Did you know that one in five adults living in New York City suffers from a diagnosed mental health disorder? Thanks to the help of Barry Grodenchik, the Samuel Field Y hosted a community forum, headlined by NYC Deputy Mayor Richard Buery (center) and NYC Deputy Commissioner for Mental Health Gary Belkin to discuss ongoing efforts to improve our city's mental health. For more information on the Mayor's new initiative, check out www.nyc.gov/thrivenyc. Special thanks to the Bayside Times Ledger's Mark Hallum for the following write-up:
To address the need for better mental health services throughout the city, Deputy Mayor Richard Buery, Mental Health Commissioner Gary Belkin and Councilman Barry Grodenchik (D-Oakland Gardens) held a forum to discuss the ThriveNYC program and how community organizations can help support the nearly one in five New Yorkers experiencing psychological trouble.
The forum, which was hosted by the Samuel Field Y, informed listeners about what the program aims to do, attitudes toward mental health assistance that need to be changed and how organizations can get involved.
According to the city website, ThriveNYC is a health plan which will train 250,000 employees and shift the perception of mental illness from an issue which is misunderstood and stigmatized to an aspect of life New Yorkers can easily seek help for..
Some aspects of the ThriveNYC program are already in the works. According to Buery, hiring for a hotline has already taken place with language diversity in mind. About 100 mental health professionals have also been hired and each will be assigned to 10 schools where they will advise staff on how to build a healthy psychological environment for students.
Grodenchik led the conversation by explaining how mental illness had affected his family, causing one member to commit suicide. He spoke of the dangers posed by the stigma of mental illness and how it prevents people from seeking treatment or support.
“We see this as a problem that affects every aspect of our lives and every community,” Belkin said, and explained how different cultures face mental health crises. The white population, for example, suffers the least and is statistically less likely to take their own lives compared to black and Asian demographics. Suicide is the top 10 leading cause of death for Asian-American men, according to Belkin.
Buery said cultural barriers must be deconstructed so people can feel open to the treatment they may need. ThriveNYC will focus on investing in children and introduce them to the program early on. He explained that issues like depression should be treated with the same attitude as a broken leg; without shame, and without barriers.
Jeri Mendolsohn, executive vice president and CEO of Samuel Field Y, said the systems created for community outreach are often too complicated to accomplish their goals. A city program partnering with the cultural aspects that can only be found with community organizations is one way she sees the ThriveNYC working successfully within the diverse facets of Queens, but stressed the importance of simplicity between the city and groups.
Representatives from Korean Community Services and India Home also offered input from their experience serving their communities needs and expectations from people within their cultural group.
More than 4,100 kids now have a new opportunity to get the balanced and active play they need so they can thrive. On Friday, September 23, the Bay Terrace Center of the Samuel Field Y built a kid-designed play space in less than eight hours with the help of more than 300 people from the Samuel Field Y, Disney, community members and organizers from KaBOOM!.
"The Samuel Field Y is thrilled to have been awarded a KaBOOM! playground build at the Bay Terrace Pool and Tennis Center,” said Jeri Mendelsohn, Executive Vice President and CEO of the Samuel Field Y. “We are so grateful to KaBOOM! who partnered us with the Walt Disney Company to design and build a state-of-the-art, inclusive playground that can support and provide fun, recreational and educational play opportunities for all of the children in our community. Today truly was an exhilarating day of creation, collaboration and camaraderie and we look forward to the play possibilities that lie ahead!"
A playground is more than a playground. It’s a brain-expander, friend-maker and muscle-builder. Play is central to a child’s ability to grow into a productive adult. The design is based on children’s drawings created at a special event in July. Their ideas were then incorporated into the final playground design.
Since 1996, KaBOOM! has been dedicated to the goal of ensuring that all children get the balanced and active play they need to thrive because #PlayMatters. The new playground is one of many made possible with support from Disney as part of The Walt Disney Company Healthy Living Commitment, a long-standing commitment to create healthier generations by making healthy living fun and simple.
“Play is central to a child’s ability to grow into a healthy and productive adult,” said Kevin Callahan, vice president of community and engagement, Corporate Citizenship at Disney. “Disney is proud to join KaBOOM! and accelerate efforts that move every child to play every day—at home, in school and in the community. Together, we hope to make places to play more accessible, and inspire kids and families to stay active.”
KaBOOM! works to accelerate efforts that move every child in America to play every day. Together with Disney, more than 70 new play spaces across America give thousands of kids access to healthier lifestyles, along with a safe and fun place to play and grow.
By the end of 2016, Disney’s support will bring the magic of play to over 83,000 kids and families.
Aside from Disney, ABC, and KaBOOM!, this special day wouldn't have been possible without the generosity and selflessness of the following organizations and people: Cord Meyer, The Central Queens Y, Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation, The Grand at Queens, E. Gluck Corporation, Stop & Shop, Pietro's Pizzeria and Cafe, Queens College and the Queens College Athletic Department, Francis Lewis High School, Thomas Edison High School, MinuteMan Press of Bellerose, AgeWell New York, SUNY Farmingdale, Bayside Milk Farm, Consolidated Vending, ASA Vending, Dunkin Donuts, Barclays, QDoba, Slim's Bagels, Benny's Kosher Pizza, Alley Pond Environmental Center, Brandywine Assisted Living at the Savoy, Outback Steakhouse, and Jack's Pizza & Pasta.
We have incredibly exciting news to share!
Thanks to the Walt Disney Company, the Bay Terrace Center of the Samuel Field Y will be getting a brand new playground!
More than 200 volunteers from the Samuel Field Y and Disney will join organizers from KaBOOM! and the greater Bayside/Queens/Samuel Field Y community on Friday, September 23 to give our children the play-filled childhood they deserve by building a new playground at our Bay Terrace Center. The playground is based on the kids’ drawings from a special Design Day event in July.
As you might recall, KaBOOM! and the Warner Music Group helped to build a playground at the Central Queens Y just a couple of years ago, and it's been a huge hit for them.
We can't wait to share this great community resource with our families, and we're so honored and grateful to have been given this opportunity to help bring happiness to over 2,000 children in our community.
Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) and national non-profit KaBOOM! awarded the Samuel Field Y a $13,200 Let’s Play Improvement Grant to use toward the purchase of an Imagination Playground in a Cart™, an innovative playground equipment system, which arrived at the Samuel Field Y earlier this week!
The grant, which will allow the Samuel Field Y to install the system at their primary facility in Little Neck, also to be used at their various offsite programs with summer and after school programs, is part of Let’s Play, an initiative by DPS to provide kids and families with the tools, places and inspiration to make active play a daily priority.
Imagination Playground in a Cart™ is an innovative design in play equipment that encourages creativity, communication, and collaboration in play. With a collection of custom-designed, oversized blue foam parts, Imagination PlaygroundTM provides a changing array of elements that allow children to turn their playground into a space constantly built and re-built by their imagination.
We're so proud to share the news that longtime Samuel Field Y community member Barbara Dodell was honored at UJA Federation of New York's Celebrating Our Community Changemakers event earlier this week! Barbara has been a committed Engage volunteer since 2014, and has been involved in several programs at the SFY and in the larger Engage community.
Barbara has done a commendable job utilizing her skills as a special education teacher to work as a volunteer leader in the Samuel Field Y's A Time for Us program, which benefits adults with developmental disabilities. On top of helping out during the group's events, she's played a pivotal role in the program's annual bake sale fundraisers. Barbara also introduced and now coleads the New York Giving Dolls program at the Y, which creates handmade dolls for children locally and around the world who are going through challenging life experiences.
On top of her work with the Engage and A Time For Us programs, Barbara has ALSO advocated passionately to bring an anti-gun violence initiative to the Y, and with her leadership, and in partnership with our Partners in Caring synagogues, we were proud to have our first reducing gun violence meeting this past April. Additionally, she has assisted with our community food drives and participated in UJA-Federation's Engage day of service.
We are so proud that Barbara was selected to receive this well deserved honor at UJA's Live With Purpose volunteer recognition, and we're beyond lucky to have someone like her in our community.
To find out how you can give back to your community and volunteer at the Samuel Field Y, click here.