We’re here for you.
Rising Ground continues to operate during this uncertain time.
With 55 life-affirming programs operating out of more than 50 locations across the New York City area, Rising Ground supports children, adults, and families that face adversity in their lives. The Covid-19 pandemic and efforts to curb its impact add additional stress to all our lives. We are supporting our communities as we manage through this health crisis together. Rising Ground is continuing to provide supports as best we can – offering a safety net to thousands in these trying times. While practicing appropriate safety precautions, we are operating most of our various programs and services in modified form.
To those we support and those seeking services
As noted above, most Rising Ground programs and services are continuing to operate with measures in place to ensure the safety and well-being of our staff and those we support. We are closely following guidelines set out by the CDC, the Health Department, and the various government entities that regulate our work. If you need assistance, you can reach us by visiting RisingGround.org/Contact-Us to contact a specific program. Our Central Access and Referral Department at AccessAndReferral@RisingGround.org or 914-343-6983 can also guide you to our services or the services provided by other organizations.
With the exception of group programming, our anti-intimate partner violence services, STEPS to End Family Violence, are available if you need help. You can reach us at 877-STEPS-94 or STEPSHelpline@RisingGround.org. The STEPS Helpline is answered from 9am – 5pm. If a survivor is in need of immediate assistance, please contact New York City’s 24 hour domestic violence hotline at 1-800-621-HOPE or NYC Well at 1-888-NYC-WELL. For those facing intimate partner violence, see more below.
Community programs for adults and children with Intellectual / Developmental Disabilities – including day habilitation, children’s recreation programs, and vocational and employment programming – have begun to operate once again, following safety guidelines in accordance with the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities. To learn more, see our Day Habilitation Safety Plan and Pre-Vocational Programs Safety Plan.
Our Health Home Children’s Care Management program remains operational, and all coordination should continue with your care manager.
Aftercare and community-based services for our Justice for Youth and Families programs, including My Next Move Credible Messengers mentoring, are operational. Group-based mentoring activities are suspended and are being replaced with one-to-one visits.
After being closed for the end of the 2019-2020 school year, our Biondi Elementary, Middle and High Schools, as well as the Ames Early Childhood Learning Center, Brownell Preschool, Children’s Learning Center, and Seabury Early Learn Day Care, are making appropriate preparations to reopen for the 2020-2021 school year. All plans to reopen are being made in accordance with the NYS Department of Education, to whom plans for re-opening have been submitted. You can see the plans for the Biondi Education Center (K-12) here and for our preschools (Ames Early Learning Center in Yonkers, Brownell School in the Bronx, and Children’s Learning Center in Manhattan) here. Please direct any questions to your child’s school Principal.
Programs based in NYC public schools are suspended while NYC public schools remain closed. However, staff remain reachable to provide support during this time. For our Community Schools, you can contact Anne Rueth at ARueth@RisingGround.org for IS 217 and Leah Lescouflair at LLescouflair@risingground.org for JHS 123. Our Relationship Abuse Prevention Program (RAPP) and EarlyRAPP have suspended all school-based programming. For young people already connected to a RAPP Coordinator, you can contact the STEPS Helpline at 877-STEPS-94 or STEPSHelpline@RisingGround.org to be re-connected.
All residential programs – our Residential Treatment Center, Transitional Independent Living residences for runaway and homeless youth, residential services for adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities, Mother & Child program, Limited and non-secure placement programs for court-involved youth, and Passage of Hope unaccompanied migrant child program – will continue to support youth and adults uninterrupted. We have implemented additional measures in all programs to ensure the safety and well-being of our residents. Family members should contact programs directly with any questions or concerns.
To those facing intimate partner violence during this uncertain time
During this unsettling time, we are all being encouraged to stay inside as much as we can to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Being inside and away from others helps to protect ourselves, the more vulnerable members of our community and our hospitals, yet home is not always the safest place for everyone. Many of us live with someone who is or has caused us a harm – often a partner, a parent, or a roommate. For those of us who live with someone like that, staying inside with that person can make us feel scared, angry, and sad – often all at the same time.
When you are living with someone who is causing you harm, these are some things to think about:
If you live with someone who is causing you harm, trust your instincts. Are you getting a sense from them that they are become more and more upset? Always remember, no tip or strategy will work for everyone! You know the person who is causing you harm the best. Use what you know about them – and yourself – to keep yourself as safe as possible. And remember that just because you are practicing social distancing, you are not alone.
If putting some distance between the two of you would help, consider going to the bathroom or bringing down the trash. While we are all encouraged to stay home as much as we can, we are still allowed to go outside. If getting outside to take a walk or get some distance between you and the people you live with will help – you can go outside. When you do, remember to stay 6 feet away from everyone that you pass and wear something around your mouth and nose – a bandana or scarf will do.
If you have a way to contact other people, you may want to reach out. Consider texting, messaging, calling, or video chatting with people that you can trust. If the person who is causing you harm goes through your phone or computer, be extra aware of what you say or write to other people and think about how the person who is harming you could use your words against you.
Try to eat, sleep, move and drink water every day. Taking deep breaths, taking a shower, praying, meditating, reading, singing and dancing can help all of us when we are trying to keep ourselves safe and stable.
Please know that so many New York City services are still open and available. You can always call New York City’s 24-hour domestic violence hotline at 1-800-621-HOPE (4673), as well as access the City’s online portal of services for people who are being harmed by their partner, NYC HOPE.
If your needs are not immediate, STEPS to End Family Violence remains available if you need help, though staff are working remotely and our STEPS Helpline is only answered from 9am – 5pm. You can reach us at 877-STEPS-94 or STEPSHelpline@RisingGround.org
To staff continuing to support New Yorkers in need
We’re working with all our might to support the vulnerable New Yorkers in our care, while keeping everyone as healthy as possible. The times are challenging, yet our dedicated direct service professionals continue to provide around-the-clock supports to New York’s most vulnerable children and adults.
Here’s what we’re doing to keep everyone as safe as possible and some guidelines to follow:
Social distancing protocols have been enacted, limiting all gatherings in accordance with New York State directives. To the extent possible, staff are working remotely during this time and continuing to support children, adults, and families through telecommunications. Programs that require regular interaction with persons supported have been altered to maximize social distancing while ensuring that the needs of those supported are met, through the usage of telecommunications whenever possible. In a residential setting or when in-person interaction with people supported is necessary, maintain safe distance and limit interactions to one-on-one.
Staff and supported individuals are encouraged to wash their hands thoroughly and frequently. Soap and hand sanitizer are available at all Rising Ground locations. Guidelines indicate that hand washing is the most effective tactic to combat the spread of Coronavirus.
The health and well-being of all staff and residents is being closely monitored and reported to the New York City Department of Health and all regulatory bodies. Case-by-case provisions are being made as positive tests for and known exposure to Coronavirus are brought to our attention. Staff are being given guidance on how to continue providing support given the situation in their individual programs.
As shortages of many PPE are touching many organizations, health care providers, and the population at large, Rising Ground is closely monitoring the distribution of items to ensure we have supplies for those who need it most. We have a stock of masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles. While gloves are more readily available, these supplies are available in cases when a resident or staff member has tested positive or is known to have come in contact with Coronavirus.
All of our facilities are being rigorously and regularly cleaned following government recommendations. In any instance in which Coronavirus is confirmed within a facility, that facility is further subjected to a full electrostatic cleaning. In any instance when a person or staff member supported has tested positive and must quarantine within a residential facility, a full electrostatic cleaning is administered upon confirmation and at the end of the required 14-day quarantine period.
To ensure the safety of staff and people supported, our residential programs are allowing no visits at this time. Travel for people supported is being extremely limited to essential needs.
If you have any questions about appropriate care, facility maintenance, safety, and health issues, program leaders are available to answer questions or direct you to appropriate resources.
If you think you or a person you support may be demonstrating symptoms of Coronavirus, Tonya Brown, Director of Health Services, can provide confidential guidance and referrals at TBrown3@RisingGround.org or 914-265-0689.
Recognizing the emotional and psychological impact of this uncertain time and the impacts of Coronavirus, 11 Rising Ground clinicians have created an Emotional Well-Being Task Force to provide support to any staff members during this challenging time. If you want to talk with someone, reach out to Carlos Ventura, Administrative Assistant for Health Homes Care Management, at CVentura@RisingGround.org or 914-240-3489, and he will put you in touch with a friendly ear.
Recognizing the dedication of those who continue to realize our mission during this challenging time, Rising Ground leadership has created an Appreciation Fund for all direct service professionals and other staff who must come to a Rising Ground site to do their work. For each shift you work each week, we are entering your name into a hat and giving away a $100 gift card as a token of thanks to those whose names are randomly selected.
Additionally, we continue to call on our state and city government partners to approve emergency response pay increases for Rising Ground’s direct service professionals, who show up every day to care for New York’s most vulnerable community members during these unprecedented times.
To our donors and community partners
All volunteer activities have been suspended until further notice. As always, Rising Ground relies on the generosity of donors and friends to make our work helping children, adults, and families overcome adversity possible. This is particularly true during this time when needs are most significant and funding is uncertain. If you would like to donate to Rising Ground, please visit RisingGround.org/Donate.