October 2019
For friends and supporters of Kids In Crisis
What’s concerning is that most of these kids do not even consider themselves homeless, and some feel that admitting it would result in foster care placement, which they fear. They lack faith in the very system that is supposed to help our most vulnerable populations.

All of these factors make it difficult to identify homeless youth. If we cannot identify them, how can we help them? Currently there is no state agency that actively counts homeless children who are between the ages of 0-17. Because of this, services for these kids are extremely limited, leaving these young people invisible and alone. The National Alliance to End Homelessness estimates more than 225,000 children under 18 experience homelessness for longer than one week in the course of one year, admitting that the numbers are imprecise and likely undercounted.

Why are so many kids homeless or unstably housed? We have seen this is often a result of a family’s lack of financial resources coupled with the high cost of living and lack of affordable housing, especially here in Fairfield County. Other factors include abuse, neglect or rejection in the home, resulting in the child running away or being forced to leave. The LGBTQ+ teens are grossly over-represented among homeless youth, making up 40 percent of the population.

Risks run deep for this under-reported population. Homeless youth are extremely vulnerable during a critical time in their lives of social and academic development, and are at high risk for sexual exploitation and human trafficking. Severe mental health problems are prevalent, oftentimes attributed to past trauma. Anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem are common concerns, and a high percentage have considered or attempted suicide.

These kids may be more likely to develop a dependence on drugs or alcohol, and end up entrenched in the juvenile justice system. All of these factors lead to long-term barriers to education and employment, if not illness and suicide.

Kids In Crisis remains committed to providing emergency services to homeless youth up to age 18 regardless of gender, sexual orientation or immigration status. This year, over one fifth of kids served in our SafeHaven for Kids emergency shelter were identified as homeless. While fortunately, Kids In Crisis was able to support these young people by providing emergency shelter in a therapeutic environment, homelessness continues to threaten the safety and well-being of children and young people in the state of Connecticut.

If you’d like to help Kids In Crisis in our efforts to reduce the number of homeless youth, please visit kidsincrisis.org/homelessness for ways you can become involved
If you have ever seen Kids In Crisis’ little corner campus, you would probably agree it doesn’t look like what most people picture when they think “temporary homeless shelter.” Our brick building and gracious farmhouse have beautifully maintained green space, trees, bushes, flower and vegetable gardens, and a patio lined with potted plants. This is all thanks to a cadre of great volunteers who put their hearts and hands into everything they do.

Michael Murphy, owner of the landscaping service Your Gardening Angel, has been donating his landscaping services for more than two decades, after being asked by one of his customers to help Kids In Crisis out just one time. "After that I just started to come weekly" he says. “After that I just started to come weekly” he says. “It just felt like something I could do, and it would free up money and counselors’ time to take care of the kids. I come from a difficult family so I understand how hard things can be for some kids. I like to help kids and seniors — the people who are most vulnerable.”
Goldman Sachs volunteers assembling garden beds
In addition, our dedicated corporate volunteer groups from Genworth, Goldman Sachs CTW, and Viacom bring scores of hard-working employees to Kids In Crisis each spring and summer to tackle the turf. Collectively they have planted gorgeous flowers and bountiful vegetable beds, cleaned the outdoor playground area, power-washed the Farmhouse, and created composters. They even bought and assembled a lemonade stand for the kids.

Last but not least, our shelter residents are responsible for daily watering of all the vegetation. Many times in the summer it is the first activity of their actionpacked days, and they get to reap the benefits by picking the edibles, and then learning to cook what they grow.

We could not be more grateful for the green thumbs that keep our campus looking so fine. .
Kids In Crisis is proud of its continuous expansion of programs and community involvement. Our ongoing efforts support risk prevention and early intervention for at-risk, homeless, and LGBTQ+ youth and their families.
The agency collaborates on dozens of local initiatives focused on helping young people succeed emotionally, academically, physically and developmentally. This work includes efforts with Cradle to Career (Stamford), Norwalk Acts, the Social Emotional Learning Workgroup (Norwalk), the School Readiness Committee (Stamford), Greenwich Together (which has grown to 31 agencies and 52 members), the Vita Health and Wellness District (Stamford), the Ridgefield Youth Commission, the Ridgefield Prevention Council, Project Resilience (Ridgefield), the New Canaan Coalition for Youth and Families, the New Canaan Domestic Violence Partnership, the New Canaan Parent Support Group, the Newtown Parent Connection, and Wilton Youth Services.
Kids In Crisis successfully continues its effort to be more visible and accessible in local communities by placing counselors on-site in locations where youth and adults regularly congregate, including the Boys & Girls Club of Stamford and Building One Community, where a group of 10 women have been able to develop a strong support network together.

We remain committed to programming that helps at-risk youth minimize crisis and develop coping and survival skills. In the last year our TeenTalk program was added at Norwalk and Newtown High Schools, and Scott’s Ridge Middle School in Ridgefield. It is now in 12 schools. In addition, this past year our SafeTalk program grew from 13 schools to 18 schools and 2 summer camps, resulting in an increase of 12 volunteer facilitators and 850 more children served.
Counselor Wendy Chum joins Kids In Crisis to provide services to the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich
We are also happy to report that Kids In Crisis received a 2019 Impact Fairfield County award to pilot KidTalk — a collaborative program that provides mental health services to youth who attend the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich and their families. The program will serve as a replicable model for the implementation of mental health services at other Boys & Girls Clubs and after school programs, ultimately linking more children to services that keep them safe and healthy.
This past summer Brunswick School welcomed our brand new Emotion Locomotion program for third grade students involved with Horizons Summer Program, and the program was very well received. This small but important financial support has jump-started the program and moved it from its pilot phase. We are now exploring providing the program to pre-K students in three communities this fall.

Our LGBTQ+ teen program, Lighthouse is excited to announce its group meetings have moved to the Tully Center at Stamford Hospital and will now take place on Thursdays from 6PM to 8PM, where there is ample parking, and free supper will be served. In addition, throughout the year, Lighthouse will welcome prestigious members of the LGBTQ+ community to speak on relevant topics, through a new series of Queer and Questioning Community Forums hosted at the Ferguson Library. Past guests have included Mayor Alex Morse, openly gay mayor of Holyoke, MA, State Representatives Matt Blumenthal and Jeff Currey, and Stamford Board of Education President Andy George, who was featured on MTV’s Drag My Dad.

Future speakers and sponsorship for this program are currently being sought. Email lighthouse@kidsincrisis.org for information.

For more information on any of our programs or services, volunteer opportunities and sponsorships please visit www.kidsincrisis.org or call 203-622-6556. If you need help, or are concerned about the well-being of a child please call our 24-hour, free confidential helpline at 203-661-1911 for support.

by Kim Lisack, Clinical Director

Each year Kids In Crisis staff work with our shelter residents to select a theme that they will carry through summer activities. This year’s theme was ‘Whatever it takes I know I can make it through’, which so perfectly illustrates the sentiment here at Kids In Crisis. With this theme for summer 2019, we enhanced our shelter residents’ existing strengths, and supported them in building internal resiliency.

In our safe and therapeutic living environment, we offered experiential learning opportunities and encouraged developmental growth; physically, emotionally, psychologically, and socially. Through our creative and thoughtful groups and activities, we encouraged, inspired, and supported our residents to set and meet healthy goals, try new things, and feel good about themselves.

Our staff and dedicated volunteers provided a richly diverse program, with yoga, fishing, cooking, gardening, photography, pet therapy, music, film, sports, financial planning, field trips to museums and beaches, current events discussions, and explorations of cultural diversity.

The kids had opportunities to experience:
  • Rock climbing and team building with the CT Department of Children and Families’ therapeutic Wilderness Program
  • Tours of Norwalk Community College and Bridgeport University
  • Weekly volunteering with Neighbor to Neighbor, stocking the food pantry and assisting people with loading items into vehicles
  • Recreational activities at Mill River Park including Zumba and Afro Flow Yoga
  • Sailing with Sound Waters of Stamford
  • Weekly visits to the Wolf Conservation Center
  • Weekly boxing class at Stamford Boxing & Fitness
  • Weekly collaborative/volunteer work at Fairgate Farms in Stamford
Summer residents enjoy the view after their hike in Thomaston, CT
One resident said, “The best part of summer program was being challenged, and learning about new things like wolves, different cultures and how to take care of and harvest a garden”.

We were excited and grateful to work with so many local partners who helped our residents learn and stretch beyond their comfort zones, in ways they might not ever have before.

Last year, Greenwich Together, a Kids In Crisisadministered coalition of 32 agencies, conducted a youth behavior survey through all of the town’s private and public middle and high schools. From the survey it was clear that reducing and preventing vaping among teens should be a major priority, specifically among those students transitioning from 8th to 9th grade.

Greenwich Together’s Education Committee, which works collaboratively with students from the local Greenwich high schools, many of whom are part of the First Selectman’s Youth Commission, held a contest to see who could come up with the most effective way to discourage kids from vaping.
The winning idea was a cell phone card wallet with the message “Be smart. Don’t start” designed by a Greenwich High School senior. The wallets were distributed at the school’s 9th grade orientation by the Outreach Club — a Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) chapter, and will be distributed at the other Greenwich middle and high schools throughout the fall.

In addition, the survey revealed that kids felt their parents lacked knowledge about the serious potential health dangers of vaping, and the various forms of vaping. Kids also admitted that their parents still held significant influence over their behaviors, concluding that educating parents is critical. The committee is currently producing a video in Greenwich High School’s production studio, targeting parents and featuring messages from the students themselves. The video is expected to be circulated later this year through social media and various community websites. To learn more about vaping please visit kidsincrisis.org/ vaping.
Ensure your child gets enough rest Ease your child back into a routine
that ensures that they get a full, eight
hours of sleep each night. This will
get them ready for the busy days
ahead, making sure that they are
alert and ready to learn.

Focus on the positives
Have your child identify five things
that they are excited about for the
upcoming term, this could be
anything from being reunited with
their friends to getting back into their
sporting or cultural activities.

Sticking to your goals
Get a pen and sticky notes, sit down
with your child and identify three key
goals for the next six months. These
could be academic, sport, social
and/or family goals. Stick them up
where they can be easily seen and make sure to revisit them at the end of the term.
Leave an uplifting note
A lunchbox or pencil case is the ideal place to leave a special note for your child to find the next day. This method is especially effective for sensitive children who miss the safety and comfort of their home environment.

Encourage talking (and listening)
Communication should be your number-one motivational tool. Talk to your children about their experience at school and listen to what they say.

Here’s to making it a successful and happy school year!
Kids In Crisis is grateful for second quarter 2019 funding from the following foundations,
corporations, and civic organizations:

Aetna Life & Casualty Co
Alliance Bernstein
The Barker Welfare Foundation BHL Players Association Blueprint Technologies
Botsford Associates Boys and Girls Club of Stamford
bulthaup Greenwich
Caffe Bon LLC
Clifford Chance US LLP
The Community Fund of Darien
Credit Suisse Securities LLC
D. Sal Electrical Contractor, Inc.
Fairfield County Bank
First Congregational Church of Greenwich
First County Bank
First County Bank Foundation, Inc.
First Presbyterian Church of Stamford
Frank Talcott Inc.
Full Throttle Endurance Inc
GE Capital Aviation Services
The George J. & Jessica Harris Foundation
The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.

Guardian Life Insurance Company
Harry L. Rust & Helen M. Rust Charitable Foundation
The Hartford
Henkel Corporation
IBM Employee Charitable Contribution Campaign
Impact Fairfield County
JP Morgan Chase & Co.
Junior League of Greenwich
Landry Family Foundation
Lily Palmer Fry Trust Fund
Lions Club Foundation of Greenwich
Lone Pine Capital
Mary’s Fund
Michael Lazarus, D.M.D.
Milbank, Tweed, Hardley & McCloy LLP
Morgan Stanley Mutual of America
New Canaan Community Foundation
NicholsMD of Greenwich
Oppenheimer Funds
The Perfect Provenance
Pitney Bowes Foundation
RBC Foundation — USA

Reed Exhibitions
The Resource Foundation
Rick Boshka Electric LLC
Robert and Leslie Dahl Charitable Fund
Rotary Club of Greenwich
Rotary Club of New Canaan
Ruspini Realty
The Ruth W. Brown Foundation
Shoes ‘N’ More
Splurge Gifts
Stamford Ford Lincoln
Summit 7 LLC
Swiss Re Foundation
Synchrony Financial
TisBest Philanthropy
United Methodist Church of Westport and Weston
United Way of Greenwich
United Bank
Wadsworth Russell Lewis Trust Fund
The Wasily Family Foundation
Wells Fargo Foundation
Young Women’s League of New Canaan

Need help? Not sure? Call our 24-hour helpline at 203-661-1911

Visit www.kidsincrisis.org for more information about our programs and services.