By Kathy Rivera, published in Anton Media, May 27, 2022
North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center is known throughout Long Island as the preeminent mental health organization for youth and families, providing individualized, culturally sensitive therapeutic services that serve to bring hope and healing to those experiencing mental health challenges. For nearly 70 years, the Guidance Center has been listening to your needs and concerns, and responding swiftly and compassionately. Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, we wanted to share with you some important information on our offerings.
As we told you in our April Anton column, we shifted to a hybrid model of service within days of the pandemic’s beginning, seeing clients both in person and via a secure telehealth platform.
But if you picture the work of the Guidance Center as taking place only inside our three buildings or via a virtual platform, with a counselor and client sitting in an office or communicating via a smartphone or computer, think again. Many of our innovative programs happen beyond our walls, in places that range from state parks to schools to homes.
The Guidance Center’s Wilderness Respite Program, now in its 23rd year, provides a unique opportunity for at-risk adolescents to put down their tech devices and participate in hikes and other nature activities that help them gain confidence and make lasting friendships.
Nature takes a leading role in our two Organic Gardens, located at our main headquarters in Roslyn Heights and our Marks Family Right from the Start 0-3+ Center in Manhasset. By weeding, seeding and tending to the crops, kids blossom as they learn important skills such as self-confidence, cooperation and responsibility.
The Guidance Center also has a Nature Nursery, where our youngest clients use all their senses as they touch pinecones or paint on an outdoor “canvas.” The textures, sounds and sights help children explore their creative sides and learn skills to help cope with difficult feelings.
In addition to therapy, our Latina Girls Project incorporates monthly outings to places such as theaters, museums and more. These trips boost the teens’ confidence and sense of independence and help them discover the larger world. In 2019, the trips expanded to include outings for boys that also have been a huge success.
Students from 5-21 who’ve had a hard time succeeding in school have a great alternative with our Intensive Support Program (ISP), held at three Nassau County B.O.C.E.S schools. There, they receive academic help and counseling, with therapists on site to help them flourish emotionally and academically.
We also work in Westbury high school and middle school with our Teen Intervene and Too Good for Drugs programs, designed to prevent substance and alcohol use.
For children and teens who need our help but can’t come to our offices, the Guidance Center provides intensive in-home therapy with our Clinical Care Coordination Team (CCCT). CCCT aims to lessen acute symptoms, restore clients to prior levels of functioning, and build and strengthen natural supports. Through CCCT, our goal is to reduce unnecessary emergency room visits, hospitalizations and residential placements.
Our Coordinated Children’s Services Initiative (CCSI) supports families with the coordination of services in their homes and communities, identifying and accessing resources, providing advocacy and helping children and families gain the skills and tools needed to be self-sufficient.
Through our Family Advocate Program, parents who have been through mental health crises with their own children are trained to offer peer support for families by joining them at special education meetings, offering support groups and providing many other resources.
In addition, we have enhanced services to the clients in our Diane Goldberg Maternal Depression Program by adding yoga classes and self-care outings.
As you can see, the Guidance Center is always thinking “outside the box,” creating innovative programs that meet the needs of the community and enhance the therapeutic value of all our services. We are here for you!
Bio: Kathy Rivera, LCSW, is the Executive Director/CEO of North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, Long Island’s leading non-profit children’s mental health organization. To get help for your child or to support the Guidance Center’s lifesaving work, call (516) 626-1971 or visit www.northshorechildguidance.org.