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Mount Vernon's Foundations in Feelings Wins Award

Foundations in Feelings is an innovative approach for addressing the social-emotional development needs of very young children while ensuring that no child is expelled from a childcare program due to behavioral issues.
Foundations in Feelings is an innovative approach for addressing the social-emotional development needs of very young children while ensuring that no child is expelled from a childcare program due to behavioral issues. Photo Credit: Contributed

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. -- Foundations in Feelings, an early childhood program of the Guidance Center of Westchester, is being honored as Program of the Year by the Westchester Division of the New York State Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

The awards ceremony will take place on Thursday at  5:30 p.m. at the Women’s Club of White Plains; it's at 305 Ridgeway, White Plains.

Foundations in Feelings is an innovative approach for addressing the social-emotional development needs of very young children while ensuring that no child is expelled from a childcare program due to behavioral issues, according to a release from the Guidance Center of Westchester.

By working with the childcare staff and family, the Foundations in Feelings team of specialists creates an individualized behavioral action plan that helps modify the child’s behavior in a positive way, the release said.

“We are so honored to be recognized for our work on behalf of Westchester’s youngest and most vulnerable citizens. We hope to continue and expand our program to help even more young children thrive in the critical early years,” said Iva Jenkins, LCSW, director, early childhood behavioral health services.

The Foundations in Feelings program on average works with more than 20 daycare centers, reaching more than 600 children and their families, according to the release. In 2016, no child was expelled from a daycare center after receiving Foundations in Feelings intervention.

Foundations in Feelings was nominated for the award by several childcare centers who have benefited from the program.

“Kindergarten readiness is more critical than ever before and (Foundations in Feelings) allows these children, who would otherwise be denied a preschool experience, an opportunity to learn and grow,” said Rhonda Heumann, director of Children’s Learning Center (YMCA) in White Plains.

“The social workers from the (Foundations in Feelings) program have helped a number of our children with serious behavior challenges function in the classrooms,” said Carol Robinson, early education director at Grayson Learning Center in Yonkers. “In addition, they have trained my staff in the Second Step curriculum and on how to handle challenging behaviors when they arise.”

Foundations in Feelings was once only available to select daycare centers but is now available to any daycare in Westchester. To inquire about services, email EarlyChildhood@TheGuidanceCenter.org.

Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2017, the Guidance Center of Westchester offers essential and lasting support to those challenged by mental illness, substance abuse, poverty, and homelessness. It empowers its participants to become active members of their community through education, treatment, housing and vocational services.

The Guidance Center of Westchester is at 256 Washington St., Mount Vernon.

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