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The Ugly Stick

Griffin and his favorite fishing pole.

by Susan Ragusa

It’s not what you think.

If you had to guess – chances are, you still would not know.

It’s actually just a marketing ploy, a clever, memorable name for an affordable fishing rod, but in the hands of Griffin, one of our children at the residential treatment center in Rhinebeck, its a mark of normalcy, a souvenir of childhood, like old football helmets, Legos and in-line skates that will probably wind up in his attic when he’s grown, to be found and wondered about by his own kids.…

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Family Counseling When You Need It

Virginia Hayes Sibbison (1)

Family Counseling When You Need It

Reaching Children and Families in Need on a Daily Basis

Astor operates many community-based educational and mental health programs at facilities throughout New York State’s Mid-Hudson Valley Region and the Bronx.  This blog will focus on our Hudson Valley Counseling Centers, which were featured in an article by Dr. Virginia Hayes Sibbison in the latest issue of Astor Family Magazine.…

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Family Advocates Give Back to Astor


Lisa Flynn, a Family Advocate at Astor Services for Children & Families, recounts her experiences as both the caregiver of a child helped by Astor and her subsequent employment at Astor as a Family Advocate, where she can now help others as she and her family were helped before.

Now I get to work with struggling families and help them, the way I had been helped.  My experiences at Astor as both a client and an employee have been life changing.

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Supporting Children and Families’ Mental Health Year Round


For many families, facing ten weeks of summer with fewer supports and services for their children is a time of significant stress, because good educational programming for at-risk youth can sustain youth and family through times when a child’s behaviors are more challenging or more risky.

Let’s make every month in our communities a month that provides meaningful support so that children can be healthy, happy and productive, and families can receive the support they need to thrive. Read more »

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Annual Chili Fest: A Group Success

Mike DelGiorno, Astor resident and potter, speaks to staff about crafting ceramic chili bowls for the annual Chili Bowl Fest

Thanks and heartfelt appreciation to everyone who supported the Annual Chili Fest this year that took place at the Residential Programs, in Rhinebeck on April 10th.

The children poured their creativity into crafting and glazing bowls for the sale. The staff came out to buy the handmade bowls and enjoy some home cooked chili… Read more »

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Astor’s Head Start Programs: Support Students in the Classroom!

First Day of School

This I have never understood:

How can anyone, anywhere not want to support a program that gives those who are most defenseless, who are without a voice, without a constituency, without a lobby, a chance?

Head Start works. By all the metrics it has an immediate effect on the kids. On IQ scores, academic achievement, crime, and poor health.

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What Really Prevents School Violence?

School communities are the most critical factor in the prevention of school violence.  The more inclusive and welcoming the school community, the more connected most youth in that community feel.  The more connected youth feel, the more likely it is that any youth contemplating violence will be revealed to caring adults early in the path toward an actual violent act.

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Giving Back – An Answer to Tragedy

Giving Back

Last week, JoAnne Bacon, a Newtown mom whose 6 year old daughter, Charlotte, was killed in the Newtown shootings one year ago today, asked that the caring citizens of our country mark this anniversary by practicing acts of kindness in our own communities.

In the communities that Astor serves, there are so many opportunities to act as an agent of hope for children who need your help.

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From Lava to Dating Alicia Keyes

Malik G, Lava

Sure, it was in the spirit of the season and we could just as easily tell you he had learned the lesson of giving, but we think there was something else going on here. This child was giving back to Astor, telling us how important the school is to him. It was his humble way of saying thank you.

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Happy Thanksgiving!!


I was rather taken by something Laura Pensiero owner of Gigi’s Trattoria in Rhinebeck said the other day: “Food tastes better when it’s shared.” That goes right to the point of the Pilgrim holiday we’re about to celebrate.

And it goes right to the heart of all that they’re trying to accomplish with the annual Thanksgiving feast for the children and staff of Astor.…

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