Immigrants And Refugees

Healing Communities in the Bronx — Your Lenten Reflection

Astor Services Trauma Recovery Center

Then a voice came from heaven,
“I have glorified it and will glorify it again.”
–John 12:28

During the fifth Sunday of Lent, Jesus teaches his disciples about the way in which he will be glorified by God, and a voice from heaven is heard to affirm this teaching.

Jesus predicts his suffering, death, and Resurrection and prepares his disciples to believe in the salvation that his death would accomplish. The Gospel teaches us that, like Jesus, we too are called to put others’ needs before our own and that doing so helps us become more generous and loving.

This month, Catholic Charities of New York opened a new trauma recovery center in the Bronx through our agency Astor Services. It is one of three trauma recovery centers of its kind in the entire city. The center provides much-needed therapeutic and support services to victims of trauma and violence and serves as a community hub to support victims of violent crime in the Bronx, with clear referral pathways from local hospitals, legal defense services, law enforcement, and other critical support providers.

For Amber Rodriguez, the opening of the new trauma recovery center is a full circle moment. Ms. Rodriguez, 23, works as an advocate for children in her neighborhood. Her passion to help others is fueled by her own painful story experiencing misconduct in school when she was a teenager. She credits the center with providing her with healing.

“My trauma doesn’t define me. My relationship with the trauma recovery center has allowed me to heal and become a better version of myself. It helped me to find stability when I felt like the ground was sinking beneath my feet and, for that, I am grateful,” said Ms. Rodriguez. Now, as an ambassador of the center, she is driven to protect youth in her community.

“I am happy this center is here in the Bronx and is completely free. This is important as this area has the highest poverty rate in the city, and also one of the highest crime rates — factors that can intensify the impacts of trauma and restrict access to care,” said Yvette Bairan, CEO of Astor Services.

The new facility staffs three full-time social workers and houses therapy rooms to provide safe places for individuals and families who have experienced sexual trauma, domestic violence, and violent crime.

In the example of Jesus, Catholic Charities of New York works to support the needs of our communities.  We are committed to helping families in order to ensure that every child has a healthy and happy childhood. By working in partnership with other organizations to provide comprehensive social services, like the new trauma recover city, we empower and strengthen children, adults, and families to build more resilient communities.