Monday, June 5, 2017

Report Finds Barriers to Justice for Individuals in New York City Courts

Report Finds Barriers to Justice for Individuals in New York City Courts
By Nahid Sorooshyari, Senior Staff Attorney, MFY Legal Services, Inc.
We Examine the ADA Liaison Program
People with disabilities should have equal access to justice. Disability rights laws, like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), require courts to make their programs and services accessible to people with disabilities. The New York Unified Court System (UCS) has a program for helping people with disabilities, called the ADA Liaison program. However, a recent report by MFY Legal Services found that the program needs to be improved.
The ADA requires courts to be accessible to people with physical disabilities. Courts must also make reasonable accommodations to their rules, policies, and procedures so that people with all types of disabilities—including psychiatric and invisible disabilities—can participate in the court’s services, programs, and activities to the same extent as people without disabilities. UCS has assigned at least one “ADA Liaison” to each courthouse. ADA Liaisons are court employees who should know about the ADA and how to work with people with disabilities. People with disabilities can contact their local ADA Liaison to request a reasonable accommodation or get information about their rights and are encouraged to do so before they come to court. The program could be a great help, but it has serious flaws.
Many people who need the program do not even know it exists. UCS is supposed to advertise information about the ADA and the ADA Liaison program. It uses an “Accessibility Information Webpage” to do so, but this webpage is not always highlighted on individual court websites or on other parts of the UCS website. UCS is also supposed to advertise the program in courthouses. UCS has posters to do so, but the posters are poorly designed. For example, they include four symbols—a person in a wheelchair, two hands symbolizing sign-language interpreting, an ear with a bar over it indicating services for the deaf, and a person with a cane. These symbols do not make it clear that people with psychiatric disabilities may also get accommodations.
Someone who finds out about the program faces another problem—reaching an ADA Liaison. UCS’s webpage provides a directory of ADA Liaisons. People are told to use the directory to contact their local ADA Liaison at the listed phone number. In May 2016, MFY tried to confirm the contact information of all forty-nine civil court ADA Liaisons listed for the five boroughs. MFY had a problem contacting the listed ADA Liaison more than 65% of the time. For example, 24% of the names and numbers listed were either for retired or former staff, or someone who stated they were not the ADA Liaison and 18% of the phone numbers simply did not work. Either the number was not in service or the call was sent to voicemail, but the caller could not leave a message. When we could leave a message, 24% of the voicemails were not returned within eight business days.
During the phone survey, MFY spoke to court staff who did not know about the program, or said that there was no ADA Liaison at that court. One person stated that she was given the position, but was never trained. In 2012, MFY requested all training materials provided to ADA Liaisons and documents stating which ADA Liaisons receive training and how often. The Office of Court Administration provided only a two-page pamphlet titled “Communicating with People with Disabilities,” and stated that there were no records about which ADA Liaisons received training or how often.
Probably due to poor training, ADA Liaisons often get the law wrong. For example, an MFY client requested to appear in court by telephone because a medical condition made her incontinent. The ADA Liaison incorrectly said that this was impossible because the client “lived in New York City.”  Also, ADA Liaisons too often suggest guardians ad litem (“GALs”)—people appointed to advocate for those who are unable to advocate for themselves. Though some people with disabilities may need a GAL, most can advocate for themselves with a reasonable accommodation. For example, someone with agoraphobia should be allowed to appear by telephone, not be assigned a GAL.

MFY’s report recommends ways to improve the ADA Liaison program. Since the report’s publication, MFY has met with court officials and community groups to try to implement these solutions and make justice for all a reality. If you would like to read MFY’s report, please visit our website at 

Let My People Go! A Call to Action

Let My People Go! A Call to Action
By Suzanne Gruer, Former Resident of an Adult Home
The Warehousing of Our Peers Must End
Almost five years ago, I was fortunate to leave the Garden of Eden adult home in which I resided for close to that long. My move from that adult home to the supported housing apartment in which I now reside was a one-time occurrence. Thousands of adult home residents today are less fortunate. They desperately want out. Yet few residents are escaping.
Current adult home residents are desperate to move for the same reasons I was: unsafe and unsanitary living conditions, theft, rancid food, compulsory program attendance, forced and unnecessary medical procedures, punitive hospitalizations, and suffering of all of the above in coerced silence. The owner of Garden of Eden was known for ordering residents to perform tasks for his benefit. Indeed, he once called me to his office to demand that I throw out the remains of his gourmet meal after he dined. Fearing he would hospitalize me if I refused, I complied.
Shortly thereafter, a social worker from the mental health day treatment program I was coerced to attend, in cahoots with a psychiatrist friend, completed an HRA 2010E application for supported housing on my behalf. In less than two months I moved into my airy, sunlit apartment. One month later the social worker lost her job.
Most residents were not as fortunate as I. They had no way out. Adult home owners conspire with day treatment and mental health providers to portray their residents as victims incapable of caring for themselves in a supported apartment milieu. I entered Garden of Eden ready to work so I could move out and rent my own place. Instead of working, I was forced to attend a day treatment program. I sat in that program for close to five years of my life. I now view those years as five wasted years, time I can never get back. Shortly after I moved I obtained employment, proving that I could have worked long before I moved into my apartment.
Frustration has been mounting over the inhumane warehousing of people with mental illness and other disabling conditions for many years. This frustration led to the 1999 Supreme Court decision, Olmstead v. L.C., in which the Court ruled that under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), individuals with disabilities are entitled to live in communities of their choosing, rather than in institutions, so they can become integrated, fully participating members of their communities.
In 2003, Disability Rights New York (then Disability Advocates Inc. or DAI), the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, the Urban Justice Center’s Mental Health Project, MFY Legal Services, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, and pro bono counsel Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP filed a class-action lawsuit challenging the adult home industry’s illegal warehousing of approximately 4,000 individuals with serious mental illness in New York City. In 2009, they prevailed in a five-week federal court trial. In 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit vacated that ruling on the grounds that the class representative, DAI, did not have standing to represent the class. In other words, the Court stated the class needed to be represented by actual residents living in adult homes.
The case was refiled as O'Toole vs. Cuomo. In 2013, a settlement was reached that required New York State to provide a multi-step, five-year process to transfer potentially over 4,000 adults with mental illness to supported apartments from adult homes.
The first step in this process is “in-reach,” during which housing contractors send representatives into adult homes to ask residents if they want to be assessed. Only about half of the 4,000 class members have expressed a desire to be assessed, largely because of poor “in-reach” and adult home practices that inhibit free discussion, such as lack of privacy to speak with in-reach workers.
Assessment is the second step. Although there are delays at each step, and the State of New York is performing poorly throughout the process, the most significant and alarming delay is at assessment. Because the State has neglected to enforce its contract with Transitional Services for New York, Inc. (TSI), a backlog of over 800 people waiting for assessment has persisted for more than a year. Of the 2,200 adult home residents who have expressed interest in moving to supported housing, approximately 500 residents have actually moved to community apartments over the past three years. A large part of the delay seems to be due to the insufficient staffing of the evaluation team. TSI employs only four people to conduct evaluations of adult home residents who wish to move into apartments in the community.
Both the assessment of a resident and a resident’s Human Resources Administration (HRA) approval (the third step) expire after twelve months. For some residents, there are issues that are never resolved such as assessment discrepancies resulting in either the assessment or the HRA approval timing out. This forces the resident to re-initiate the transition process after they have been expecting to move for at least a year.
The last steps in the transition process are housing contractor referrals and interviews, apartment viewing, apartment selection, moving to an apartment, and coordinating the appropriate services to help each resident to succeed in the community. These steps are conducted poorly as well, with residents often lacking services when they move.
The multistep process is bad. Yet bad has become worse. Over the past two years, more than 1,000 people with serious mental illness have been newly admitted into the impacted adult homes, contrary to the State’s unenforced regulations prohibiting such admissions.
In February 2017, a complex legal situation arose when the State colluded with the adult home industry to challenge the regulations for, and ultimately undo, the settlement.
On March 22nd, the Coalition of Institutionalized Aged and Disabled (CIAD) spoke out in Albany against all this. This group of residents and allies works to advocate for the 5,000 residents trapped in adult homes. Simultaneously, plaintiffs’ counsel took legal action seeking to uphold the settlement.
Recently, in the comfort of my supported apartment, on my own couch, I watched a newsflash about NYC schoolchildren being fed rancid school lunches and the ensuing outrage. For years as an adult home resident I had no couch on which to sit and had to eat the rancid food served. Last night I cooked myself fresh chicken soup because I felt like it, all the while wondering: Where is the outrage concerning how adult home residents are made to suffer; about how I was made to suffer? Adult home residents, for the most part, are not viewed as the people we are; rather, adult home owners see us as objects that are mere conduits for profit. Most others don’t see us at all.

Note: To find the best way to get involved, please contact Geoff Lieberman of CIAD, at (212) 481-7572, or

A Day of Advocacy and Demonstrations

A Day of Advocacy and Demonstrations
By Carla Rabinowitz, Advocacy Coordinator, Community Access, & Board Member, NYAPRS
NYAPRS Legislative Day 2017

February 28, 2017 was probably my favorite NYAPRS Legislative Day ever. New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services is a 35-year-old organization that brings together mental health recipients and recipient-friendly service providers.
Mental health advocacy has come a long way. We are finally getting the respect we deserve.
The folks in attendance heard from Senator Robert Ortt, Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, a representative from Governor Cuomo’s office, and a representative from the Office of Mental Health. We also gave out awards, including an award to Senator Jeffrion Aubry for his work on criminal justice issues.
New York City folks accounted for about 360 of the 700 people in Albany that day.
NYAPRS statewide folks filled a large auditorium called The Egg, which is shaped like an egg.
We not only heard from leaders in New York State government, we heard from NYAPRS’ Executive Director Harvey Rosenthal. Harvey went over the issues he hoped the attendees would talk about that day, including:
Funding to shore-up existing housing; Funding for new supportive housing and affordable housing; Raising the age for adult criminal responsibility to 18 years of age; Ending solitary confinement, the SHU, once and for all; More funding for comprehensive 36-hour police training around mental health called CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) training; and Opposition to Forced Treatment.
I was so excited this year because I got an old-style physical banner created, which read “Supportive housing saves lives, sign the MOU.” The MOU, memorandum of understanding, is a simple contract that the leaders of the NYS Senate, Assembly, and Government must all sign together. If they sign the MOU, $1.9 billion in housing funding gets released, creating 6,000 apartments. If they don’t sign the MOU, the money cannot be released for housing providers and new apartments will be much more difficult to build.
I held up the banner with a friend’s help when the elected officials were speaking in the auditorium and shouted, “Sign the MOU!”
I had some NYAPRS helpers hold up the banner when I spoke about housing on stage, and I carried the banner all around the NYS Capitol. I got some thumbs up signs from elected officials’ staffers, and a few snarls from NYS Security officers.
After listening to Harvey talk about the issues and hearing from some officials, some people went to a rally on the Capitol steps outside. Those attendees carried signs they made at home that read with slogans like “Ban the Box,” and, “There is no health care without housing,” etc.
Other attendees went into the Capitol and Legislative Office Building to visit with key elected officials.
I lead a team to visit some elected officials. My group spoke elegantly about all issues, but focused on housing and opposition to forced treatment. My group of attendees blew me away with how well they spoke. They were some of the most impressive advocates I’ve ever had the pleasure to help coordinate.
Now I am getting ready for the NYC Mental Health Film Festival. We are meeting as a group and screening films to see if the films are worth showing at our film fest.
If you want to join us, contact me, Carla Rabinowitz, or 212-780-1400 x7726.

Ward Stories

Ward Stories
Organized by Dan Frey, Editor in Chief
Four poets are featured in this Summer 2017 edition of Ward Stories: Ayesha, J. Alfreda, Craig Bayer, and Cecil Williams. Themes of love and renewal abound in these selections that I felt were fitting for the spring and summer seasons. Enjoy!

The Truth a Poem
By Ayesha
I used to feel broken inside.
I believed I’d never heal or get better.
I believed I’d be broken forever.
You see I’m better but that does not mean I am “cured” of schizophrenia.
It means I’m on the potter’s wheel.
All human beings have flaws and shortcomings but some see themselves as masterpieces even royalty.
I’m working “on me” in therapy and by registering to take WRAP again but mental illness unfortunately has no cure and is lifelong.
Any psychiatrist or psychologist would say ‘tis true.
So I am going to keep moving forward and just keep working “on me”.
I’m not perfect, I know that, but I love the person I am and was created to be.
Almighty God created me and when he was finished he said “that was good.”
I’m not average. I’m extra-ordinary. I’m eccentric. I’m crazysexycool.
I have become a person that other people acknowledge and seem to like.
That’s good enough for Me.
I wouldn’t want to be super-skinny or want to become another woman who is beautiful by societal standards.
I just want to be myself.
I have three motorcycle jackets that I wear with my motorcycle hat sometimes and I feel powerful whenever I wear it.
I feel like I am a biker chick even if I am a Sunday School Teacher and a volunteer leading a peer support group.
I love my life and I wouldn’t want to trade places with anyone else who either is more “successful,” more “beautiful,” or whatever.
I see myself as having a good life and I love my SZ life even though it’s not perfect, it’s my life and I am proud of my accomplishments. I’ve come a long way.
I am making a Comeback in my 30s. My 20s were hard and my adolescent years were difficult for me. My 30s so far are amazing! I’ll be 36 years old soon!

Finding Your Way Back to Love
By J. Alfreda
return to forever
is a mind refresh
a quest
becoming one with your Maker

your mind
is Universal property
enhanced it prepares you
for the journey
it will pack your bags
if you let it

the receptacle
is the mind Universal

have you ever seen your brain on Love?
it glows—

like a wave
trying to leave the ocean
you can’t get away from Love
it stalks the soul
and so
it is your essence
you can only be blind to it
like a mother
to her child’s inequities

so a walk to Love
is never a return
but a walk to a mirror
where you like
what you see.

By Craig Bayer
My days have always been painful
But now the pain is intense
I check my emails but you haven’t written
I check my messages-you haven’t called
I visit our hangout, but you aren’t there
Are you avoiding me forever?
Have I struck out again?
I’m not sure, now that I want to see you
Because there may be a negative expression on your lovely face
God, I adore that face
But if you look at me the wrong way, it could crush me
I want to flirt with you
Say or sing that you’re the “Sunshine of My Life”
I want to hold you in my arms
And kiss that face all over
I want to stroke your head
But if you fear or hate me now
All fantasizing and daydreaming becomes terrifyingly meaningless
I’m praying to God
That I haven’t lost you completely
That we can still be friends
That you’ll trust me again
I think I fucked up again, though
I think I may have to move on
And I will move on, if necessary

Pride Parade
By Cecil Williams
My Sunday in June was spent at the blown-in-all-directions Pride Parade
And there was a huge atmosphere of excitement that still does not fade
It appears that everyone was into a rainbow dream and a feeling of pride
No longer were we shallow or unhappy about life, which we call a ride
The future holds dreams and connections to each other that we won't hide
It is a movement similar to Civil Rights and no voter or anyone can be denied
Thank goodness Orlando did not crush the gusto but there were a lot of regrets
Too bad the Massacre brought such vibes of finality we said with cigarettes
And there we were marching and seeing dancers who caused a stir in their dance
And couples wore smiles and offered the waiting universe this brand of romance
Some cried out in joy that legislation about marriage gave us a new chance
And looking around the crowd, such wealth of caring could be taken in a glance
We are the proud and we are fitting together the voices for the fight of the gifted
God shines in sunshine-rays and some of the tribulation has been lifted
Tomorrow, I promise that I will be involved in a less depressing set of rules
For the millions who cheer remind us that we walk the path of different schools
We are united and will dance like hippies, our feet that move to the beat on the street
And I, for one, am enchanted and enraptured what Pride Day brought we could meet
Writing about a future goal will uphold the magic of the body, mind, and soul

And let's be hallelujah-grateful that such a lesbian tale can be told

Beyond the Medical Model with Neesa

Beyond the Medical Model with Neesa
A Column by Neesa Sunar, Peer Specialist, Transitional Services for New York, Inc.
The Vital Profession of the Peer Specialist
For the past couple of years, I have been employed as a “peer specialist.” A peer specialist is a mental health professional who has personal lived experience with mental illness. Because peers have suffered themselves, they are able to understand and empathize with the people they work with. This type of experience cannot be learned in university. Thus, peers have expertise that doctors and social workers do not.
I learned about the peer profession when I was in a psychiatric day program in 2012. Once I heard about it, I wanted to work as a peer myself. I applied to the peer specialist training program at Howie the Harp Advocacy Center (HTH) and was accepted. I attended classes at HTH five days a week for twenty weeks, totaling to 500 classroom hours. A 12-week internship followed.
Howie the Harp Advocacy Center is named after one of the first pioneers of the peer movement. Howard Geld was psychiatrically hospitalized as a teenager in the late 60s. At seventeen, he left New York and relocated to the west coast, where he became involved in the Insane Liberation Front. During his life, he was involved in mental health advocacy efforts on the east and west coasts. He earned his moniker of “Howie the Harp” because he was a street performer on the harmonica. In 1993, he became the Director of Advocacy for Community Access. He garnered funds to start a peer specialist training center, slated to open in 1995. Unfortunately, he passed away two weeks before the school opened. The school was named after him in his honor.
While at Howie, I learned about the Recovery Model, which is in stark contrast to the Medical Model. Typically, when one is physically ill, s/he will go to the doctor. The doctor prescribes a medication, and treatment is determined successful when the person’s symptoms are eradicated. Yet with mental health, absence of symptoms is not enough. Side effects can make the “cure” as bad as the mental illness.
The Recovery Model goes beyond this. Everyone is entitled to living a fulfilling life. People should be encouraged and supported to reach for complete wellness, no matter how “severe” their condition may seem. They do not have to submit to the limited expectations that standard providers have. In the past, I held jobs where I hid my diagnosis, only causing additional stress. Now as a peer, I can use my experiences as a strength which can help others. No longer do I feel “broken” and a “danger to society.” Instead, I have developed a sense of empowered pride. I have risen from the ashes of profound disability.
About two years ago, I began working full-time at Transitional Services for New York, Inc. We offer apartments in the community, as well as active case management services. Whenever I meet a new client, I immediately disclose myself.
“Hi, I’m Neesa! I am a peer specialist. Do you know what a peer is?”
Oftentimes, the client does not know. Thus I explain:
“A peer is a person who has mental illness themselves. I myself am diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. I’ve been hospitalized seven times. I have been on disability since 2011. I know how this system can wear you down, trying to juggle public assistance and Medicaid and psychiatrists…I’ve lived it. I’m here so that I can relate to you. I know where you’re coming from.
At this point, I always feel like this invisible wall melts between me and the client. My hope is always to strike a chord within the person, wherein s/he can feel safe and open. The greatest fulfillment I experience as a peer is developing that one-on-one relationship with the client. In this therapeutic partnership, I encourage them to determine their own path towards wellness instead of dictating to them how “I think how it should go.”
The peer movement specifically strives to create awareness about mental illness akin to a civil rights movement. So often, psychiatric clients are stripped of their rights, whether it be in institutions or with an outpatient psychiatrist. People are forced into treatments they don’t want for themselves, intimidated by doctors. And then there is also stigma, that pervasive societal attitude that discriminates against those who have a diagnosis.

My hope is that there soon will be widespread awareness about peer specialists. We are able to reach clients in ways that doctors and therapists cannot. We are able to stand as examples of recovery, and we inspire one another to reach higher and further than the negative prognoses from our providers. The work of peers is the future, and we must create awareness to make this happen.

Press Release for the The New York City Mural Arts Project

Announcing the The New York City Mural Arts Project
From the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Fund for Public Health

Murals in the Bronx and Manhattan–developed through community engagement–will address mental illness
NYC DOHMH and the Fund for Public Health have organized a community-based project to create three public murals about mental health in East Tremont, West Bronx, and Hell’s Kitchen. The New York City Mural Arts Project is a collaborative effort between mental health consumers, artists, community-based organizations and the community at large. The two murals in the Bronx will be created by VIP Community Services and muralist Tova Snyder. The mural in Manhattan will be created by Fountain House Gallery and artist Andrew Frank Baer. The Mural Arts Project is part of the City’s effort to increase services and awareness about mental health, and aligns with First Lady Chirlane McCray’s goal to build social cohesion and reduce the stigma that continues to surround mental illness.
The Mural Arts Project will include a series of community activities over the next three months to engage the public in the mural making process and foster community conversations about mental health. The artists will lead weekly workshops at community-based organizations to discuss ideas for the designs. The artists will then present a first draft of the mural and receive feedback from participants. In May, the project will culminate with two Community Paint Days, arts and wellness fairs where the public can paint the murals.
“The Mural Arts Project is an important investment and builds on the impact ThriveNYC has had improving our city’s mental health infrastructure,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “Art has the ability to profoundly change the way we think, feel, and even spark meaningful conversation to begin to break down the strongholds of isolation and stigma.”
“The NYC Mural Arts Project is part of a citywide effort to take discussion of mental health from lectures to living rooms, creating the opportunity for a community conversation,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “Projects like this engage the community through discussion, thought, and action—ultimately reducing the stigma associated with mental illness.”
“We are pleased to take part in this important effort to connect residents to community-based organizations, social centers, and art in order to bring mental illness out of the shadows and encourage New Yorkers to seek services to help them flourish,” said Sara Gardner, Executive Director of the Fund for Public Health in New York City.
For further information and additional open studio dates, check the Mural Arts Project Facebook page or visit
The Mural Arts Project steering committee includes members from the NYC Health Department, the Fund for Public Health, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, NYC Health + Hospitals, the Mayor’s Office, VIP Community Services, Fountain House, Fountain House Gallery, Citiview Connections Clubhouse, Bronx Community Board 6, and Manhattan Community Board 4.
About the Artists
Tova Snyder received a Master of Fine Arts from Temple University’s Tyler School of Art. Her work includes public and commercial murals, fresco painting and restoration. Her largest piece of public art is a six-story mural off the Grand Concourse in the Bronx.
Andrew Frank Baer studied fine art at Brooklyn College. His work has been shown in galleries in Washington, D.C. and New York City, and he has painted large murals in New York City.

“Evolutions of Us”: An Art Exhibition

“Evolutions of Us”: An Art Exhibition
By Laura Anne Walker
Making Art After the Fall of HAI

2016 was a difficult year for many people, especially because of the presidential race. In addition to the political atmosphere, those of us who attended the Healing Arts Initiative (HAI) Art Studio (created by Francis Palazzolo and directed by him from 1994 to 2016) lost the Art Studio and HAI, which went out of business. Many people, including staff and participants, were displaced. Palazzolo took that devastating loss as a magnificent opportunity to charge forward, fill the void, and create Being Neighborly, an independent art collective, comprised of former HAI Art Studio members and new artists as well. Ever hopeful, Palazzolo has kept it together for us and has given it to us to be active participants in Being Neighborly: We each contribute our gifts, talents, resources, connections, and time.
The Being Neighborly art collective has already had two exhibitions in its short existence: “Bring da Beach ta’da Hood” at the Open Source Gallery; and the recent exhibition, “Evolutions of Us,” at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in collaboration with the SVA MPS Art Therapy Department, interns, students and staff at 132 West 21st Street, 5th floor Studio, by appointment. 
The opening reception for Evolutions of Us was on Saturday, February 18, from 2:30-4:00PM, and was well attended. The artists in the exhibit were: Jenny Chan, Michael Johnson, El Kuumba, Ray Lopez, Linda Moses, Girl Negron, Georgia Redd, Aracelis Rivera, Vincent Salas, Cynthia Timms, Laura Anne Walker (myself), and Lawrence Willoughby. A number of us spoke about our art.
I read my original poetry from my art, and spoke about the content, which explores my journey from psychiatric hospitalization to stabilization and how I came to terms with the diagnoses I’ve been labeled. Others spoke spontaneously. For example, Cynthia Timms described her love-letter artwork to Rosa Parks and, in doing so, tried to put herself in Rosa's shoes, hoping that she would have had the same courage as Parks on that bus. El Kuumba spoke of his paintings, one of which had both Mr. and Mrs. Obama, and Mr. and Mrs. Dr. Martin Luther King in the same painting. Ray Lopez spoke of his work, which is often provocative and controversial. Vincent Salas talked of the Shamans in his work and other themes. He also played a hand-beaten drum, which he invited others to play with him. Lawrence Willoughby spoke of his paintings, which depict everyday scenes in the city, such as the New York City skyline, and an MTA bus. Speaking about art is an exciting new feature of the exhibitions. Having a supportive, art-loving audience continues to be an amazing experience.
The MPS Art Therapy Students, led by Supervising Art Therapist, Sheila Fontanive, LCAT, are: Yi-Chien Chang, Saeideh Goiji, Laura Hetzel, RJ Huguenard, Andrea Juliano, Rebecca Rodas, and Gabby Simpson. They creatively helped us to get to the point of exhibition. The entire staff was overseen by Special Projects Coordinator Val Sereno, LCAT ATR-BC, who, overall, was instrumental in assisting us to put on this exhibition. We thank them.
We have coverage on the SVA blog: and in a press release. On Facebook, search “Being Neighborly.” If you want more, you can view profiles, spread the word, and help us reach our goals at