Join The New York Foundling’s Strong Families and Communities Training Center, in partnership with the Home for Integrated Behavioral Health for our first ever Holiday Card Design Contest where we will celebrate the Holiday Season, along with our local children & families! Folks are welcomed to bring their jingle bell best and most colorful design to life through their own artistic perspective! We’ll gather in community to enjoy hot cocoa, delicious comfort snacks and the fun of creating beauty & wonderful memories together!


Enjoy a Holiday Dream with us on  Friday, December 9, 2022 at 3:00pm at 109 East 115th Street, between Lexington & Park

All are Welcome! Join us on November 12, 2022 from 11-3PM for an afternoon of fun and learning in a safe and quiet space for all families. The Doodle Den is a place to find and explore different forms of self-expression and, in doing so, find new ways to gain personal insight. From reading, writing, poetry and art, participants will find their form of self-expression. We will be offering the community more insight into the New York Foundling Strong Families and Community Center and the support services that we offer! 👍📚🖍️

Title: Understanding the Needs of Newly Arrived Immigrant Parents to NYC

Date: 11/16/22 

Time: 10am-1pm 

Location: 590 Avenues of the Americas – 9th FL 

Learning Objectives:

  • Exploring the Lived Experience of a parent who has immigrated to NYC
  • Discuss the services available for immigrant parents and families to NYC 
  • An education expert will present regarding the various DOE services for children who are currently entering the DOE and may have various immigration status
  • The Strong Families and Communities Training Center’s Communities That Care program will share about their work with the community and ways community social service providers and leaders can help influence community policies and supports.  

Register Here


During these challenging times providers often think about how to best support the families and youth we service in an ever changing and challenging world.   In this 2 hour – 1 day workshop the New York Foundling’s Strong Families and Communities Training Center would like to offer a time for social service providers to come together and discuss the current concerns of youth mental health.   

Title:   Supporting Youth Mental Health in a Traumatic World 

Date: Thursday, June 30, 2022  

Time: 1-3pm 

Description:   In this workshop we will-

  • Explore mental health issues that youth currently face 
  • Gain an understanding of the impact of trauma in the context of current events 
  • Review effective strategies for caregivers and providers to use when supporting youth 

Click Here to Register

Location: Zoom (Link will be provided after registration)  

Audience: Social Service providers within the New York City Area ie case managers, social workers, peer advocates, mental health providers, coordinators, case workers, and those working with the youth in various capacities. 

Professionals with the following licensed will be eligible to receive 2 free continuing education credit LMHC, LMSW, LCSW, PSYD and PHD.  If you are seeking to obtain CEU’s please provide license number on the registration form.   


Dr. Akeem Marsh has dedicated his career to working with children and families of medically neglected communities. He currently serves as the Medical Director of the Home of Integrated Behavioral Health – The New York Foundling and as a consultant member of the Verywell Mind Review Board. In part through his leadership efforts, The New York Foundling has participated in a learning collaborative through the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) following a competitive selection process and was a recipient of the American Psychiatric Association Foundation (APAF) 2022 Award for Advancing Minority Mental Health. He maintains a faculty appointment as Clinical Assistant Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine. Dr. Marsh is a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, a Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), and serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the New York Council on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He has presented nationally and internationally in a variety of professional conference settings, has authored many articles, and recently published a book he co-edited, Not Just Bad Kids: The Adversity and Disruptive Behavior Link. 

On June 4, 2022 from 1-5pm, the New York Foundling’s SFC Center and Home for Integrated Behavioral Health are collaborating on a creative experience for all community members. Art Sanctuary: Healing Hearts, One Paintbrush at a Time will be a space for healing and building community using creative outlets of expression. We will have a variety of arts ands crafts for children and adults of all ages to use and express themselves however they see fit. Throughout the event there will be raffles for a variety of prizes, one of them being a new bike! We will have refreshments and goodie bags available to attendees as well.


This event is FREE and open to EVERYONE

The New York Foundling’s Strong Families and Communities Training Center in collaboration with Jodi Ziesmer, Director of the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG)’s Immigrant Protection Unit, and Lisa Pineda, Mental Health Clinical Director of Terra Firma at Montefiore Health Systems, would like to invite you to explore the legal and mental health needs of the immigrant population with in NYC. For questions regarding this workshop please email

Title: Legal and Mental Health Approaches to Working with Immigrant Children and Families

Date and Time:   Wednesday, March 9th, 2022 – 10am-12pm.

Location: Virtual via Zoom (link to be provided after registration)

Training Description:   This is a 2 -hour workshop where attendees will:

  • Gain a basic understanding of lawful and unlawful immigration into the U.S. and demographics of recently arrived immigrants
  • Learn about the psychosocial, legal, and financial challenges during the immigration process –and explore assessment methods to identify and address psychosocial needs, including effective mental health interventions for this population
  • Understanding the role teachers, youth advocates, and mental health clinicians can play as advocates in the immigration process
  • Continue to explore the mental health challenges and needs present in immigrant, particularly recently arrived, children and families
  • Learn how and why to identify unaccompanied immigrant children (UIC) and asylum-seeking families

Audience: This interactive workshop is geared towards advocates, social workers, mental health professionals, case managers, coordinators and social services providers in New York City.  *Please note that this training is only available for professionals in New York City.

Professionals with the following licensed will be eligible to receive 2 free continuing education credit: LMHC, LMSW, LCSW, PSYD and PHD.  If you are seeking to obtain CEU’s please provide license number on the registration form.

Register: Register here


Lisa Pineda, LCSW-R, is a senior-level psychotherapist and the Mental Health Clinical Director of Terra Firma at Montefiore Health Systems, a nationally recognized medical-legal-mental health partnership that provides co-located medical, mental health, legal, and enrichment services to unaccompanied immigrant children and asylum-seeking families. Lisa specializes in child and adolescent mental health, particularly traumatic stress resulting from interpersonal trauma. Previously working in a Child Advocacy Center model, she also has expertise in dealing within the child welfare system. Lisa is trained and provides clinical supervision in several trauma-focused evidence-based therapeutic interventions, including TF-CBT, AF-CBT, SPARCS, CPP, and PSB-CBT. Lisa’s present work with immigrant population, including unaccompanied children, is the culmination of over 10 years of experience contributing to the research and refining of therapeutic interventions with this population. Lisa is the co-author of “Working with parents and children separated at the border: Examining the impact of the Zero Tolerance policy and beyond,” Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma (2019). Lisa earned her MSW from Adelphi University, where she conducted research with Hispanic immigrant youth and their families, addressing mental health outcomes.


Jodi Ziesemer is the Director of the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG)’s Immigrant Protection Unit. Jodi leads a large team of innovative and passionate immigration advocates. In addition to overseeing staff, she works with senior management to establish and implement a strategic vision for the unit, undertakes the management and reporting on grants and deliverables, and develops effective programs to meet client needs. Prior to joining NYLAG, Jodi was a supervision attorney at Catholic Charities in their Unaccompanied Minors Program. In that position, Jodi coordinated representation of recently arrived unaccompanied immigrant children and oversaw a team of attorneys who provide services to immigrant youth detained with the Office of Refugee Resettlement. In addition, she has worked for the past ten years representing a wide variety of immigrants in front of Executive Office of Immigration Review (Immigration Court) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Prior to graduating summa cum laude from New York Law School, Jodi worked as a Board of Immigration Appeals representative for the National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago and as a paralegal at Fitzgerald and Company, LLC in Boston. During her fifteen years in immigration law, Jodi has worked on a range of projects including anti-human trafficking initiatives, naturalization drives, pro bono asylum clinics, innovative representation projects for unaccompanied minors and victims of violent crime. Jodi holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Grinnell College and a Master’s in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a J.D. from New York Law School. Jodi served an adjunct professor at St. John’s University and she co-authored an article for the Georgetown Immigration Law Journal entitled, “The Right to Have Rights: Loss of Citizenship, Asylum, and Constitutional Principles.” (Vol 30, No 3, Spring 2016).


The New York Foundling’s Strong Families and Communities Training Center in collaboration with Dr. George Ramos is proud to announce that we are hosting a training on Immigration and Mental Health. This workshop is catered towards social service providers, mental health professionals, social workers, and family/ youth advocates who provide services to families and parents within New York City.  With recent news on immigration, we are seeking to provide assistance to social service professionals on gaining an understanding of the mental health needs and challenges that immigrant families face upon entering the United States.   For questions regarding this workshop please email    

Title: Immigration and Mental Health 

Date and Time: January 12, 2022 at 1pm-3pm 

Location: Zoom (link will be provided after registration)

Training Description:  In this workshop attendees will analyze the experiences of a variety of immigrant groups in the US ranging from. refugees, and undocumented folk to residents and asylum seekers. Attendants will learn how to provide support to these families and begin to understand their unique mental health needs and challenges.  We will also discuss the mental health needs specific to immigrant families. Lastly attendees will receive tools and resources to help support immigrant families with their mental health wellbeing.  

Audience: This training will be interactive and geared towards advocates, social workers, mental health professionals, and social services providers in New York City.  *Please note that this training is only available for professionals in New York City.   

Professionals with the following licensed will be eligible to receive 2 free continuing education credit LMHC, LMSW, LCSW, PSYD and PHD.  If you are seeking to obtain CEU’s please provide license number on the registration form.   

Register: Register Here   


Dr. George Ramos is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in New York State.  He received his Doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervisor from the University of The Cumberlands in 2019 and his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Nyack College in 2012.  Dr. Ramos provides mental health counseling in Immigration Mental Health Evaluations at his private practice, In Home Mental Health Counseling, PLLC.  Additionally, he a special consultant with New York City’s Department of Mental Health and Mental Hygiene while also providing trainings for ACS/CUNY Workforce and at Best Practice Trainers, LLC.  Dr. Ramos is an Associate Professor at Nyack College and an adjunct lecturer at New York University and Mercy College. 

The New York Foundling Strong Families and Communities Training Center will be hosting a 2021 Return to School Forum.  Last school year was a roller-coaster ride of changing policies and school mandates.  The SFC would like to provide a space for NYC advocates, mental health professionals, social workers, and social service providers to dialogue, discuss and prepare for the upcoming return to school of 2021.    

Training Description: 

During this 1 day- 2-hour Forum you will have the opportunity to connect with NYC’s leading child welfare professionals.  This Forum will consist of panelists each presenting on their expertise on various topics as it pertains to Return to School 2021. The topics covered will be the following:  general child rights, legal advocacy, parent advocacy, mental health, and a focus on the needs of children in the special education system.   You will be given the opportunity to ask questions to our panelist during the forum.  You will also gain helpful resources that will assist children and families who will be part of the of the upcoming school year.   

Panelist will include representatives from The New York Foundling, Include NYC, Being Special NYC, and Advocates for Children.

If you have any questions please email .   


Title: Return to School Forum 

Date and Time: August 31, 2021:  1-3pm 

Location: Zoom

Registration:  Click Here



Diana Aragundi, Staff Attorney 
Advocates for Children of NY

Diana Aragundi is a staff attorney at Advocates for Children of New York (“AFC”) on the Immigrant Students’ Rights Project. She represents immigrant students and parents in school administrative hearings, helps parents enroll their children in effective English Language Learner (ELL) programs, and assists older immigrant youth in finding appropriate school placements. Diana graduated from CUNY School of Law and has a B.A. in English from New York University. Prior to working at AFC, she represented children in Kings County Family Court in contested custody, guardianship, family offense, and neglect proceedings. She is fluent in Spanish.


Elizabeth Golini, Director 

Elizabeth Golini is INCLUDEnyc’s Director of Parent and Family Engagement. For the past ten years, she has worked with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other disabilities and their families in non-public settings, charter schools, and public schools. She has a Master’s degree in Special Education from Simmons College and is a Doctoral Student at Hunter College. Additionally, she brings her knowledge as a Licensed Behavior Analyst and Board-Certified Behavior Analyst to INCLUDEnyc. Elizabeth is passionate about working with families and communities to better serve people with disabilities. She is committed to working for educational equity and access for all children and their families. 


Hazel Adams Shango, Founder and CEO of Choice

Hazel Adams-Shango is the Founder and CEO of Advocate of Choice/, a fee-for service New York City-based Independent Parent Advisory and Advocacy (non-attorney) service. Advocate of Choice/ provides customized and confidential general and special education referral and resource advisement to parents and other educational professionals. Over the last two decades, Hazel has served on the NYC District 11 Community Education Council and in several positions within the NYC Department of Education, including Regional Parent Engagement Officer, Student Enrollment Officer, and Education Analyst. She also raised three children, now ages 35, 29, and 23—all of whom graduated from NYC public high schools and were identified as “Twice Exceptional (2E)” students. Presently, Hazel is semi-retired and enjoys mentoring and educating parents on how to become more effective advocates on behalf of their children. She is currently working on a series of e-books on the Art of Parent Advocacy


Nandini Ahuja
NYF School-Based Mental Health

Nandini Ahuja received her MSW from Hunter College in 2019. She has been doing school-based mental health for two years, and enjoys learning how different therapy modalities can come together to form a customized treatment plan for her clients. Right now, she is interested in learning more about spirituality and how it can heal the mind, and DBT. She is looking forward to the start of the school year!


Bradlee Vasquez-Valdez
NYF School-Based Mental Health

Bradlee Vasquez- Valdez has been with FDA II since Fall 2019.  Mr. Valdez graduated from Binghamton University with a Bachelors in Human Development in 2017 and attended Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio to earn his Masters in Social Science Administration in 2019.  He enjoys eating all types of different foods. Some of his favorite dishes include oxtails, mac & cheese, potato salad & plantains with eggs and fried white cheese. He enjoys dancing, laughing, and binge watching reality television. He is also proud to be Dominican, and hopes to visit the country again soon! 

The Strong Families and Communities Training Center will be hosting a Back to School Giveaway outside our East Harlem location. Join us for free toys, books, self-care items, and more! There will be items for all ages – from children to adults.

Date: Friday, August 27
Time: 1:00 – 4:00 PM
Address: 109 East 115th St, New York, NY 10029

For any questions, please contact the SFC Training Center at 332-205-1780 or 

There is a New York City youth peer advocate coalition meeting hosted every third thursday bi-monthly from 2pm-3:30pm. For more information on the YPA coalition click here.

Next Meeting:

Date: Every Third Thursday Bi-monthly

Time: 2:00pm – 3:30pm

Audience: Youth Peer Advocates

Setting: Zoom

If you would like to join the NYC YPA Coalition, please contact Nivea Jackson at