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With New Name and Tagline, Kennedy Children’s Center Continues to Change Lives

Posted on July 18, 2018 by Catholic Charities Admin  |  Share

My Eyewitness to Lives Transformed

By Molly Lankisch

Catholic Charities NY Summer Intern

I had the incredible opportunity last week to visit and experience firsthand work done to change young  lives changed at  Kennedy Children’s Center, an affiliate of Catholic Charities NY that serves preschoolers with special needs and their families. As a summer intern with Catholic Charities, walking through the sparkling hallways filled with toys, teachers, and toddlers was an eye opener. Every moment a child walked through the doors, they were welcomed by their teacher with a friendly smile.

Where Children, Families and Communities Learn Together

Just one month earlier, the former Kennedy Child Study Center, one of the 90 affiliated agencies of Catholic Charities, unveiled their new name and tagline to signify their role in the 21st century as a modern provider of educational and non-educational services to children, families and their local communities. They are now recognized as the Kennedy Children’s Center and identify with the motto, “Where Children, Families, and Communities Learn Together.”

Once Locked Away and Forgotten

Their history begins in the 1950s, a time when people with special needs were often excluded from our everyday society, placed into institutions and too often forgotten. The Kennedy Children’s Center was one of the first organizations to look beyond this notion and recognize the limitless potential of every young child regardless of their disability.

Creating a Future

Since 1958, the Kennedy Children’s Center has created brighter opportunities for developmentally disabled preschoolers and maintained their pioneering position as one of the first special education providers in the United States. This agency supports over 800 children each year with modern academic and therapy-centered programs at their primary locations in Manhattan and the Bronx. As well, there are counseling and support services that provide parents necessary assistance during this challenging time in their family’s life. The center’s additional enrichment activities such as yoga, animal therapy, music lessons and gardening connect families together and enrich the lives of the children they teach on a daily basis.

 I noticed parents leaving with a sense of peace, knowing that their children would be in a safe environment that allows them to learn and grow at their own pace. In the waiting area, I read poster boards filled with inspirational stories of families and children who were positively affected by their time at Kennedy Children’s Center.

Lives Transformed

I saw this agency truly put their motto into action through their work and passion for the people in the Harlem community. The lives of thousands of children and families have been transformed over the years because of the services that Kennedy Children’s Center provides. And while the organization's name has changed, I was thrilled to witness their continuous dedication towards making a difference in the early, key stages of children’s lives.

Learn more about Kennedy Children’s Center’s free services for New York preschoolers with special needs