Our innovative programs help young people succeed and thrive by providing critical support in communities where it is needed the most. We also provide coaching for young people in foster care until they reach age 25 to ensure that they meet their housing, career and financial goals.
Graham SLAM Education and Career Program
Graham SLAM (Support, Lead, Achieve, and Model) is an innovative strategy we developed to provide young people in the foster care system, as well as those at risk for entering foster care, with long-term, consistent, and comprehensive support from high school, through college or vocational school, and all the way to a living-wage career. We have committed to sticking with young people until age 26, even after they are no longer in the child welfare system. Graham SLAM provides a continuum of intensive, structured supports, centered around a coaching model.
Graham SLAM develops a strong network of support for each young person through high school and postsecondary education and training (college or a recognized vocational certificate program), and into living-wage employment. A professional youth coach is accountable for educational and vocational progress for a specific group of youth, using evidence-supported models and ensures youth receive intensive, structured, outcomes-focused peer support as well as family support.
Program components include:
- Ongoing Individual Support and Planning: Youth coaches work one-on-one with each young person to develop and follow a plan for reaching their educational and career goals. We use nationally recognized, evidence-supported models to engage and motivate young people, including Motivational Interviewing and Solution-Based Casework, a unifying framework we introduced to New York City and use agencywide.
- College Readiness and Support: We help students successfully complete high school, select the right college and program, apply for admissions and financial aid, and stay on track toward college graduation.
- Employment Readiness and Support: We provide job readiness training and career-focused peer support through a model called Career Club, and help students apply to and succeed in vocational programs, internships, and jobs.
- Family Support: We engage each young person’s family in the process of developing a plan for the young person and supporting the steps along the way.
- Peer Support: We provide for peer support through a weekly support group centered around a model called Network. We also provide leadership training, peer support, and community service opportunities through our Bengals positive peer group.
Beacon and Cornerstone After-School Programs
Our Beacon and Cornerstone Programs are school and community-based initiatives which provide a range of socially and emotionally enriching programs and opportunities for children, youth and families. Graham’s Beacon programs are located in Central Harlem at the Mahalia Jackson School (PS/MS 123) and in the South Bronx at the Bronx Academy for Multi Media (MS 424). Graham’s Manhattanville Cornerstone program is located in West Harlem at the Manhattanville New York City Housing Authority Development. Our programs provide a safe and academically enriching and challenging environment for over 1000 elementary and middle-school children. Children and youth receive tutoring in English/language arts, science and math; other activities include art, drama, youth councils, a reading club, journalism, computer classes, fitness, sports, and competitive teams. We also assist kids with admission to competitive middle school, high school, and college programs. In the summer we run full-day summer camps and provide summer jobs for our youth. All of the Beacon and Cornerstone programs and services are provided free of charge to members of the community. The programs are primarily funded through contracts with New York City’s Department of Youth and Community Development.
The Bengals are asupport network of peers for the youth we serve at Graham. The goal of the Bengals is to influence their peers positively by being good role models, being responsible for guiding their peers in the right direction, modeling appropriate behaviors, as well as stepping up to different challenges/tasks. The Bengals program is a group that is open to young people, their families and Graham staff. Each Bengal goes through initial training and orientation in what it means to be a “Bengal” and stepping out of one’s comfort zone; understanding healthy relationships and communication; interpersonal dynamics and the crisis cycle; and collaborative problem-solving. Once inducted into the Bengals program, participants use the principles of servant leadership and serve as positive role models for peers.
Graham Windham Mental Health provides quality mental health services to children and youth, and their caregivers. Our services address a range of mental-health related issues including behaviors that interfere with school success (inattention, hyperactivity, aggression, etc.) as well as child and adolescent depression, anxiety and ADHD. In addition to addressing and resolving behavior, a primary goal of our licensed clinical staff is to help our children, youth and families address and heal the trauma associated with child and youth maltreatment including physical and sexual abuse. We have a community mental health center in Harlem, and have also opened a satellite mental health clinic at our Bronx office. Our Clinic’s multi-faceted program aims to help young people between the ages of 5-25 make life altering changes and help in overcoming obstacles. This involves close work with families in helping strengthen positive self-concepts, gain new life skills, improve decision making skills, regulate emotions, and develop future goals. The program uses several, evidenced based interventions suited to work with the children and families involved at Graham, as well as in the community. These treatments include Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as it applies to depression, anxiety and behavioral issues. Play therapy, psychoeducation, group therapy, psychiatric evaluations and medication therapy are also part of the range of services available. Our clinicians take a collaborate approach to treatment and engage with parents/guardians from the very beginning of treatment. From the very first stage of intake, parents/guardians are asked about the goals they would like to accomplish.