On Thursday, December 7th, surrounded by staff, elected officials, foster parents, and a boisterous community of support, JCCA cut the ribbon on a stunning new office in downtown Brooklyn.
The beautiful, state-of-the-art facility features a range of adaptable spaces to accommodate the multiple services and programs housed inside, including JCCA’s Brooklyn Counseling Center, Prevention Services, LEAP, and Foster Home Services. The opening of the office represents the last piece of the puzzle being put into place. Our multi-year project to invest in exceptional facilities, which includes a fabulous Bronx office opened last year, is now complete.
After cutting the ribbon under an arch of balloons at the building’s entrance, guests headed upstairs for remarks, refreshments, and to take in the views of the borough. Kianna Bell, a former JCCA client who now works on our Youth ACT team, took to the lectern first to underscore the impact the organization aims to have on behalf of vulnerable young people. Describing her adolescent self as quick to react, prone to rash behaviors, and skipping school, Bell said “I didn’t see light at the end of the tunnel. JCCA was the starting point of finding myself.”
“We had big dreams for this facility,” remarked CEO Ron Richter, who followed Bell, “and––speaking for myself––those dreams have come true. This office represents an investment in our staff, who are the heart and soul of JCCA. It also sends a message to our clients: that you matter, that experiencing hardship or trauma doesn’t lessen your worth, and that you can exceptional care from JCCA.”
While Thursday marked a new beginning for our Brooklyn services, JCCA’s roots in the borough run deep. Our predecessor organizations founded the Brooklyn Hebrew Orphan Asylum in 1878 and ran the Daughters of Zion Nursery in Williamsburg. JCCA kids went to baseball games at the old Ebbets Field and we held galas at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Nodding to this legacy, Richter added, “We belong here, amid the horn honking and the rowdy sounds of kids getting out of school, and this office represents our commitment to making a long-term impact.”
“It’s thrilling to stand here, on the cusp of something new and better,” said Stephanie Spiegel, President of JCCA’s Board of Trustees. “This outstanding space is full of promise and potential. Of course, it’s exactly this feeling of taking a step forward into a better future that we hope to offer every child and family that comes through our doors.”
Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso took the microphone next. “Traditionally, people with the most need have to enter spaces that are undignified or in disrepair,” he noted. “What JCCA is doing here today is changing that. You’re saying ‘you are worth a dignified space, a beautiful space. And when you come in we’re going to treat you accordingly.’” Administration for Children’s Services Commissioner Jess Dannhauser emphasized the importance of striving for excellence and life-changing care, even in what have been difficult times for the sector. “Thank you for leading the way,” he remarked. “The rest of the system will notice.”
To learn more about the new office and the services offered within, check out this recent feature in Brooklyn Paper.