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FROM OUR CEO

Gangs and drugs.

With an upswing in gang-related murders, drug overdose deaths and all that comes with unchecked violence and untreated addiction, Long Island is struggling under the weight of two problems that have cracked our suburban veneer.

There’s a connection between these two challenges, but it’s probably not what you think. Sure, gangs sell drugs and the heroin trade has surely bolstered organized crime in our area as thousands of addicted young people travel into Hempstead, Central Islip and Brentwood to get their fix.

But the common denominator here is hopelessness, sadness and despair.

Gangs create alternative realities – a family, a sense of belonging, a sense of certainty and a sense of power. Opioids, heroin and other drugs numb pain, calm the nerves and allow a temporary escape. Without intervention and support, addiction deepens, gets progressively worse and often ends with jails, institutions or death. The same goes for gang membership.

Maybe that’s why we approach both problems in the same way: we declare war.

We ratchet up the rhetoric, increase criminal penalties and proclaim “zero tolerance.” We give law enforcement new guns, helicopters, and personnel.

We tamp down the problem just enough to quell the public outrage and fear, but it seems we never get to the root causes.

Kids join gangs because in some communities it’s easier to get a gun than it is to get a high school diploma or a job. They use drugs because it’s easier to get heroin than it is to get mental health treatment or addiction services. Arrest one gang member or drug dealer and two more will take their place. Despite outward appearances, they’ll do it somewhat reluctantly and after traveling a road that brings them to that place. That’s precisely where and when we should be intervening.

Instead, we wait until the problem deepens. Then we try to wrestle that gun or needle from their hands as they hold on for dear life.

War is ugly, dangerous, scary and threatening. It’s a primitive response that’s not working.

As we deploy more cops, how about we also deploy more social workers? Let’s replace crime scenes with community centers and counseling programs. Let’s trade targeted investigations for targeted training that leads to well-paying jobs. Let’s counter gang recruitment tactics with multi-generational strategies that help families exit gang life. Let’s clean-up and rebuild our community parks, make sure there are things for kids to do and help indigenous community leaders change the culture from inside.

And here’s a novel idea: Let’s ask some individuals, families, and communities what they think will work.


Jeffrey L. Reynolds, Ph.D, CEAP, SAP 
President/CEO
NYS Governor Andrew M. Cuomo Visits THRIVE Recovery Center

NYS Governor Andrew M. Cuomo visited THRIVE Recovery Center on 4/19/17 to sign new legislation investing over $200 million to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic in New York.

FCA, LICADD, LIRA and F.I.S.T. partnered together with funding from NYS OASAS to create THRIVE, otherwise known as Long Island's first recovery community and outreach center.

The event included NYS Senator John J. Flanagan, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy Sini, FCA President/CEO Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, Linda Ventura and a host of others dedicated to fighting the heroin and opioid epidemic.

More than 300 people attended THRIVE’s public opening on March 4th and the center continues to provide the Long Island recovery community with a positive environment and crucial services to help individuals and families find, maintain, and strengthen their recovery through peer-based support, navigation assistance and referral services.

2017 SUMMER CAMP APPEAL

Summer is fast approaching and with it will come vacations, family outings and summer fun for our children and grandchildren. While camp and summer programs may be common for parents to send their own children, many parents on Long Island grow anxious during the lead up to the summer months. These parents worry about their child being cooped up in a sweltering, crammed apartment or simply “hanging out” in the streets.

While other children learn how to swim, go on hikes and have an opportunity to be a kid, many of the vulnerable youth Family and Children’s Association (FCA) serves often miss out on these experiences. These families look to us for help because they want their children to grow into healthy young adults just as much as you and I do for our kids. This is where you can help…

Please consider sponsoring a child for:
  • 1 day - $50
  • 1 week - $250
  • One month - $1,000
  • Entire summer - $2,000
FCA HAPPENINGS
New Program: HER TURN

FCA will be vastly improving the lives of Black and Latina women and their partners in three of Nassau County’s most vulnerable communities – Hempstead, Uniondale, and Roosevelt. The newly awarded Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant will allow FCA to reach at-risk women by way of co-occurring mental health disorder and substance abuse treatment, as well as trauma-informed care and primary health care screenings.

The program, called “HERTURN” (Health Empowerment Resiliency Treatment Understanding Recovery Network), will expand and enhance the trauma-informed and evidence-based Seeking Safety model that has shown ongoing success at FCA’s Hempstead Family and Treatment and Recovery Center. This service will be specifically tailored to consider gender and cultural factors that make it difficult for these community’s underserved residents to find access to quality addiction treatment. As part of HER TURN, FCA will reach 2,500 more Black and Latina women annually through partnership-driven mobile outreach/engagement activities coordinated with local community organizations who previously would not have been able to engage in such program.

HERTURN’s three year design will succeed through the collaboration of partners including NuHealth Family Health Centers, Northwell Health, The Safe Center, Planned Parenthood of Nassau County (PPNC), and the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (LICADD). Additionally, Adelphi University will train all project staff to optimize their cultural sensitivity.

FCA President/CEO Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds Inspires at TEDx
This past March, FCA President/CEO Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, PhD gave a TEDx talk at Adelphi University discussing how we can effectively combat the heroin epidemic on Long Island.
Safe and Warm Quilt Initiative
#TeamFCA Swims, Bikes and Runs Raising over $6,300
FCA's latest fundraising campaign is the Safe and Warm Quilt Initiative! At $25 a fabric block, participants can sew, paint or decorate their contribution and be part of Long Island's largest quilt. From Girl Scout Troops to Accounting Firms, High School Youth to NYS Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, the quilt is getting attention everywhere it goes! Be sure not to miss out on representing the Long Island community! #FamilyQuilt
#TeamFCA geared up to swim, bike and run at the Event Power Mini Mighty Man Pool Triathlon at the Nassau Aquatic Center in Eisenhower Park. Staff and supporters competed, volunteered and raised over $6,300 to further FCA's mission.

The 400 meter swim, 6 mile bike ride and 2 mile run pushed athletes to their limits to support Long Island's most vulnerable children, seniors, families and their communities.

HERO OF THE MONTH
~ April ~

WithumSmith+Brown
Ever since WithumSmith+Brown connected with FCA in the Fall of 2016, they have not been shy about showing their support and offering their professional services to the youth we serve. Withum staff provided youth at our Walkabout residence in Freeport, NY with expert financial counseling. A few months later, they were back with tax advice for youth at FCA's new Learning Center in Hempstead, NY. In addition, Withum is a Safe and Warm Quilt Initiative sponsor and April's Hero of the Month!
~ May ~

Jessica Baumgartner
A few months ago, FCA received a phone call from Covert Avenue elementary school teacher Jessica Baumgartner asking how she could collaborate with a local non-for-profit with her students. Jessica was sold on the #GiveUp2Give campaign. With meticulous planning and passion for community engagement, Jessica directed the participation of over 400 students and staff and raised over $1,100 raised in 10 days! Jessica went above and beyond with FCA's #GiveUp2Give campaign, paving the way for schools to learn about the importance of charitable giving across Long Island.
UPCOMING EVENTS
5/25
Golf & Tennis Tournament - Creek Club

6/22
FCA Scholarship Fund Reception Ceremony
#GiveUp2Give
Ms. Losquadro's class wins the Covert Avenue Elementary School #GiveUp2Give Challenge! Under the direction of Student Council Advisor, Jessica Baumgartner, the school as a whole raised over $1100 in 10 days to further FCA's mission to protect and strengthen Long Island's most vulnerable children, families, seniors and their communities. 
The number of our Long Island neighbors who turn to us for help is growing. While we can provide professional services to those struggling with economic, emotional and social challenges, their quality of life is greatly enhanced by the kindness of others. We invite you to join our  community of caring, so please get involved!
The mission of Family and Children's Association is to protect and strengthen Long Island's most vulnerable children, seniors, families and communities. Through an integrated network of services and counseling, Family and Children’s Association provides help and hope to under served and disadvantaged individuals struggling to build better lives.

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