With utter joy, we announce the opening of Graham Windham’s newest center on the 8th floor of 195 Montague Street in Downtown Brooklyn! The Center offers opportunities for parents, foster parents, community members, and staff to get support from Graham—everything from a cup of coffee and a chance to relax to the professional therapy and coaching they need in order to thrive. Our new center is bright, and filled with natural light and soothing colors, from open welcoming spaces to calming private corners. It is a place where children and families can disconnect from their overwhelming life situations, and reconnect to their dreams so that they can achieve them. For those who are in crisis, it is a place to work on their healing with support from the Graham team.
“Our children and families are largely Black & brown people living in substandard and or temporary housing. The children attend aged and overcrowded schools that are inadequately resourced. High crime in their neighborhoods makes playing outdoors potentially dangerous. We intended that 195 Montague would be an oasis that offers welcoming, vibrant open spaces with lots of light so they can exhale, recalibrate and work on their lives,” says Kimberly Watson, Graham’s President & CEO.
The Montague Center is a true collaboration, incorporating input from children, youth, families, staff, and community members over the years. We know you will love it as much as we do.
Across Brooklyn, Graham reaches 892 children, youth, and their families, providing support in homes, in communities, and at two downtown Brooklyn locations. At 195 Montague, we offer mental health therapy for children, adolescents, and their families, health care coordination, foster care, parent support groups, and youth education and career coaching through our innovative Graham SLAM program. With the opening of 195 Montague, we take another step toward our vision to have warm, welcoming, vibrant spaces where children and families can heal.
At last week’s opening celebration, NYC Councilmember Lincoln Restler shared: “As I walked into this space, the words that popped into my head were: design matters…I feel lifted up, I feel happy walking into this space.” He also expressed his support for Graham’s essential human services workforce who, he noted, “Have really hard jobs,” and who “show up, every day, no matter the challenges [they] face.”
ACS Commissioner, Jess Dannhauser, congratulated everyone on the Graham team and said the new Center is “bright, shiny, and welcoming…all those things and more.”
Nicole Dennis-Benn and Dr. Emma Benn, foster parents at Graham, also shared their congratulations and delight with the design of the center. “When we came into Graham, we became part of a community,” said Dr. Benn, and “the fact that [this space] nurtures community, not just among the parents and children, but among the staff…is so helpful. We will definitely be taking advantage of it!”
Open House attendees toured the whole site, which fills the entire 8th floor of the building, and heard from Graham staff who explained the different programs and supports that would be offered in each area. On display were therapy rooms with comfortable furniture and a calming environment, play areas with child-sized tables and squishy beanbags, a coffee bar with refreshments and an adjacent lounge area, staff workspaces with large windows and adjustable lighting, a wellness room with exercise mats, and a youth lounge for homework and hanging out. The open, airy design allowed natural light to reach every area, even on the overcast day of the opening.
Sharmeela Mediratta, Graham’s Vice President for Health and Family Wellness, and Edward Fabian, our Chief Operating Officer, led the build-out of the new center which took close to a year. During the Open House, Graham recognized both of them and the entire team who helped to realize their bold vision for the new space, including Transwestern Real Estate Services, WXY Studio (architects), About the Work (project managers), M.A.R. Construction (contractor), and Manuel Miranda Practice (graphic design).
We are grateful to all of Graham’s private funders, who fuel our innovation, and especially everyone who contributed to our Eliza Hamilton Legacy Campaign—funds from that campaign helped make the creation of this new center possible. We would love to share this new space with you. If you are in the New York area, please contact us to express interest in a tour and regardless of your location, please enjoy this collection of photos from our Open House.