Community Health Awards tackle domestic violence and childhood trauma

April 20, 2017 07:50 PM

Excellus Blue Cross and Blue Shield awarded nine Community Health Awards that will go to local agencies which target problems like domestic violence and childhood trauma.

The awards total $27,500. The Boys & Girls Club of Rochester will get $4,000 to pay for an "ACE study." ACE stands for Adverse Childhood Experiences and already U of R medical students have been interviewing club members to find out what are the most critical problems facing young people, causing them trauma.

For Sylvester Carter III, losing his mother to gun violence has impacted his whole family. He became emotional while speaking at Thursday's news conference to announce the grant. "I lost my mom at 13 years old, a month before my birthday. And a month right after hers. She should still be here."

It's been rough, it's been very hard for me and my siblings to live without a mother you know. Rochelle DeCruz-Hill was shot to death on Frost Avenue last May. Her boyfriend, Kareen Singletary, was recently convicted of opening fire on her at their front door.

The leaders of the Boys and Girls Club know that Sylvester is still hurting and so are a lot of other kids who come to the club everyday to play games or just talk. In this neighborhood, discussion often involves violence. Many remember the mass shooting outside the club two summers ago.

Dwayne Mahoney, executive director says, "Our kids are also facing things like divorce, high single parent households and parents just trying to make it. There are a lot of stress levels."

"We also have kids where we come to a point and say, 'this kids might need to see a mental health counselor or a social worker and, currently, we don't have that.' Right now, there are no paid counseling professionals at the B&G Club."

The other agencies receiving an Excellus grant:

• Borinquen Dance Theatre, Inc.: $3,500 to use dance as a way to help disadvantaged students from Monroe and surrounding counties attain academic success and learn self-discipline, teamwork and leadership skills. 

Advertisement – Content Continues Below

• Child Care Council, Inc.: $4,000 to help fund its Asthma Friendly Child Care Endorsement initiative, which trains child care programs in Monroe, Wayne and Livingston counties on ways to safely provide care to children with asthma.

• Foodlink: $4,000 to help create a safe and inviting play space next to its Lexington Avenue Urban Farm in the Edgerton neighborhood of northwest Rochester. The play space will serve the children of the community, many of whom are refugees who tend to the community garden.

• Mental Health Association: $2,500 for a pilot program in Monroe County that will help those with a mental illness who have been unemployed for more than a year build the skills needed to stay employed for the long-term.

• RESOLVE of Greater Rochester: $2,500 to plan, coordinate and deliver a one-day intensive training about intimate partner violence to health professionals during domestic violence awareness month in October.

• Samaritan Center of Excellence: $1,000 to provide alcohol and substance abuse recovery and life skills classes to 30 African American, low-income women from Monroe County.  

• Spiritus Christi Prison Outreach: $4,000 for wellness education for those in Monroe and Orleans counties who were incarcerated and have since transitioned to independent housing. The program will help them decrease stress and their cravings for drugs and alcohol while boosting their confidence and self-worth.

• Willow Domestic Violence Center: $2,000 for bus and cab fare to help its emergency shelter residents access health care services. Many of its residents suffer from serious injuries, such as burns and broken bones, or untreated chronic illnesses.


Rebecca Leclair

Copyright 2017 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


We no longer have Facebook comments on this site. Please visit our Facebook Page to join the conversation.