Rising Ground Helps Families Cope During the Holidays

Why the Bronx Family Mental Health Clinic is Giving Its Parents Cocoa and a "Coping Skills Kit" for the Holidays

The Bronx, NY, December 15, 2018 --(PR.com)-- Many families cherish being together over the holidays. But when children are affected by emotional and behavioral disorders, and parents are challenged to make ends meet, families may just want to make it to New Year’s Day without strife or a crisis.

That’s why the Bronx Family Mental Health Clinic is handing out cocoa and a Coping Skills Kit.

They’re making a special effort to prepare the families they support for this year’s long, 11-day break from school. The Clinic is serving hot chocolate to show parents that simple things, like enjoying a cup of cocoa together, sends a message that members of any family facing challenges can appreciate a moment together.

“Many of the parents we support live from day to day, and they don’t think about what they will do with their children during school break,” says Christina Soddano, LCSW, Senior Director for Strategic Health Initiatives at Rising Ground.

The Coping Skills kit will be given to both parents and teens to remind them of the tools they have gained at the Clinic to overcome emotional challenges, which often surface during the holidays. The kit contains:

A string, a reminder to hold it together;
An eraser, to not dwell on mistakes;
A piece of candy, to enjoy the sweeter things in life;
Stars, encouragement to look on the bright side;
A Band-Aid®, a reminder that wounds can be healed.

The underlying message is that you and your children should not expect to have a “perfect holiday,” but it can be a peaceful one. Says Soddano: “A perfect holiday is not going to happen. It doesn’t happen in any family because no family is perfect. But, what parents can and should do is make sure children feel needed and wanted and—most importantly—loved.”

Soddano suggests that during the school break parents arrange to spend some one-on-one time with children who may have emotional challenges. It can be as simple as going to the library to read a book together or walking in the park. Another suggestion is going to the laundromat and having a conversation away from the others. “A parent might think of going to laundromat as a chore, but your child will love the attention,” she says.

Rising Ground, one of New York City’s most impactful nonprofit human-services organizations, opened the Bronx Family Mental Health Clinic two years ago to provide a full range of therapeutic services to get to the root of emotional and behavioral disorders affecting children and teens from 5 to 21. Counselors engage in talk therapy with children and educate parents about the need to set boundaries at home while also respecting their children as individuals. By including parents or caregivers in the work, the Clinic’s therapists have helped transform the lives of young people who might otherwise be hospitalized or struggling in school with a learning or emotional disorder.

Helping Parents Prepare for the Holidays

Bronx Family Mental Health Clinic staff want families to know that holiday celebrations do not need to be elaborate to feel special. Therapists are talking to families about their plans for school break and helping them find free and low-cost community activities that both parents and children will enjoy.

The Clinic’s holiday celebration will take place December 18-21, and Bryan Mendoza, the Clinic Mental Health Liaison, will don a red suit and play Santa each afternoon. Children and teens will all receive gifts, which have been donated by individuals and corporations to Rising Ground’s 2018 toy drive.

Staff will also remind children and families that therapy sessions will continue during the holiday break, and if the holiday break is not as smooth as it can be, therapists will help families reboot. “The holidays can be a time to make positive memories, and positive memories are filed away in our brain and can be used as coping mechanisms when the next challenge arises,” Soddano points out. “Spending time with people we care for is worth much more than an extravagant gift that will only last until the next trendy item comes out.”

About Rising Ground

Rising Ground, which recently changed its name from Leake & Watts to more accurately reflect its full scope of services, is a leading nonprofit human services organization, currently operating 55 programs at more than 50 different sites throughout the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Westchester, and employing a workforce of 1,800 people. Daily, it provides children, adults, and families with the resources and skills needed to rise above adversity and positively direct their lives. It has won the prestigious Nonprofit Excellence Award.

Rising Ground delivers dedicated support to facilitate safe environments for children and help families thrive through its family stabilization, family foster care and adoption programs; innovative educational programs that advance learning from early childhood through high school; caring services for children and adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities; result-focused programs that help youth involved in the juvenile justice system change the trajectory of their lives; and pro-active community health initiatives that foster physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Founded as an orphanage in 1831, Rising Ground has been at the forefront of evolving community needs and has become a leader in utilizing result-driven, evidence-based practices. Today, the organization’s work is a positive force in the lives of more than 25,000 individuals. For more information, visit www.risingground.org.
Rising Ground
Jeannie Ashford
914-242-0010 x 3