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For general information, please email us or call 914-613-0700.

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What's Happening at
The Guidance Center of Westchester

Tuesday
Jul182017

Coaches Needed! 

The Center for College & Careers (CCC), a program of The Guidance Center of Westchester, is looking for college and career coaches who will develop strong relationships with youth, ages 16-21, from New Rochelle and Mount Vernon. Through its new coaching program, the CCC aims to utilize the expertise of these members of the community who are seasoned business professionals, trades people, and community leaders to help students gain useful life skills, learn how to set and attain personal goals, and develop a plan for the future.

“We believe a good role model and inspiring coach can help motivated, enthusiastic young people reach their highest potential,” says Emily Barrera, program coordinator. “We’re committed to being with the coaches every step of the way to ensure that they have the necessary tools to help our participants reach their highest potential.”

Coaches must be at least 22 years old. People from various backgrounds are encouraged to sign up. The ideal coach should show enthusiasm to help young people. They should be willing to share life and work experiences and come to all meetings with a positive attitude.

“We know people’s lives are busy, so we’ve structured our program to maximize impact in a small length of time that is convenient to both the young people and the coaches,” says Ms. Barrera

Coaches will meet twice a month, from September through June, with a group of young people for one hour each session. Meetings will be held from 6-7 PM. Orientation will be held at The Guidance Center of Westchester headquarters which is located at 256 Washington Street, Mount Vernon. Meetings will be held in various convenient locations throughout the community. There will be no one-on-one meetings.

To learn more about this program contact Ms. Barrera or call/text 914-498-0526.    

See the program flyer here.                              

The Center for College & Careers (CCC) secures the foundation for life-long success by helping youth and young adults obtain a high school diploma or an equivalency diploma through academic support, job readiness training, college exposure and guidance, and case management. Successful participants enter post-secondary education, vocational training or the work force with the skills and confidence necessary to thrive.

Written by: Zoe Roswell, associate writer, The Guidance Center of Westchester. Ms. Roswell is a graduate of Mount Vernon High School and will attend SUNY New Paltz where she plans to study journalism.

Thursday
Jun292017

Senior Celebration

 

On Monday June 19th a celebration was held in honor of seniors who participate in the Center for College & Careers (CCC) at Mount Vernon High School. The CCC is a program offered by The Guidance Center of Westchester. College & Career Counselors Tamara McCallum (Ms. T) and Nicole Paige (Ms. Paige) welcomed the graduating seniors to The Guidance Center’s headquarters located at 256 Washington Street in Mount Vernon. The students sat and listened as the two women, who aided them in activities reaching far beyond just college and careers, congratulated them on their many accomplishments and recounted shared memories.

Guests at the event  included the President of the Junior League of Bronxville and Board Member of The Guidance Center of Westchester, Mitzi Ambrose-Washington, Mount Vernon High School Principal Ronald Gonzalez, and the young and very motivational keynote speaker Michael Branker.

Ms. Ambrose Washington informed the students that “Shine” was her theme as the president of the Junior League of Bronxville. She shared words of wisdom as she explained that even though some diamonds may be in the rough they are still diamonds. “You will always be a shining star wherever you go.” That even as a person goes through hardships he/she can still shine as bright as the rest.  “Even in our darkest days when we’re down and we’re out, just like a mineral or a rough diamond, there’s always that time when it comes to wipe it off and that light comes out.”  She instructed the students to take out their cellphones, turn on the flashlight and shine the light on each other to remind them of their ability to shine.

Mr. Gonzalez spoke of the achievements which the group of seniors accomplished. Recently Mount Vernon High School held its annual senior awards convocation where many CCC students earned scholarships among other awards.  He did this only after raving about the wonderful service that the Center for College & Careers is to the students of MVHS.

Michael Branker, a 20-year-old entrepreneur, got up and rocked the room with stories of his past that kick started his successful future. He gave everyone the advice of working on their goals now. “So many people say ‘Mike, I wish I would’ve started 10 years earlier.’ I cut them off right there… You’re going to say the same thing 10 years from now… So, the best time to start is today.” He explained that you need friends who are partaking in activities that will get you to where you need to be, not friends who slack, drink and steal because then you'll end up doing those things.

Three students, Zoe Roswell, Fakaradin Floyd and William Phillips, said a few words about the CCC and how without the program and without their mentors, Ms. T and Ms. Paige, they wouldn't be where they are now. Zoe Roswell said, “Every waking moment they are there to encourage me, to push me and to make sure I’m better.” William Phillips, a student who applied to over 50 scholarships with the help of the CCC, said, “Honestly, I can’t thank them (Ms. T and Ms. Paige) enough for all of their endless encouragement and all of their advice.”

Fakaradin spoke last of the three and told a story different from the other two. He came into the CCC in 11th grade instead of 9th and he was particularly interested in his academics. He didn't even know what he wanted to do in college. After coming in to the CCC to read a book and relax, Fakaradin was soon motivated to spend his time there to do more productive things. He started completing homework at lunch and applying to scholarships and signing up for coding programs. The CCC transformed him into the best student he could be. In telling his story he had the room bent over laughing because of his comedic, entertaining personality showing that it was not a sad story.

When Fakaradin finished speaking, CCC Director Daniel Bonnet came forward to present Fakaradin, a senior who is attending a community college, a scholarship that will cover half of his tuition, half of the costs of his books and provide him with a new laptop which will go to good use as he will be majoring in computer science this fall. Fakaradin will be the first student to receive this scholarship grant from a new scholarship fund. This scholarship, and another awarded to a student of New Rochelle High School, was provided by The Westchester Community Foundation (WCF). WCF also funds the Center for College and Careers.

The CCC hosted a similar ceremony for the graduating seniors from our program at New Rochelle High School. More photos from both events can be found on our Flickr page.

Our Center for College & Careers (CCC) secures the foundation for life-long success by helping youth and young adults obtain a high school diploma or an equivalency diploma through academic support, job readiness training, college exposure and guidance, and case management. Successful participants enter post-secondary education, vocational training or the work force with the skills and confidence necessary to thrive. 

Written by: Zoe Roswell, associate writer, The Guidance Center of Westchester. Ms. Roswell is a graduate of Mount Vernon High School and will attend SUNY New Paltz where she plans to study journalism.

 

Wednesday
Jun282017

PROS in bloom

The Guidance Center of Westchester is excited to announce our PROS (Personalized Recovery-Oriented Services) new horticulture course. The horticulture course offers PROS participants a coping activity that provides relaxation as well as an increase in self-esteem. Counselors will use gardening to help participants learn about mindfulness, nutrition, and responsibility.

The horticulture course will teach participants how to grow and care for everything from vegetables to herbs and aromatics. “Participants will gain a sense of ownership and pride for the plants that they will be cultivating,” says Stephanie Natelli, MHC, PROS intern, who coordinates the activities.

PROS helps adults with serious mental illness achieve personal life goals through clinical treatment and psychosocial rehabilitation. Participants take part in courses created to help them improve their life skills or learn coping strategies. PROS offers traditional courses in areas such as clinical counseling, vocational skills, goal setting, integrated health and wellness, and basic living skills, as well as creative options including this horticulture course.

In order to help the course and the participants blossom, PROS is looking for donations including pots, plants, clippings, and seeds. If you would like to support the horticultural course, please contact mailto: PROS@TheGuidanceCenter.org or 914-613-0700 x7062.

- RD

Thursday
Jun082017

When Tragedy Hits Close to Home

How can you explain to a 2nd grader why their classmate isn’t coming back to school? Or camp? Or play dates? “What happened to my friend,” they ask. Still in shock yourself, trying to manage the host of emotions and thoughts coming to the surface, what do you say? Arriving to school you and your child are met with news crews. Pulling off you wonder how your child will handle the day. And what about you?

It’s the unthinkable. A young girl here one day and gone the nextWhat? How? Why? No, this can’t be. Yet, you must continue on, and… you must respond to all of those questions from your child, too.

Because avoiding the news, your thoughts and what you may feel about this will only delay their impact. Not being able to answer your child’s questions, and giving them the time and space to feel what they feel, as well as to ask questions, can cause more harm than good.

Prioritizing wellness for you and your child means:

  • Realizing that you as well as your child will have thoughts and feelings about this tragedy.
  • Creating opportunities for you to process how you’re feeling and the thoughts that you have with supportive others, and professionals if you can. These opportunities should be ongoing. Consider self-reflections, journaling, group and workshop activities, exploring online resources and therapy.
  • Spending time with your child as much as possible and answering their questions honestly, yet being careful not to go beyond what’s appropriate for their age. They, too, will benefit from opportunities to process their thoughts and feelings over time. Due to their age, they’re more likely to have fears that you’ll want to alleviate.

The Guidance Center of Westchester is here for these moments, and all that could potentially have you, your child or your family in need for additional support to navigate life stressors and yes, tragedies, too. Our team of mental health professionals are trained, ready and able to provide information to you and your child. We can assess your child for trauma and other behavior or mood shifts related to grief and loss. We can also assess you, if you’re feeling sad, irritable, distracted, sleepless, anxious… whatever you may be experiencing right now.

Please reach out to our New Rochelle Mental Health Clinic, located at 150 Huguenot Street, at 914-613-0700 x7104 if you need to talk with a professional. Walk-in hours are Tuesday and Friday mornings at 9 AM.

Join us for a free supportive workshop to discuss coping with trauma, parenting needs during difficult times and sudden losses on Friday, June 9th  at 4 PM at our New Rochelle Mental Health Clinic. This workshop is available as a resource to all parents as well as their children. We will continue to offer these group sessions and activities as long as needed. To attend simply RSVP to 914.613.0700 x7106 or IRuffins@TheGuidanceCenter.org.

Links to resources and tips from Child Mind Institute:

https://childmind.org/guide/helping-children-cope-traumatic-event/

https://childmind.org/guide/helping-children-cope-traumatic-event/tips-helping-children-trauma/

https://childmind.org/guide/helping-children-cope-traumatic-event/tips-for-helping-kids-recover-in-a-healthy-way/

https://childmind.org/guide/helping-children-cope-traumatic-event/how-to-help-children-ages-6-11/

Written by Shawna Marie Aarons-Cooke, LCSW. Ms. Aarons-Cooke is the director of mental health programs for The Guidance Center of Westchester. You can reach her here.

Wednesday
Jun072017

Coping with Tragedy

The Guidance Center of Westchester grieves with the City of New Rochelle in the tragic death of Gabrielle White. We extend our condolences to the White family, friends, and loved ones.

We stand as a community resource, available to children and adults who are experiencing difficulty with this tragic event. Please reach out to our New Rochelle Mental Health Clinic, located at 150 Huguenot Street, at 914-613-0700 x7104 if you need to talk with a professional. Walk-in hours are Tuesday and Friday mornings at 9 AM.

We will host a supportive workshop to discuss coping with trauma, parenting needs during difficult times, and sudden losses on Friday, June 9th, 4 PM , at our 150 Huguenot Street Mental Health Clinic. This FREE workshop is available as a resource to all parents as well as their children. We will continue to offer these group sessions and activities as long as needed. To attend simply RSVP to 914-613-0700 x7106 or IRuffins@TheGuidancecCenter.org.