It’s National Nurses Week, so it’s only fitting that we shine a light on our phenomenal nursing team. At JCCA we like to say that Heroes Work Here, and no team embodies that truth more than our nurses, who go above and beyond in countless ways to offer hope and care to the young people we serve. 

In speaking to a half-dozen members of the team, one theme remained constant: while working in foster care has considerable challenges, the bond with the clients keeps them going. “The best part of the job is the kids, the hugs. The clinic is our happy place,” says Leilani Brito. 

Campus medical team

“You get to know these kids,” says fellow Bronx-based nurse Christina Moffitt, echoing the sentiment. “You watch them grow. They open up to us about their problems and we work through them together. You see the results and celebrate the progress.” 

“The reward in this work is to be able meet these kids and lend them an ear,” notes Brooklyn nurse Guidelle Ganthier. “The goal is to show them there’s someone here for them, someone willing to listen without judgement and support the changes they want to make to better their lives. It’s not just about physical health, it’s about the person as a whole.” 

Brooklyn nurses Denise Mitchell and Guidelle Ganthier

Another thing you can’t fail to notice when speaking with the team is the deep sense of comradery and affection. Denise Mitchell emphasized the collaboration and support that typifies the nursing staff. “Our work crosses disciplines,’ Brito adds. “We work with foster parents, biological parents, and social workers. The teamwork is impressive. I never feel like I’m doing this alone.”  

The talent, dedication, and resilience of the nursing team is not lost on JCCA leadership. “You have to be a special person to do this work,” remarks Christina Longden, JCCA’s Vice President of Clinical Operations. “Some of the young people in our care have heartbreaking stories. But our nurses are committed. They love pediatrics.” 

For some, the work is undeniably personal. “Many of our staff have been on journeys of their own,” Longden continues. “We’ve had team members who were in foster care as children. Their example is empowering for our kids to see. Our staff is compassionate and encouraging. Their capacity to connect with vulnerable young people is something you can’t teach. It comes from within.” 

Halloween at the Pleasantville Cottage School Health Center

“Our nurses are like no other group I’ve ever worked with,” notes Campus Nursing Coordinator Kimberly Matusiak. “This is not an easy job, but they remain patient, positive, and creative. They talk our kids into showing up for appointments, sticking to their treatment plans. Above all they are reliable and consistent. That means a lot to these kids, given the instability they’ve faced.” 

Thank you to the nurses at JCCA and elsewhere who tirelessly uplift and empower the people in their care. Your impact resonates beyond measure.