Shana’s Story

I have been challenged with addiction for 10 years, and have been in and out of outpatient treatment and detox several times – but I would always relapse.

When I arrived at Morning Star, I was at the lowest point in my life. Things were spiraling out of control. My four children had been taken from me and placed in foster care with a family member. And then I learned that I was 5 months pregnant.

I arrived with the worst attitude in the world. I was just so angry all the time. But at Morning Star, I started to reflect and gain clarity. I realized that I was hurt and angry with myself. And that’s when the healing began. Everything had been a fight up to that point. But I had nowhere to run – I had to face my problems.

Morning Star helped save my life. They never gave up on me.

Every interaction with my counselor and every staff member helped prepare me to re-enter the world clean and ready to thrive.

I attended treatment 5 days a week, attended a medical assistant program, and became certified in a workforce development program for nontraditional roles for women. And I learned that I am worth it! From now on, I show up, set up, and remain teachable.

When my baby, Liliana, was born, I can’t express how much the onsite child care at Morning Star II helped in my recovery. It made it possible for me to go to treatment, attend school, and focus on me. The structure kept me accountable for being a parent and prepared e for the real world.

I knew I was finally on a path to a better life when I left Morning Star. The court saw the improvements in me, too, and my children came back home to me. I never thought that would happen. Today, thanks to Morning Star, I have a home and my family lives under one roof.

I still visit the program to let them know of my progress. My goal is to be fully self-supported. I know there will be obstacles ahead of me. But I am prepared to take it one day at a time.

Fadwa’s Story

To say Fadwa is driven is an understatement. She doesn’t dream of becoming a surgical nurse, she is actively taking steps to make it happen. And to make her mother proud.

Fadwa lost her mother to cancer when she was just 13 years old. Her father expected Fadwa to assume her mother’s responsibilities and moved the family often, keeping them distanced from any extended family. She was not allowed to have friends or participate in extracurricular activities. She attended five different high schools and managed to maintain excellent grades while she cooked, cleaned, and took care of her two brothers and father.

At 17, she was abandoned by her father and placed in SCO’s foster care program. SCO helped stabilize the teen, placed her with a foster family, and eventually was able to locate a maternal aunt who opened her heart and home to her long-lost niece through kinship foster care.

Despite her early challenges, Fadwa stays focused on the opportunities ahead of her. SCO’s foster care staff helped her prepare for college; guiding her through the application process and helping her achieve both a Dream USA Scholarship and a Youth in Foster Care Award.  Currently a student at Borough of Manhattan Community College, SCO helped her secure an internship with a surgeon at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Fadwa’s goal is to keep her GPA high enough to get into nursing school. And we have no doubt she will achieve this and so much more.




Early Childhood Organizations – New York State & City

New York City Division of Early Childhood Education (NYC DECE)

New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute  (CUNY PDI)

New York State Association for the Education of Young Children (NYSAEYC) 
Mission is to promote excellence in early care and education services for NYS children and families, through education, advocacy and the support of the profession.

New York Zero-to-Three (NYZTT)
New York regional network promoting the optimal development of young children, their families and their communities.


New York State Early Childhood Advisory Council
Provides strategic direction and advice to the State of New York on early childhood issues.

Winning Beginning NY
An early care and learning coalition.


Early Childhood Organizations – National

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
The nation’s leading voice for high-quality early childhood education for children from birth to age 8.

Zero to Three
The national center for infants, toddler and their families.

Teach for America
Teach For America is growing the movement of leaders who work to ensure that kids growing up in poverty get an excellent education.

Jumpstart is the only national supplemental program that leverages the power of community and adult-child relationships to build the key language and literacy skills children need to take on the world.

Child Care Exchange
Supporting early childhood education professionals worldwide in their efforts to craft thriving environments for children and adults.

The Future of Children
Providing research and analysis to promote effective policies and programs for children.

Center on the Developing Child
Mission is to drive science-based innovation that achieves breakthrough outcomes for children facing adversity.

Foundation for Child Development

New America EdCentral

McCormick Center on Early Childhood Leadership

Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute

Alliance for Early Success

Child Trends

Earlychildhood NEWS
Online resource for Teachers and Parents of children, from infants to age 8 years.

Academic Institutions

New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute (CUNY PDI)

Bank Street College of Education

Teachers College at Columbia University

New York University Steinhardt School

Hunter College School of Education

Brooklyn College

The City College of New York, CUNY

Leadership Literature

Young Children – January 2005: Leadership in Early Childhood Education

The Impact of Leadership Development on Early Childhood Education

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) – Early Childhood Leaders on Leadership

A Study of Leaders’ Perspectives on Improving the Early Childhood

Early Childhood Literature

Science of Early Childhood Development
An online resource for teachers of young children focused entirely on the science of child development. This reource presents 5 modules, each focused on specific areas of child development, including developmental health, brain development, genetics and experience, coping and competence and communication and learning.

Job Opportunities

Please visit following resources to view available job opportunities in early childhood education:

New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute

Other Resources

Powerful Interactions

The New York State Core Body of Knowledge

New York State Early Learning Guidelines

New York State Foundations for the Common Core

Shana’s Story

Morning Star residential recovery

Morning Star helped save my life. They never gave up on me. Learn More

Fadwa’s Story

Foster Care and Education

“I’m going to be successful regardless of what I’ve been through." Learn More

We help


children get ready for kindergarten

Last year, we placed


youth in employment, subsidized employment or internships