2003-01-18 / Community

Grand Opening For Early Steps Family Center

By Gary G. Toms

Grand Opening For Early Steps Family Center

By Gary G. Toms
The grand opening was well attended by many from the Rockaway community.The grand opening was well attended by many from the Rockaway community.

On January 9, community residents and leaders attended the grand opening of the Early Steps Family Center, located at 86-01 Rockaway Beach Boulevard. The facility is part of the Early Head Start (EHS) program, a Visiting Nurse Service (VNS) of New York program that offers pregnant teens and teen families a wide variety of services. EHS center was developed in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Administration for Children and Families to assist the Rockaway community.

"EHS is a parent/child development program that provides individualized services in education, early childhood development, mental health, nutrition and parent involvement," said Priscilla Lincoln, Director of VNS Children's and Family Services.

"We believe that children develop in the context of their family and culture, and parents are to be respected as the primary educators and nurturers of their children. Our staff works closely with parents to assist them in developing and utilizing individual and family strengths in order to successfully meet personal and family objectives."

To be eligible for the program you need to be a low-income family with an infant or toddler younger than three years old, or a pregnant woman up to 25 years of age. The EHS program is free for low-income families.


Patricia Harris, Deputy Mayor for Administration (New York City), spoke of the urgent need for the Early Steps Family Center in Rockaway. She also presented the facility with a proclamation from the Mayor's office.Patricia Harris, Deputy Mayor for Administration (New York City), spoke of the urgent need for the Early Steps Family Center in Rockaway. She also presented the facility with a proclamation from the Mayor's office.

Carol Raphael, President and CEO of Visiting Nurse Service, stated the center's goals during the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

"Our Early Head Start program is committed to cultivating partnerships within the Rockaway community through established, meaningful links to community organizations and programs. We recognize that there is a need for the programs we are offering in this community, and we look forward to providing these services."

The newly designed, state-of-the-art center offers a wide range of flexible programs. Some of them include:

  • Full Day Program


    Priscilla Lincoln thanks one of her staffers for helping make one of the center programs a success.Priscilla Lincoln thanks one of her staffers for helping make one of the center programs a success.

  • 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

  • (USDA food program - two meals, two snacks.)

  • Half-Day Programs

  • 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.


    Carol Raphael, President and CEO for VNS, explained the center's goals.Carol Raphael, President and CEO for VNS, explained the center's goals.

  • Parent/Child Classes

  • An on-site GED program

  • Childbirth classes

  • Case management


    Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer praised the VNS for their role in assisting low-income families of Rockaway.Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer praised the VNS for their role in assisting low-income families of Rockaway.

  • Consultation and referral

  • Vocational training

  • Literacy programs and referrals for housing, home health care, vocational training and community agencies such as WIC, Medicare and public assistance.

To learn more about EHS, the Early Steps Family Center, or the many other programs that are available, call (718) 318-8040.


"The center will be a tremendous benefit to the Rockaway community," said City Councilman Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr."The center will be a tremendous benefit to the Rockaway community," said City Councilman Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.
The center has a number of large rooms that are beautifully decorated with stuffed animals, pillows and play areas.The center has a number of large rooms that are beautifully decorated with stuffed animals, pillows and play areas.
"The Wall" features a number of parents pictured with their children, along with a personal note from the parent about love and life."The Wall" features a number of parents pictured with their children, along with a personal note from the parent about love and life.

A young father enjoys quality time with his "pride and joy" after the ceremony.A young father enjoys quality time with his "pride and joy" after the ceremony.

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