

    things you can't change, but be fully

    aware of the things you can, such

    as your outlook on yourself and

    others, your decisions on which

    friends to choose to be around and

    more importantly, you can control

    your doubts and fears about whatyou believe you can and can't achieve

    in this lifetime. Never limit yourself

    and believe in your heart that you

    are important and you are special.

    Love yourself enough to truly know

    that you are capable of achieving

    anything that you put your mind and

    heart to, as long as it is positive and

    you stay positive no matter what. I

    believe in ALL foster care youth

    across the world and feel that all of

    us can learn from one another and

    help end the cycle of another

    homeless, fatherless or motherless

    child innocently born into this world,

    We can all end this through

    understanding, love, care and


    My name is Aamir Smith and I am

    c u r r e n t l y a J u n i o r a n d

    Advertisement/Art Direction major

    at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn NY. I

    have been in-and-out of foster

    care since I was three years old. I am

    21 now, and just recently aged out of

    ca re. I sta rted o ut within

    the Residential Homes in Northeast

    at age 13 and progressed tothe Mynders Grouphome from 14-

    17 then to the S.I.L.P Independent

    Living program till I graduated from

    Schenectady High School in 2007.

    N Y C h a s g i v e n m e m a n y

    opportunities to continue my

    passion for art, dance and helping

    today's youth. Northeast welcomed

    me at age 14 to become apart of Y.I.P

    (Youth in Progress) where I traveled

    across the U.S and had the privilege

    to meet so many other youth that

    shared similar childhoods as my

    own. During that time I was also

    employed at Planned Parenthood as

    a Peer Educator, informing my peers

    of healthy relationships, teen

    pregnancy and anatomy and became

    From Foster Care to Independence


    Schenectady County Office of

    Children & Family Services

    106 Erie Boulevard

    Schenectady, NY 12305


    child, if you to

    right now.

    So many of us p

    dreams, leavin

    At the end, we s

    only I had don

    wish I had don

    chance. Well,

    there is no tim

    Your chance

    to give a child

    not lost, it is h

    Please pick u

    again, please m

    dont put off un

    you can do toda

    The children w

    waiting, and t

    be a home - y

    loving family.

    right now. A

    take that next

    team of caring

    eager to train m

    critical mission

    I sincerely wis

    healthy holida

    peaceful new ye

    There is an old expression I

    remember my father saying to me,

    usually when I tried to resist doing

    my homework: There is no timelike the present.

    As I reflect on all of our current

    strategies to increase the number

    of foster/adoptive families serving

    children in Schenectady County, I

    have come to realize that the most

    important message that we need to

    convey is the sense of urgency we

    face in recruiting new foster

    families. The need for families has

    never been greater, and neither

    has our agencys challenge to bring

    more families into the fold. My

    staff and I have come to the

    conclusion that we all - including

    prospective foster and adoptive

    families - must move forward

    right now!

    Keeping that sense of urgency in

    mind, I am addressing this letter

    to all of you in our community

    who have stopped at one of our

    booths, picked up a flyer or

    brochure, visited our web site, or

    called our recruitment number -

    but ultimately decided (for one

    reason or another) that being a

    foster/adoptive parent wasnt

    something you could do right

    no w.

    First, let me offer my thanks to

    you for caring enough to stop -

    even for a moment - to find out

    what becoming a foster/adoptiveparent is all about. Believe it or

    not, that moment is a very

    important first step. But, right

    no w, Im asking you to take

    another moment and think again

    about what it would mean to a

    There is No Time Like The PresentA M e s s a g e f r o m D e n n i s P a c k a r d , Co m m i s s io n e r o f t h e

    S c h e n e c t a d y C o u n t y D e p a r t m e n t o f S o c ia l S e r v i c es

    I n s i d e t h i si s s u e :

    A Message fromThe Commissioner


    A Letter from JudgePowers


    Adoption DayCelebration


    From the Desk of LoriPirrone


    Winter 2010 Training

    Dates Announced


    From Foster Care to

    Independence - A

    Personal Story


    Calendar of Events 3

    W i n t e r 2 0 0 9 - 2 0 1 0

    The textbook definition of a

    foster parent is one who offers a

    temporary home to a child. In

    reality, a foster parent

    provides more than

    just a home - he or she

    offers emotional support,

    guidance, and love to a

    child who is consumed with

    fear, confusion, and a sense

    of powerlessness after being

    removed from the only

    family they have ever

    known. Foster parents bestow

    immeasurable benefits upon their

    foster child.

    For instance, they offer a rich

    family life experience essential to

    promote a child's health, growth,

    and long-term development.

    Foster parents also assist the

    child in receiving counseling,

    mental health, and educational

    services. In so doing, they

    become a role model for the

    child, providing him or her with

    the emotional stability required

    to develop into a trusted member

    of our society. With more than

    25,000 children in the foster care

    system, there is a dire need for

    foster parents in New York State

    and the benefit

    parent are va

    parent, you wil

    a large and

    support netw

    you to take

    opportunity to

    in a child's life

    county's Depa

    Services to le

    becoming a


    -Hon. Mark L

    Supreme Cour

    of the Family C


    The Rewar ds of Fostering a Childs Devel

    Chisann Kohlhepp and her son Anthony

    Kohlhepp (age20), who was adopted this year

  • 8/8/2019 Late Fall Winter 2009 Foster Care Newsletter FINAL



    The Heart Gallery UpdateFrom the Desk of Lori Pirrone, Adoption Supervisor

    December 2. I encourage everyone

    to take a small break from your

    holiday shopping to take a look at

    our amazing gallery!

    Once again, Liberty Ridge Farm in

    Schaghticoke welcomed the Heart

    Gallery youth to their farm on

    October 29. The children were able

    to explore the giant corn maze,

    enjoy activities on the farm and

    take part in a campfire cookout.

    The children were excited to see

    their photographs (as part of the

    Heart Gallery) on display in the

    main building. The kids had a great

    time, and we are tremendously

    grateful to Liberty Ridge for

    welcoming our youth to their

    wonderful facility.On November 17, The New York

    State Heart Gallery was brought to

    the Rensselaer Train Station, where

    it is currently on display. The New

    York City Heart Gallery is also on

    display at Penn Station in NYC. In

    addition to the photographs, the

    Heart Gallery displays include

    The Capital Region Heart

    Gallery is a visually stunning

    exhibit of portraits that

    capture the unique personality

    and spirit of some of our very

    special children. The children

    in the gallery are regional

    children awaiting adoption.

    The mission of the Capital Region

    Heart Gallery is to raise awareness

    of the need for permanent loving

    adoptive families for the children

    awaiting adoption in this region.

    Our goals are to inspire individuals

    who otherwise might never have

    considered adopting, and to

    motivate those who have.

    The Capital Region Heart Gallery

    has been on display at Parson'sChild and Family Center

    throughout the month of

    November, and welcomed guests

    at three public receptions during

    the month. The Capital Region

    Heart Gallery will also be on

    display at Rotterdam Square Mall

    near the mall officesbeginning

    information about the adoption

    process, and the need for

    permanent, loving adoptive families

    for our waiting children. The Heart

    Gallery will be on display at the

    train stations until January 2010. I

    encourage you to visit either (or

    both) of the galleries to learn more

    about these very special children.

    We are always looking for family

    friendly venues to display the Heart

    Gallery. If you know of a location,

    we would like to hear from you.

    Please feel free to give me a call at



    Lori Pirrone

    T h e H e a r t G a l l e r y d i s p l a y a t L i b e r t y R i d g e

    Liberty Ridge Farmin Schaghticoke

    Our kids enjoying a

    great day of fun on the

    farm at Liberty Ridge

    Adoption Day Celebration 2009

    On November 18 staff, parents and friends gathered outside

    the Schenectady County Office Building in Schenectady for

    the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony to celebrate National

    Adoption month. And this year, we have a lot for which we

    are thankful - 11 children have left the foster care

    system and entered adoptive families, and seven more

    children are awaiting an adoption finalization date.

    We are thankful for the adoptive families that come

    forward to help our children, and we encourage all

    families - both parents and children - to talk about

    their experience with the adoption process to help us

    raise awareness about the need for permanent, loving,

    forever families for our waiting children. We arethankful for everyone who plays a part, large or small, in

    finding permanent homes for our youth.

    Relative Adoptive parent

    Jasmine Santiago (second

    from left) lights our

    Adoption Tree with her

    daughters (l-r) Krystal

    McFarline, Kristy

    McFarline, and Kiara

    McFarlinePhotos above, clockwise f rom top : Judge Eli Taub,

    DSS Commissioner Dennis Packard, Judge Mark Powers,

    Deputy Director of Childrens Services Aurelia Colamarino

    The 2009 Adoption Tree

    P h o t o a t l e f t : Our amazing adoption caseworkers, l-r:

    Lorena Robinson, Michelle Cappelletti, Lori Pirrone, Beth

    Kent, and Patricia Moskowitz


    January Events

    Dec 3: Magic & Melodies Celebration. 4-9pmtown Schenectady. Music, crafts, kids activit

    Dec 5: Greater Glenville Family YMCA's BreSanta. Join Santa and Mrs. Claus for breakfcrafts, games and photos with Santa. $5.00 p127 Droms Road, Glenville.

    Dec 5:YWCA of Schenectady Breakfast withTwo seatings: 8:30am and 9:30am. Call 374

    Dec 5: Sinterklaas (aka St. Nicholas) will paUpper Union Street (11am-12pm). Crafts for king at 10am, a bell choir and caroling. F REE

    Dec 11: Hanukkah begins at sundown.

    Dec 11: Santas Playland for Foster FamiliesFREE. Call 388-4456 for more details.

    Dec 17: Foster/Adoptive Care Informational5:30pm. Please see page 4 for details.

    Dec 24-25: Christmas Eve/Christmas Day HSchenectady County Offices closed.

    December Events

    Jan 1: New Years Day holiday. SchenectadyOffices closed.

    Jan 5: Foster/Adoptive Care Training SessioPlease see page 4 for details.

    Jan 19: Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. SchCounty Offices closed.

    February Events

    Feb 12: Lincolns Birthday holiday. SchenecCounty Offices closed.

    Feb 14: Valentines Day

    Feb 16: Washingtons Birthday holiday. SchCounty Offices closed.

    December 2009

    Sun Mon Tue W ed Thu Fri Sat

    1 2 3 4 5

    6 7 8 9 10 11 12

    13 14 15 16 17 18 19

    20 21 22 23 24 25 26

    27 28 29 30 31

    January 2010Sun Mon Tue W ed Thu Fri Sat

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    3 4 5 6 7 8 9

    10 11 12 13 14 15 16

    17 18 19 20 21 22 23

    24 25 26 27 28 29 30


    February 2010

    Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat

    1 2 3 4 5 6

    7 8 9 10 11 12 13

    14 15 16 17 18 19 20

    21 22 23 24 25 26 27



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