Dear Friends,
We are very proud to report that we are bringing our services to more local schools and more young people!
Orange Preparatory Academy
On Friday, January 27th, over 75 people celebrated the Grand Opening of "The Zone," a new School-Based Youth Services Program (SBYSP) at Orange Preparatory Academy that will be managed by FAMILYConnections.
"This is the 5th School-Based Program that FAMILYConnections will manage and we are very excited about this opportunity," said Jacques Hryshko, FAMILYConnections' Executive Director.  "SBYSP is a program model that really works.  The goal is to inspire kids to believe in themselves and succeed at school while helping students stay away from high risk behaviors.  Students tell us how program activities connect them with peers so they don't feel alone.  We hear how staff pulled students out of depression and gave them hope.  And graduates tells us that, if it weren't for the support they received from SBYSP, they would never have graduated.  We celebrate this Grand Opening and thank the NJ Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Orange School District for the opportunity to work together and make The Zone a reality."
The Zone, located at Orange Preparatory Academy, will be open 5 days a week during and after school, as well as in the summer, serving students in the 8th and 9th grades.
In addition to The Zone, FAMILYConnections manages the following School-Based Youth Services Programs:
  • The Space at Orange High School
  • The Loft at Columbia High School
  • The Hub at Maplewood Middle School
  • The Den at Bloomfield High School
These programs offer on-site mental health counseling, life-skills training, prevention programming, academic support, afterschool enrichment & recreation in collaboration with school staff and community partners.  The Zone will offer similar programs for Orange Prep students.
Shabazz High School, Newark
Fully funded by the Newark School District, FAMILYConnections developed "The Haven," a customized Youth Services program for Shabazz High School students which opened in the late fall.  The design of The Haven was based on years of experience running NJ Department of Children and Families - School-Based Youth Services Programs in four different school locations as listed above.
In collaboration with the administration and staff at Shabazz, our goal is to maximize the social, emotional and academic success of participating students with a message that says:
  • You matter
  • You have a voice
  • You belong to this team/group/fellowship, and
  • We believe you can succeed
Services include:
  • Mental health services
  • Skills-building groups
  • Field trips for ongoing team-building
  • Home visits as indicated
  • Teacher support/consultation
"The Shabazz High School faculty could not be more warm and welcoming of our program and staff," said Kristine Brown, FAMILYConnections' Shabazz Program Coordinator. "Even while electronics and supplies were being ordered, the team began taking referrals and meeting with students and their families.  The program will be engaging a core set of 30 students to receive individual, group, and family support.  While Shabazz staff are in charge of referring students to The Haven, word-of-mouth has already led to some kids requesting to join.  Responding to a clear need, the program will be facilitating a Grief Support Group for a number of students who have lost a parent, or other significant relative.  Classroom consultations with teachers have been initiated, and school staff have praised the program for improving students's in-class behavior following a consultation."
Please Note:
  • Our State and School District contracts do NOT fully fund these important services for local youth!  Please give to our Annual Appeal if you have not already done so.  We are short of our goal and need your help.  It's easy - just CLICK HERE and know that your contribution is giving someone hope and a second chance for a better life!!
  • SAVE THE DATE - May 2, 2017!  Plans are underway for our Annual Tasting Gala.  Learn more about this event and our honorees RIGHT HERE.
  • Happy Valentines Day!  Most people think of Valentines Day as a day of romance.  And this is true.  However, it's also an occation to acknowledge friends and family.  Let them know you care.  A solid support system goes a long way in reducing stress and helping one cope during difficult times.  This can be especially true during the winter months!!

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