Westchester Community Foundation Grants Play Critical Roles in the Ossining Children’s Center’s COVID 19 Response

The Ossining Children’s Center (OCC) was awarded a generous grant from the Westchester Community Foundation (WCF) in January of this year to support the work of OCC’s Director of Children’s Services, Terry Becker. At the time, the Center had no idea the extent to which families would come to rely on Ms. Becker’s guidance and support.

The grant, funded through WCF’s Dorothy Patterson Fund, focuses on the Center’s work with special needs children.  Ms. Becker works with teachers and parents to promote positive behavior both at home and at school, and she conducts. social-emotional skill building workshops with children in the classroom.

With COVID-19 precautions causing the Center to close in mid-March, the nature of Terry’s interactions with families has changed.  She is now in frequent contact with parents and teachers via phone and email to keep apprised of families’ needs during the COVID crisis. She is serving as a source of stability, comfort, and practical assistance to many OCC families.

Stress from the many changes we have all experienced during the last two months can exacerbate problematic behaviors in children and cause tension at home. Many OCC families are also experiencing financial hardship. Terry’s continued communication, support, and guidance is proving crucial in helping families to mitigate challenges and to enrich family life at home. Moreover, for families enduring financial hardship, Terry has arranged for free meals, groceries, and other necessities through OCC’s partner agencies, including the Ossining Public Schools, Gullotta House, Feeding Westchester, the Ossining Food Pantry, 914 Cares, and local houses of worship.

Her focused work with special needs children and their families continues to be a priority. In addition to supporting parents via phone and email, she attends meetings with the Ossining Public Schools’ Committee on Preschool Special Education to ensure that special needs children continue to receive vital services.

None of this work would be possible without Ossining Children’s Center’s partnership with the Westchester Community Foundation.

Moreover, WCF has recently awarded OCC an additional special grant to underwrite expenses necessitated by the COVID 19 crisis. This special grant is from the Westchester COVID 19 Response Fund.

With many funding streams interrupted due to COVID 19, OCC has been forced to do more with less. Thanks to WCF and the generous support of our community, OCC’s work continues.

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