Tag Archives: featured


Hello and Happy New Year!

My name is Peterson Rodriguez and I was recently elected President of the Youth Advisory Board (YAB). I’m looking forward to giving the YAB a fresh start and hope to create positive growth and change! We’re planning exciting new projects and will be more advocacy focused. As a Board, we are strong in unity and teamwork!

The YAB is starting 2016 with an open house to introduce the events we are planning. I’m eager to welcome everyone and offer a sneak peek into the year ahead. Definitely keep a look out because the YAB will be making waves!


Peterson Rodriguez, 2016 YAB President


2016 Spring Dinner Dance

On April 7, 2016, New Yorkers For Children’s Friends Committee will celebrate the 13th Annual Spring Dinner Dance at the Mandarin Oriental, New York. Benefiting the nearly 11,000 youth in foster care in NYC, this festive and fashionable event typically sells out before the invitations are even mailed. Guests will enjoy cocktails, a luxury silent auction, dinner and dancing! The evening also features a programmatic live auction supporting NYFC’s Back-to-School Package Program.

For ticket and table information, please contact Jennifer Houston at jhouston@innovativephilanthropy.net

You can also download the Spring Dinner Dance response form here 





Unselfie Collage

#GivingTuesday 2015

This year, NYFC participated in #GivingTuesday, a global social movement in which individuals, families, charities, businesses around the world come together for one common purpose: to celebrate and encourage the joy of giving. #GivingTuesday is a special call to action, especially on social media, and we wanted to be part of this global day of giving in the name of youth in foster care.

Many donations came in for our Back-to-School (BTS) Package Program, which equips scholars with the tools they need to succeed in and out of the classroom. Thanks to our #GivingTuesday donors, NYFC’s BTS packages will be distributed in 2016 to youth enrolled in college and vocational programs. Each package includes a laptop, a 20-trip MetroCard, and a $100 Amazon gift care to purchase books.

NYFC’s very own staff shared their reasons for giving and supporting this important program on social media. They uploaded a collage of their “selfless” selfies to NYFC’s Instagram account.

Due to the campaign’s popularity, NYFC extended our #GivingTuesday outreach from December 1st to December 15th and directed donors to the Double the Donation website (https://doublethedonation.com/giving-tuesday/). Using this link, supporters could determine if their company matched #GivingTuesday gifts and gained access to guidelines and instructions needed for submitting these donations.

Thank you again to everyone who continues to support NYFC and who selflessly gave on #GivingTuesday. We greatly appreciate your contributions and look forward to even more engagement next year!

PicMonkey Collage (Constant Contact)

It’s a Wrap!

Thanks to our generous donors and supporters, our annual Wrap to Rap event at Macy’s on November 17, 2015 was a festive and lively success! The over 700 holiday gifts our volunteer wrapped will bring lots of joy to children in foster care!

NYFC’s Board of Directors, Friends Committee, Youth Advisory Board members, Youth Ambassadors, and Macy’s very own CEO, Chairman of the Board, President, and Director at Macy’s, Terry Lundgren joined forces to wrap over 700 holiday gifts for children in care. These presents will be distributed by the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) to children staying at the ACS Children’s Center.

After wrapping the donated gifts to the beat of rap songs mixed by DJ D-Nice Jones, volunteers had a chance to hear a captivating “‘Twas the Night before Christmas” story by the one and only Santa Claus, much to their delight. Santa’s happy helpers, the elves were also present and welcomed guests to the Christmas décor of Santaland.

Finally, to conclude the evening, Terry Lundgren, NYFC Board member and Macy’s Chief Merchandise Planning Officer, Patti Ongman, Friends Committee Co-Chairs, Elisabeth Jones-Hennessy and Clare McKeon, and Youth Advisory Board leaders Anthony and Peterson acknowledged the tremendous impact NYFC has on youth in foster care. Anthony and Peterson raffled off prizes for the youth volunteers including Macy’s and Starbucks’ gift cards and Amazon Kindles!

In addition to providing much needed holidays gifts to these children, Wrap to Rap reminds our teen volunteers of the importance of giving back to their communities. Thank you to all for sharing in the spirit of the season and brightening the holiday for a child in care!

Thank You from a Youth CAN! Participant

I have taken some time to internalize what I wanted to say to you all. I have recently been accepted as a part of the Duane Reade/Walgreens family. I was offered and had appreciably accepted a position as an Assistant Store Manager at Duane Reade. Although I was offered this position, I did not obtain it all by myself. During my time as a participant in the Youth CAN program, I took risks I haven’t taken before, gotten out of my comfort zone, and met some amazing people. The program provided me a foundation and resources that allowed me to support my vision toward getting to who and where I want to be. I have learned so much in the courses provided at North Shore LIJ Health System every Tuesday and the wholesome practices given from The Reciprocity Foundation every Friday. From both, I gained and enhanced my soft skills, which will be necessary during my new journey and later on in life. Furthermore, having the chance to work closely with my mentor from Walgreens, Michael, has allowed me to diligently work and focus on things I needed to improve, such as my interviewing skills, resume critiquing, body language and much more.

Overall, I would like to say THANK YOU for all of your determination and effort put into assisting youth, such as myself, with progressing and fulfilling dreams and mostly reaching success. You all have played a huge part in helping me get to where I am today, even if you believe it was the smallest of gestures shown. Every talk I had, advice that was given, laughs shared, memories reminisced, and introduction to someone made all the difference. Remember “Small steps make big feats.” Because of you, I was and am able to excel and utilize all I have learned to become a greater me and overcome whatever I encounter with great courage, skill and strength while helping others to do the same.

Youth CAN! Participant

Wrap to Rap and The Youth Advisory Board

The Youth Advisory Board is a group of young people who support NYFC by shaping public perceptions of children and youth in foster care, and inspiring peers to become advocates in their communities. YAB collaborates with other programs for positive youth development, education, and professional success, while encouraging New Yorkers of all ages and walks of life to strengthen society.

We participate in volunteer events and projects throughout the year. Thank you for joining us to wrap presents for young children in foster care to brighten their holiday season.

In addition to providing much-need holiday gifts for children in foster care, Wrap to Rap also reminds us all of the importance of volunteerism and giving back to the community. Because of you, a child will know that someone is thinking about them this holiday season, and that someone is you.

One of the reasons why we am so thrilled to be able to give back to children in foster care this holiday season is because we were in foster care, ourselves. We know how special it is to wake up on Christmas morning and have a gift to unwrap. It is because of where we come from that New Yorkers For Children is so important to us.

We have to step up and make sure all New York City children get ahead in life. We want to let all the young people here today know that it’s not about where you came from, it’s about where you’re going. Today it is clear that you are all on the right path, volunteering your time to make the holidays brighter for children in care.

Second Chances — Futures in Motion: Youth Can!

Last year marked the second time that I enrolled in the Futures in Motion: Youth CAN! Program.

In my first year in the program I was eager to learn everything however my interest quickly faded at the prospect of getting a job with Summer Youth Employment. I felt bad because the program offered so much but I wanted the instant gratification of having money right now.

Imagine my surprise when I was allowed to apply for the program a second time. I felt like I was intruding in on the new group somehow but I pushed forward and reapplied. I made a vow that this time around I was going to succeed and not miss a single day.

Going back to the classes was refreshing. Unlike my first time, I didn’t know many people in this group so it gave me a chance to really socialize with new people. At North Shore LIJ everyone dresses professionally and the classes are taken very seriously. We learned about finances, CPR training, mock interviews, elevator pitches, cover letters, resume building, and so many other things.

One of the best things about the program was connecting with a mentor who has a big title in one of the partner companies. (The adults ask you a few questions beforehand and based on what you say they match you up with a mentor of similar interests.) I especially like my mentor because we come from similar backgrounds and are both black. Despite him being almost 10 years older I still found him relatable. I could go out with him, talk about any personal issues I might be having, and he’s always available when I need him. I still talk to him to this day.

The friendships I made and the resources I utilized made this a remarkable opportunity that more youth in care should use.
The graduation ceremony we had was the icing on the cake. My mentor and my therapist came out to support me, which made the event all the better. Having all the peers I bonded with along with some of the facilitators made it feel like a school graduation. I was chosen as a speaker at the ceremony and spoke that night about how the experiences made me more well-rounded.

Overall I liked the program. A lot. I completed the first part with no absences, keeping true to my vow. Oh, and my reward for no absences? $300 worth of Amazon Gift cards!

Afterwards, I got started with my internship almost immediately. I continued my internship for about half a year before I couldn’t continue. Although I decidedly chose not to accept a job after my internship ended, it gave me a better perspective on what I would like from a job. These days I continue my passion being a Youth Advocate, helping youth find the resources needed to help them. Futures in Motion: Youth CAN! should be on the top of most foster youths list for programs to enroll in.

Wrap to Rap 2015


Thanks to Macy’s, NYFC’s Board and Friends Committee members, and supporters, NYFC’s 13th Annual Wrap to Rap event was a huge success!

Our 2015 Wrap to Rap Presenting Sponsor, Macy’s, hosted this festive and fun event, on Tuesday, November 17th, at Macy’s Santaland. NYFC’s Board and Friends Committee members, and Youth Advisory Board joined over 40 teenagers in foster care to wrap 700 holiday gifts for young children in care. Throughout the holiday season, the Administration for Children’s Services will distribute these gifts to some of the 11,000 children in foster care in New York City.

Special guests included Terry Lundgren, CEO, Chairman of the Board, President, and Director at Macy’s, Inc., who spoke of the importance of volunteering and supporting our communities; NYFC Board Member and Macy’s Chief Merchandising Planning Officer, Patti Ongman; DJ D-Nice, who spun hip hop and holiday classics; and Board and Friends Committee Members Allison Aston, Eric Brettschneider, Suzy Biszantz, Hana Bitton, Marisa Brown, Susan Burden, Ayla Farnos, Susan Gilroy, Elisabeth Jones-Hennessy, Clare McKeon, and Susan Singh.

NYFC’s Youth Advisory Board (YAB) leaders, Anthony and Peterson, spoke of the tremendous impact NYFC has on youth in foster care, particularly during the holiday season. In addition to providing much needed gifts and joy to children in care, Wrap to Rap reminds our teen volunteers about the importance of giving back to their communities. To conclude the evening, the YAB raffled off prizes for our youth volunteers, including Macy’s and Starbucks’ gift cards, and Amazon Kindles.

NYFC would like to thank our Presenting Sponsor, Macy’s for their generosity and support and our incredible donors for brightening the holidays for children in care!

I’m ready now to build up my life

My name is Belrycklah Jean-Baptiste. Everyone calls me Bella. I’m 20 years old. I was born and raised in Haiti. I came to America when I was 15 years old and I was placed in foster care at the age of 16 years.

I joined the Youth CAN! program to help me stay connected with people that can help me in the future. Also it’s great to make good connections because you don’t know where life can take you. However, I meet a lot of great people and learn from them and through them.

While I was attending the program I was having problems at the time but it didn’t stop me from continuing the program. The program served as a welcomed distraction from the problems at home and helped me stay focused and motivated about my life and career and not stress out. The environment was fabulous because everybody was friendly and cared about me and cared about one another.  I’m very proud of myself for completing all the program because it was a bit challenging for me. Thanks to the staff for helping me especially since they did not know what was going on at my house.

After I graduated from this program I got placed in an internship at Franklin General Hospital LIJ. I completed a very successful four months there with some great staff.  I was very excited and grateful. I was also very proud of myself for accomplishing this point in my life.

I was thrilled to get hired as a part-time Nutrition Aide/Dietary Clerk after one month. Now I can say I’m ready to build up my life without having someone to destroy it. This program opened the door for me to be someone in the society and to meet wonderful people that can help me out mentally and educationally. I would like to thank every staff member from NYFC, CLI, FEGS,  NSLIJ and Walgreens for their support and more.

2015 YOUTH CAN! Program Participants

Youth CAN!

2013 YOUTH CAN! Program Participants


The Program

The Futures In Motion: Youth CAN! Program is a pipeline program founded in 2013 to empower youth in foster care, ages 18-23, with the crucial skills, knowledge and support to become competitive in the marketplace. The program consists of an 11 week summer intensive professional skills workshop series. Upon completion of the workshops, our participants have the opportunity to be placed into part-time paid internships with our partner organizations, Northwell Health and Walgreens/Duane Reade, which provides additional hands-on career training.

The Need

Each year 800 foster youth over the age of 18 age out of the system in New York City. Half of all former youth in foster care in NYC, about 1,800 young adults, ages 21-24, are likely to be out of work¹. Of those who were employed, almost a third was working part-time. Of those who were unemployed, one out of six was incarcerated². With the proper tools and support, great progress can be made in helping these individuals access and hold onto employment that leads to self-sufficiency and life-long success.

The Impact

  • 39 youth in foster care have participated in the program to date
  • 34 were placed in internships through the program
  • 1 participant was hired as an Assistant Manager with Walgreens following Phase I
  • 20% of program participants are now employed


“I always knew what I wanted to do, but never had a way to get my foot in the door. This program opened the world to me.” — Jahlika, 2015 Youth Can! graduate


¹ Center for an Urban Future (2011). “Fostering Careers.” p.14 http://nycfuture.org/pdf/Fostering_Careers.pdf
² Center for an Urban Future (2011). “Fostering Careers.” p.4 http://nycfuture.org/pdf/Fostering_Careers.pdf


NEW YORKERS FOR CHILDREN Annual Spring Dinner Dance to Benefit Youth in Foster Care Presented by Saks Fifth Avenue

2015 Spring Dinner Dance

On Thursday, April 16, New Yorkers For Children hosted its Annual Spring Dinner Dance – New Year’s in April: A Fool’s Fête to benefit youth in foster care in New York City, raising over $755,000. The celebration was presented by Saks Fifth Avenue who joined Event Chairs Dana Auslander, Alina Cho, Nicole Esposito, Lydia Fenet, Elisabeth Jones-Hennessy, Amy McFarland, Clare McKeon, Susan Shin, and Honorary Chair Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos in supporting New York City’s youth in foster care. The evening, with décor designed exclusively by David Stark, featured dinner, dancing and a silent auction.

This year’s Fool’s Fête paid tribute to long time Board Member Oscar de la Renta and the tremendous impact he had on NYFC and its students.

Special guest and Guardian Scholar Shavonn Wheeler addressed the audience, sharing her experiences in foster care. Additional students supported by NYFC were in attendance to celebrate the evening and were styled by the Macy’s, MAC Cosmetics, and Glamsquad.

NEW YORKERS FOR CHILDREN Fall Gala To Benefit Youth In Foster Care Presented By CHLOE & DAVID YURMAN

The 15th Annual Fall Gala Was A Shining Success!

On Tuesday September 30th, NYFC hosted the 15th Annual Fall Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street.

Michael J. Dowling, President and CEO of North Shore-LIJ Health System was presented with the 2014 Nicholas Scoppetta Child Welfare Award, due to his steadfast commitment and unwavering dedication to children in foster care. The night highlighted the Futures in Motion: Youth CAN! program, an educational and vocational training program for children in foster care created by NYFC and Northwell Health.

The 2014 New Yorkers For Children Northwell Health Spirit Award, a $10,000 educational scholarship was presented to Jermaine Christian for his academic talent and his ability to overcome life’s challenges. To learn more about Jermaine and other Spirit Award recipients click here.

The event, hosted by Greg Kelly,  raised over $1.35 million and featured dinner, dancing, a special musical performance from Estelle accompanied by the Boys and Girls Choir of Harlem Alumni Ensemble, and a live auction by George McNeely. Other special guests at the event included Guardian Scholars and additional youth in foster care who are leaders in New Yorkers For Children programs.

Presenting fashion sponsor for the evening was Chloé, with Lead Jewelry Sponsor David Yurman. Co-Chairs included Lise and Michael Evans, Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos and Paul Kanavos, Christine and Richard Mack, and Stephanie Winston and David Wolkoff.

In celebration of the event, an exclusive Charitybuzz auction of once-in-a-lifetime experiences is open until October 4th. Including backstage access to an Badgley Mischka show, VIP tickets to the Late Night with Seth Myers, an internship at Modern Luxury Magazine, and many others, this auction in partnership with NYFC supporters will raise necessary funds to support the young people NYFC serves.

Additional sponsors included American Express, Benefits Planning Corporation, BET Networks, Deutsche Bank Asset and Wealth Management,  FTI Consulting- Health Solutions, GE Healthcare,Henry Schein, Hovnanian Enterprises, La Perla, Lenox Hill Hospital, Lenox Hill Heart and Vascular Institute NSLIJ,  M•A•C Cosmetics, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, Nickelodeon, Northwell Health, Oscar de la Renta, Staples, Sun Captial Partners, and Valentino. The NYFC Board of Directors dressed the youth in attendance and M•A•C Cosmetics and Glam Squad provided makeup and hairstyling.