Annual Report

2018 ANNUAL REVIEW

The new Tom Stoppard play, The Hard Problem, ponders the nature of what it means, in the contemporary world, to be human – what is consciousness? Are goodness and morality an essential part of human nature?   What motivates goodness, or acts of kindness?  Complex factors influence “good” behavior, including genetics and evolutionary pressures (we can be generous because it ultimately helps to propagate the gene pool). Additional factors include self-expression (it helps us define who we are), self-interest (we share, so others share with us), the environment in which we live (we see good behavior mirrored), it feels good (helps our brain release endorphins), and we enjoy the approval from others for doing something that is good and right.  This latter influence, shaping positive social behavior by showing approval, has been and continues to be an essential aspect of human progress.  Parenting is partly about helping children suppress their “less friendly” human instincts in the service of more pro-social behaviors (i.e., “use your words” or “share your toys”).  At Forestdale, we work to help families raise amazing children, and we are saddened to witness our society’s strong, current trend in the opposite direction.  Americans appear, more and more, to publicly encourage selfishness, dishonesty, greed, bigotry, bullying, and violence.  We flock to gatherings, reality shows, or social media sites that celebrate negative, harmful, and divisive behavior.  This type of action appears to be as natural to humans as generosity and altruism but, whereas in the past, we were taught to still our unkinder impulses and to view them as shameful, they can now be openly boasted about and celebrated.

We were encouraged to cheer when people committed selfless acts of bravery, not when people exhorted crowds to beat up on weaker people. At Forestdale, we not only witness acts of courage and bravery every day; we encourage them and cheer them on.  We see mothers who’ve reclaimed sobriety to become consistent, caring parents, and fathers who are re-committing financial and emotional support to non-custodial children. We see teens become the first in their families to graduate from college (eating ramen noodles while studying at midnight in their SUNY dorms), and grandparents, who thought they were done with parenting, step in to care for grandchildren when necessary.  As the children of these families enter society, strengthened by the sacrifices and hard work of their families to overcome obstacles, we are confident that they will usher in a new age of societal approval for courage, bravery, integrity, and kindness over violence and greed. Moreover, we know that as Forestdale (i.e., our families, staff, donors, and Board) works to help families heal from trauma, find stability, and thrive, it will benefit not only the children we serve but shift the more significant progress and evolution of our society in the direction of our better human nature.

Forestdale’s 2018 Annual Report describes our long-standing programming and recent innovations to meet the needs of low-income families and children working to heal from trauma and improve their lives.  Thank you to those who have joined us in this fight to make sure that every child has what she needs to flourish, that every family has a route to stability, and that our larger community has the opportunity to work toward generosity, compassion, and well-being.

Looking forward,

William Weisberg, Executive Director
Robert Whiteford, Chair, Board of Trustees

                                                                   

As a service organization, Forestdale’s commitment to ending child poverty is expressed primarily through our work to strengthen individual families, helping them break the intergenerational transmission of poverty and trauma. Our current focus is on intervening to help families in crisis stabilize, working with children to place them on a path to future success, and working with mothers and fathers to help them be great parents and plant the seeds for intergenerational advancement.

In 2015, we served approximately 1,000 families. Now, we serve about 1,500: A 50% increase in three years. We’ve had some successes, and we are eager to continuously seek out and implement new initiatives and evidence-based models that can help support all of our families and children. Below is a summary of some of this original programming and our capital projects:

The Forestdale community was dealt a significant blow when our beloved Adoption and Permanency Supervisor, Evelyn Reid, passed away on May 25, 2018. At Forestdale for 14 years, Evelyn is remembered for her passion for helping foster children find permanency through adoption, her love and pride in her own children, and her acapella singing (building four was often treated to her lovely voice wafting through the halls).

All of her colleagues respected her intense dedication to children and her dogged devotion to finalize adoptions as quickly as possible so children would have a permanent family. Our Adoption and Permanency Unit continues her legacy, working tirelessly to find a permanency solution for each child.

Finding a Loving Family

In 2016, Evelyn began working with a teenager, Amanda (not her real name). When Amanda’s mother passed away in 2013, Amanda needed a home. Amanda’s great-grandmother came forward to take care of her, but in 2016 started having severe health problems. The family of one of Amanda’s good friends invited Amanda to join their family.  Evelyn worked extremely hard for and with Amanda and this loving family until the family formally adopted Amanda in 2016. Amanda has suffered many personal losses, but her new family’s commitment to her sense of security and happiness is impressive and felt by her and by all around them. Evelyn was exceptional at her job; this is but one of the hundreds of families that Evelyn worked tirelessly to bring together permanently.  The successful unfolding of these young people’s lives will be her legacy.

Evelyn continues to serve as an inspiration to Forestdale’s outstanding Adoption and Permanency program; a team that she helped to train, and a unit that she helped construct.  Alexandra Doricent, the Permanency Supervisor, has impressed everyone since joining Forestdale in 2018 with her brilliance, exuberance, and commitment. Nayla Ochoa anchored the team through this challenging transition, marshaling her diligence and compassion to make sure that adoptions proceeded without interruption. The matchless Tracy Kitt brings her tremendous experience, wisdom, and warmth to our latest effort, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, helping to find adoptive homes for teens and other young people who have not easily found adoptive families, helping us achieve our aim that every child should have a forever family.

Fiscal Year 2018 Audited Financial Statements

CALENDAR 2018 FORESTDALE SUPPORTERS

  • 112th Precinct
  • Acme Lighting
  • ADP
  • Albert & Pearl Ginsberg Foundation
  • Aligner Chocolates
  • All Star Studios
  • Apollo Jets
  • Arthur J. Gallagher & Company
  • Barclays Center
  • ChemRX Pharmacy Services
  • Cicatelli Associates, Inc.
  • Community Resource Exchange
  • ConEdison
  • Dammann Fund, Inc.
  • Deloitte
  • Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
  • DiffusionPR
  • Dormitory Authority of the State of NY (DASNY)
  • Edith Glick Shoolman Children’s Foundation
  • First Presbyterian Church of Forest Hills
  • Forest Hills High School
  • FPWA
  • Flywheel Sports
  • Frances L. & Edwin L. Cummings Memorial Fund
  • Fulton Street Hardware
  • Fund for Public Health in NY
  • Fund for the City of New York
  • Girl Scouts Troop 4413 & 4940
  • Good+ Foundation
  • High Water Women (HWW)
  • Hollis Lions Club
  • Human Resources Administration – Center for Economic Opportunity
  • Hyde & Watson Foundation
  • IBM
  • Ira W. DeCamp Foundation
  • Janey Fund Charitable Trust
  • Jaye Penney Gould Foundation
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Kiwanis Club of Forest Hills
  • Madison House
  • Martha Mertz Foundation Inc.
  • Merrick Academy
  • Milrose Consultants
  • Nancy & Edwin Marks Family Foundation
  • New York Community Trust
  • New York Life Foundation
  • New York Mets
  • Northwell Health (LIJ)
  • NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS)
  • NYC Councilmember Daneek Miller
  • NYC Councilmember Francisco Moya
  • NYC Council Queens Delegation
  • NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson
  • NYC Council – General
  • NYC Dept. of Health & Mental Hygiene (DOHMH)
  • NYC Dept. Youth & Community Development (DYCD)
  • NYS Dept. of Health
  • NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH)
  • Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA)
  • S. 101
  • Queens Chamber of Commerce
  • Queens County Bar Association
  • Queens Borough President Melinda Katz
  • Rego Park-Forest Hills Lions Club
  • Rego Park/Queens Center Mall
  • Restoration Medical Supply
  • Ridgewood Savings Bank
  • Ripples A Not for Profit
  • Rose Academy of Ballet
  • Rosin Steinhagen Mendel
  • Seyfarth Shaw LLP
  • Soccer Friends USA
  • TD Charitable Foundation
  • The Durst Organization
  • The Journey Church-Queens
  • The Reform Temple of Forest Hills
  • Tropham Foundation
  • Tydas, Inc.
  • United HealthCare
  • van Ameringen Foundation, Inc.
  • vFramework
  • Washington Square Fund
  • West Side Tennis Club
  • Women’s Club of Forest Hills, Inc.
  • Women Helping Women

 

Likewise, thank you to all of our tremendously generous individual donors.