The Astor Blog

Suicide Prevention via Facebook

One of the most powerful tools for helping to prevent suicide is something every one of us can provide: being sensitive to signs that someone we know may be suffering from suicidal thoughts and not being afraid to reach out to them and provide support and resources.

In the past, this was most likely to happen during face-to-face conversations or over the phone. Of course, the times have very much changed.

An increasing amount of our communication with family, friends, and acquaintances is now happening online via social networking sites.

Therefore, with the increase in social networking, there has naturally been an increase in people sharing suicidal thoughts and signs on sites such as Facebook.

Read the complete post…

Honoring Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

In commemoration of Mental Health Awareness Month and Children’s Mental Health Day on May 7, 2015, Astor wants to draw attention to reducing the stigma around mental health, especially for children. 

For too long, the stigma surrounding mental health has prevented many needing treatment from receiving it.

Astor also recognizes the importance of early intervention and diagnoses in reducing the severity of mental illness.

Did You Know?

1 in 5 children, either currently or at some point during their life, have had a seriously debilitating mental disorder. -National Institute of Mental Health

Suicide is a serious public health problem that affects even young people. For youth between the ages of 10 and 24, suicide is the third leading cause of death. It results in approximately 4,600 lives lost each year. -Center for Disease Control and Prevention

40% of child abuse and neglect victims, receive no post-investigation services …

Read the complete post…

Early Childhood Programs Help Families Blossom

Jeniffer Rivera playing in the sandbox early last summer after attending school. Photo by Joel Weisbrod.

Jeniffer Rivera is just one child who has had a positive experience with Astor’s Early Childhood Programs. A year and a half ago, Jeniffer was introduced to Astor’s programs through the home-based component of our Early Head Start Program. The home-based program consists of a weekly, 90-minute home visit by a Parent Infant Educator (PIE) who supports the parents and child with information and activities on child development, parenting skills, nutrition, and health.

After a year of home visits, Jeniffer began school at our Wingdale location, where center-based nurturing rooms offer small groups of children ranging in age from six weeks through three years opportunities for individualized development through primary care giving, one-on-one routines, and exploration of interesting, safe materials in a child-focused environment.

“School has made Jeniffer blossom. It’s …

Read the complete post…

Holiday Message from the Executive Director

While for most of us, the holiday season is filled with lots of joy and wonder, some of our children have never experienced the true joy of having a loving, caring adult in their lives. And most are from families that struggle to put food on the table not only during the holiday season, but throughout the year.

My hope is that when our kids look back on their lives, they do not focus on the trauma and the challenges, but the beauty they’ve experienced! …

Read the complete post…

Mugs for Sale

Ceramic mugs made by the children in the Residential Programs were featured during the St. Nick’s Holiday Craft Fair. At the end of eight weeks, over 40 mugs were handcrafted.

“The children imagine someone they don’t even know enjoying their coffee or cocoa in it later on, so they put a lot of heart into each one.”…

Read the complete post…

Pet Therapy Incorporated at Astor

For eight years now, volunteer, Pat Cortese, and her Labrador retriever, Angelina, mostly known as Lina, have worked with the children at the Residence in Rhinebeck. Lina is a therapy dog who provides comfort and a sense of safety, and helps keep the children keep calm.

“It is such a rewarding experience. This is such a tiny thing that Lina and I do to help make the children feel good,” Cortese said.

Read the complete post…

Magee Hickey – Continuing a Legacy of Giving

Magee Hickey, the accomplished news reporter with decades of experience at major television networks, including, NBC and CBS, and most recently at PIX 11 and NY1 has chosen to follow in her parent’s footsteps by supporting Astor.

“I was always extremely proud of my parents,” says Hickey, who describes having parents like Larry and Jean as “winning the lottery.” She does not mean in terms of money, but in terms of having great parents who set wonderful examples for her and her siblings…

Read the complete post…

The Ugly Stick

It’s not what you think.

Griffin showed us his Ugly Stick the other day with all the excitement only a kid can muster for an extruded piece of plastic. But in his hands it’s a wand to tame the Landsman Kill, lure the rainbows from their eddies and claim his small chunk of a Huckleberry Finn summer.

He told us about his love of fishing and the catch he had snared. And we realized he was telling us and showing us something we too often forget…

Read the complete post…

Family Counseling When You Need It

In 2013, over 1,400 families came in to our Mid-Hudson Valley Counseling Centers to receive assistance. They arrived with an array of challenges which afflict families during difficult times.

Astor’s team faces a tremendous challenge that they hope to overcome: opening the eyes of parents to the role stress plays in their lives and the lives of their children.

Read the complete post…

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.

Read the complete post…

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 the complete post…

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

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.

Read the complete post…

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.

Read the complete post…