6 Important Organizations Helping Kids In New York

Children growing up in New York City are surrounded by immense wealth and opportunity, yet many struggle to achieve their potential due to poverty, neglect, or persistent health issues. A wide variety of organizations confront these problems, conducting research and providing crucial services to improve the lives of the area's vulnerable young people. The groups described here, presented in no particular order, offer assistance to the youth of America's most populous city.

#1 on our list is The Child Center of NY, which works to support the well-being and achievement of children and families in under-served communities throughout the city, taking a holistic approach that considers the diverse needs of each client. Services begin in early childhood with initiatives like the ParentChild + Program, which teaches effective bonding and learning support strategies. Older students can benefit from after-school and summer learning opportunities, internships, and vocational training programs.

The Single Stop initiative at The Child Center offers free counseling on public assistance benefits available for struggling families, and can provide on-site help with health insurance and SNAP enrollment. The organization also offers health support including pediatric primary care, prevention initiatives for those at risk of abuse or neglect, and a variety of counseling services for mental and behavioral wellness. Other programs focus on building community ties and social skills, through recreation and service learning opportunities.

Next up at #2 is The Children's Village, a group helping vulnerable young people develop the life skills and relationships necessary for success. Founded in 1851 as a residential care facility for orphans and impoverished youth, this organization works to help young people find stable homes. It provides a range of support services for those placed in foster care, including mental health crisis intervention and a program to locate missing family members, and its Project IMPACT counsels parents trying to regain custody of their children.

The Dobbs Ferry residential campus at Children's Village provides mental health services and education for boys with emotional and behavioral challenges, while a variety of temporary housing programs offer support services for teen mothers and their babies, homeless and undocumented youth, and those involved in the juvenile justice system. The organization pairs young people with committed mentors to help build life skills, and conducts educational outreach on sexual health and teen pregnancy.

At #3 we have Citizens' Committee for Children of New York, a nonpartisan advocacy organization working to make the city a better place for young people. CCC's biennial research report Keeping Track of New York City's Children, and its online companion tool, provide an in-depth look at the distribution of problems like family poverty, infant mortality, and housing insecurity throughout the area. The group uses its publications, community forums, and other outreach efforts to raise awareness about the issues affecting young people.

CCC has created or collaborated on initiatives confronting issues like family homelessness, lack of funding for early education, and inadequate behavioral health care. The Committee provides advocacy training for interested individuals through the Community Leadership Course and the YouthAction NYC after-school program, and its members dialogue with public officials and engage in demonstrations to call for policies that support at-risk youth.

Coming in at #4 is JCCA, formerly known as Jewish Child Care Association, dedicated to providing child welfare and mental health services to New York's most vulnerable residents. The organization's preventive programs help families in crisis, using therapy, education, and community partnerships to build emotional and financial resilience. Its Care Management division assists families affected by behavioral health issues or disabilities, providing resources like psychiatric support, assistive equipment, and training in self-advocacy.

JCCA provides closely-monitored foster homes for children experiencing family stability issues, and its Youth Development Team helps them learn confidence and important skills. The group also operates residential treatment facilities for emotionally troubled young people, including the Gateways Program helping girls recover from sexual exploitation. Education initiatives like the Early Literacy Project, or the Two Together Tutoring and Mentoring Program, work to prepare children for academic success.

Our #5 is Education Through Music, which partners with under-resourced schools to provide music as a core subject for all students and works to improve children's motivation, confidence, and achievement. The group operates throughout New York City, helping schools to configure and equip classrooms, recruit and train qualified instructors, and implement a sequential curriculum meeting state and national standards. Instructors also assist with development of band, orchestra, and choral ensembles.

ETM provides a supportive community to promote engagement and retention for educators, offering mentorship and learning opportunities for its music teachers, as well as professional development for staff members at partner schools. The organization conducts parent outreach to promote engagement and involvement with the educational process, and provides resources to aid interested individuals in advocating for music education.

Capping off the list is #6, New York City Children's Theater, a provider of programs designed to cultivate emotional intelligence, community building, and responsible decision-making in young people. The Literature at Play in-school residencies help students explore literary themes and build language skills by adapting books for the stage, while anti-bullying workshops like the award-winning Alice's Story assist children in empathizing with others, and let them practice self-confidence through role-playing.

N.Y.C.C.T. offers specialized adaptations of the Literature at Play program for families or for children with special needs, and its interactive touring show FIVE helps students with disabilities explore their senses in the context of New York City's boroughs. The Theater also hosts kid-friendly productions, like The Emperor’s New Clothes and Interstellar Cinderella, offering subsidized tickets for Title 1 schools. The organization's Creative Clubhouse offers virtual learning activities for those unable to participate in person.