Daniel’s Story

At 24, Daniel has overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges. Born with developmental disabilities, behavioral health issues, and addicted to drugs, Daniel entered foster care as an infant. He was adopted as a toddler by a loving mother who tragically passed away just a few years later. Daniel’s aunt cared for him until his needs eventually became too difficult for her to manage on her own. That’s when he was introduced to SCO.

When he was 15, Daniel came to SCO’s Extraordinary Needs group home, where specially-trained staff provide care, guidance, and a home-like experience for adolescents with developmental disabilities. At first, Daniel was reserved and had trouble communicating. But as time went on, Daniel gained confidence and found his voice – literally – while attending singing and performance workshops. Daniel

Since then, his progress has been nothing short of remarkable. Daniel is now able to talk and has become quite the social butterfly. He loves to bowl, watch Jeopardy, and engage in community activities. A budding diplomat (and Mets fan), he even attended a Yankees game with his housemates, although he refused to cheer.

Daniel is open and honest and has become a model resident. He’s a meticulous dresser who always puts his best foot forward. “That’s how we do it at SCO,” he says. Often referred to as the mayor of the house, Daniel keeps track of everything and everyone, advocating for himself and his peers.

As Daniel transitions to adulthood, SCO remains by his side with the supports he needs for a bright future. Last year, Daniel moved into a new SCO Individual Residential Alternative (IRA), a residence designed specifically for adults with challenges like his. Here Daniel continues to receive services, supports, and encouragement to live a full and independent life. New routines, new friends, and new adventures lay in store for Daniel, who is navigating his new surroundings like a pro.

Alayah’s Story

Alayah was always curious. When she saw something, she wouldn’t just take it at face value. She wanted to learn more. “How does that work?” “Why did that happen?” “What makes it do that?”

Her inquisitive nature was one of the traits that made her such a good student. She loves to learn and always has.

Growing up in Philadelphia, Alayah was at the top of her class. When she moved to New York, however, she risked having to repeat her junior year because some of her credits did not transfer.

Determined to graduate on time with her class, Alayah transferred to SCO’s East Brooklyn Community High School (EBCHS.) East Brooklyn is a transfer high school in partnership with SCO Family of Services and the New York City Department of Education. Students there can earn credits at an accelerated rate, so Alayah was able to earn her remaining junior credits and all of her senior credits in the same academic year.

Upon her arrival at EBCHS, Alayah had one goal: Go to college. She wanted to be the first in her family to go to college and she was determined to make it happen.

In the Spring of her senior year, Alayah’s EBCHS Advocate Counselor told her about a college scholarship available through Garden of Dreams, the Inspire Scholarship, and it’s substantial – $40,000 ($10,000 per year for four years) and a brand-new MacBook.

The Garden of Dreams Foundation is a non-profit organization that works with MSG Entertainment and MSG Sports to bring life-changing opportunities to young people in need. SCO Family of Services is one of their partner organizations.

When Alayah learned about the Garden of Dreams Inspire Scholarship, she jumped at the opportunity to apply. With a little help from her English teacher and a letter of recommendation from the EBCHS School Director, Alayah submitted her application.

Immersed in finishing out her senior year and applying to a myriad of colleges, Alayah received an email that she received a Garden of Dreams Inspire Scholarship! It was, in her words, an “Oh, my God! What a relief!” moment.

It really should come as no surprise. Her insatiable desire for knowledge made her the perfect candidate.

Alayah’s drive to go to college paid off. She was accepted into 16 colleges. Sixteen! In the end, Alayah chose North Carolina A&T University. It’s an excellent school and the people she talked to had great things to say about it.

Alayah plans to Major in Biology on the Pre-Med track, with a Minor in Psychology. She’d love to get into a top medical school and become a surgeon one day. She grew up helping to take care of people. It’s in her blood.

Alayah has set her goals high, but with her talent, drive and determination, she’s destined to achieve them all.

Congratulations, Alayah!

History

SCO Family of Services has responded to the needs of New Yorkers for more than a century. It all began in 1895, when a group of wealthy women established the Country Home for Convalescent Babies in Upstate New York. The Country Home admitted “sick and suffering small children, whom hardly anyone else can take” after they were released from the hospital following an acute illness, and before they were returned home to their families. The children recuperated at the home for several weeks.

Two years later, a new home was built on 14 acres in Sea Cliff, Long Island. The Bakers, Carnegies, Morgans, Phipps and Whitneys, in addition to many other prominent New York families, supported the facility. During World War II, the Home closed briefly and then reopened in 1947 under the auspices of the Diocese of Brooklyn, when it was renamed St. Christopher’s Home.

In 1967, Foster Home Program begins; the first home is licensed.

In 1978, Center for Family Life opened in Sunset Park, Brooklyn to promote positive outcomes for children, adults and families through a comprehensive range of neighborhood-based family and social services.

In 1985, St. Christopher’s Home merged with the Briarwood, Queens-based Ottilie Home for Children, which cares for adolescents with serious emotional needs and developmental disabilities. Originally known as the Ottilie Orphan Home, it was named after Ottilie Seibert, a young woman who died of pneumonia, leaving behind two young children. Ottilie’s father, John Miller, founded the orphanage in 1892 as a memorial to his only child.  The merger between St. Christopher’s Home and Ottilie resulted in St. Christopher-Ottilie.

A second merger took place in 1996 with Madonna Heights Services in Dix Hills, Long Island. Madonna Heights serves adolescent girls recovering from trauma and/or struggling with behavioral health issues, as well as women coping with domestic violence, battling addiction, and/or in need of temporary shelter.

In 1999, St. Christopher-Ottilie merged with Family Dynamics, an organization in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn dedicated to improving the lives of children by strengthening families struggling with poverty, abuse, teen pregnancy and drug addiction.

As a reflection of the tremendous growth in the scope and range of our services, we changed our name from St. Christopher-Ottilie to SCO Family of Services in December, 2004.

Today, SCO Family of Services provides a comprehensive array of services to children and families throughout New York City and Long Island, helping 60,000 New Yorkers to meet critical needs and build a strong foundation for their future.

In the fall of 2012, we opened eight Close to Home residences for court-involved youth in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx as part of a citywide juvenile justice reform effort. About the same time, we opened three new Early Childhood Centers in Corona, Queens and Brownsville, Brooklyn through the NYC EarlyLearn initiative.

We responded immediately after Hurricane Sandy to help hundreds of families affected by the storm, providing case management in Far Rockaway, Queens and in New York City hotels where displaced families were housed.

In January 2013, we were awarded a grant by the NYC Council to expand the Center for Family Life’s successful worker cooperative program.

In the months and years ahead we will continue to meet new challenges and respond to emerging needs as we help children, individuals and families build a strong foundation for the future.

Daniel’s Story

Finding his voice - literally - at SCO's residence for adults with developmental disabilities

New routines, new friends, and new adventures lay in store for Daniel. Learn More

Alayah’s Story

Next Stop, College! Alayah O’Sullivan - East Brooklyn Community High School Class of 2022

She wanted to be the first in her family to go to college and she was determined to make it happen. Learn More

We help

1,500

children get ready for kindergarten

Children in our NYC shelters had a

96%

attendance rate at NYC DOE schools

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