2002-02-16 / Community

Transitional Services Honors Business Reps

By Gary G. Toms

By Gary G. Toms

On February 7, 2002, Transitional Services for New York, Inc. held a community ceremony at the Far Rockaway branch of North Fork Bank to recognize community business leaders and business owners.

There are several vocational programs at TSI’s Far Rockaway facility – re-training mentally ill recipients to become productive members of the workforce. It is very important for TSI to partner with the local business community, supporting and educating them about the pool of qualified workers Transitional Services has to offer. "Make sure you tell them that more of us are ready to go to work" was the comment heard from clients in the days leading up to the event.

In his opening remarks, Senator Malcolm Smith stated "Mental Illness can strike anyone at anytime." William McDermott, TSI Director of Public Affairs, spoke about The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), who recently started using the slogan: "We’re Number One and We Don’t Like It!"

Mental illness affects more people than heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. It afflicts 25% of our population - one in a family of four suffers.

Altamease Middleton-Clay, Program Director of TSI’s Far Rockaway facility, spoke about the many client success stories in which businesses and TSI worked in partnership, vocationally training clients who are ready to re-enter the workforce and maintain competitive employment in the community.

Ms. Clay stated: "One person has been working as a teacher’s assistant in a day care center for three years, another as a waiter in a full-service restaurant for one year, others are working as a porter or maintenance helper at a fast food restaurant for nine months, a stock clerk in a retail store for nine months, a clerical aide at a nursing home for three years, a home health aide for two years, and a community outreach worker for six months."

Transitional Services for New York, Inc. is a twenty-six year old mental health agency with a staff of over 200 serving the needs of more than 2500 clients a year in multiple facilities – both outpatient and residential.

TSI is well known and respected for developing new programs. In 2001, four new outpatient programs were introduced, enabling the agency to serve 350 additional individuals. Recently, they were honored to have been chosen as a provider for Project Liberty, which is a consortium of Federal, State, County and City organizations partnering to provide mental health counseling services to anyone in need as a result of the tragedy of September 11, the Rockaway plane crash, and the Anthrax scare.

In the past few months, mental health needs have been most prominent in the news and people from all walks of life are finding themselves in need. Sadly, it took an act of terror to bring it to the forefront.

Among those attending were: State Senator Malcolm Smith; representatives of Borough President Marshall, Congressman Meeks, and Councilman Sanders; Curtis Archer, Executive Director of Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation; Imogene Lewis, Manager of the Far Rockaway branch of North Fork Bank; Stacey Cooper and James Sciolto, Senior Vice Presidents of North Fork Bank; Dr Eve Hazel, Executive Director of TSI; Larry Grubler and Mark Bernstein, Deputy Directors of TSI; William McDermott, Director of Development and Public Affairs; Altamease Middleton-Clay, Program Director of TSI’s Far Rockaway program; and April Dubison, TSI Advisory Board Member and Keyspan’s Community Affairs representative.

Those who were honored included: Ruth Parks, Manager, Parks Men’s Clothing; Henry Cho, Jr. Manager, Mott Ave Liquor and Wines; Ericka Vazquez, Manager, Valencia; Peter Eng, Manager, Thriftway Drugs; Malik Dembo, Owner, Strictly Business Beauty Salon; Ralph Navarro, Owner, Ralph’s Coffee Shop; Bruce Garry, Manager, Garry’s Discount Clothing; Juok Yoon, Manager, Mott Toy Center; Lilly Park, Manager, Lilly’s Beauty Supply; Mark Henein, co-owner, Fashions for Less; Kim Park, Manager, Gold Fashion; Andrew Langer, Broker-Owner, Langer Century 21; Marie Joseph, Owner, Good Samaritan Home Care Agency; Colin Mason, Manager, McDonald’s; Curtis Archer, Executive Director, RDRC; Imogene Lewis, Manager, Northfork Bank; David Fleishman, Manager, Town Bagel; Arthur Farley, Manager, Grand Slam Pizza; Vicky Tsimbidis, Owner, Corner Coffee Shop and Peter Patel, Manager, Mott Pharmacy.

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