Palm Beach County, FL - March 20, 2011 - The American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY) wishes to extend its deepest thanks and appreciation for a unique and precious gift bestowed upon the organization at the Times of Your Life benefit honoring the Alzheimer's Association held Saturday, March 5th at the St Andrews Country Club in Boca Raton. Several of the benefactors present at the event have pledged between four and eight hours of valuable respite to families whose caregiving children form part of AACY's Caregiving Youth Project (CYP).
While the Times of Your Life Alzheimer's benefit included the customary fare of cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, dinner and Concert Under The Stars, the evening's most poignant moments were reserved for the testimony of professionals, advocates and specialists in the field of cognitive impairment, as well as Alzheimer's sufferers and their caregivers, most notably, the evening's honorees, Laura and Jay Jones.
Jay Jones, now 52, was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's at the relatively young age of 49 in 2009. Jones, an affluent local businessman and his wife and caregiver, Laura, have become nationally known advocates in the fight to combat Alzheimer's. Laura Jones is credited with bringing Early Onset Alzheimer's to the attention of notable local and national opinion leaders including Maria Shriver, an effort that ultimately resulted in the couple's testimony before a Social Security Administration hearing. The Jones' testimony played a pivotal role in the 2010 decision to grant Compassionate Allowance status to Early Onset Alzheimer's disease.
The event is the brainchild of Co-Founders Jill Poser and Sherri A. Greenblatt who each saw the need for professional responsibility, advocacy and philanthropy in their respective fields. Poser is the proprietor of a home safety company. Greenblatt is an attorney specializing in the needs of the elder population. The companies that donated the respite hours include: Advocates on Call, Boca Home Care, Bright Star, Levin Home Care and Whitsyms Nursing Service.
Also among the special guest speakers were AACY President and Founder, Dr. Connie Siskowski, and Caregiving Youth Project (CYP) participant, Antonio Vilatoro, age 14 who attends South Tech Academy in Boynton Beach. Vilatoro, who has been with the CYP since 6th grade not only spoke of his experiences caring for his deceased grandfather, a victim of Alzheimer's but also about the support provided to him by the CYP. Vilatoro was treated to a standing ovation at the conclusion of his comments. His testimony speaks to the nexus of lives, young and old, professionals and family members alike, which are affected by the crippling disease.
"Caregiving affects the whole family and today, more than ever, children," said Dr, Siskowski. "Antonio's comments about his appreciation for the support along with his computer and internet access which the CYP has provided are so real. How can a student who is unable to stay after school or go to the library to use a computer not only learn but also compete with his peers without the needed tools?"
Studies have shown that the awesome responsibility of caring for an injured, ill, disabled, or elderly family member has grave ramifications for youth caregivers. The evidence indicates that without support, dual role youths may suffer poorer grades, social isolation, and in many cases, even compromised health. The donated respite hours will give AACY's caregiving youth some much needed rest and the brief opportunity to "just be kids", safe in the knowledge that their care recipient is in caring, capable hands.
About AACY: The American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY) is a Florida based 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation that began serving the greater Boca Raton community in 1998. Today AACY is the only organization of its kind in the United States addressing the issues surrounding a silent, vulnerable and hidden population of children - conservatively estimated to exceed 1.4 million - who provide care for ill, injured, elderly or disabled family members. Its mission is to recognize, support, and promote awareness of these youth as both students and family caregivers. AACY addresses the needs of pre-teens, teens, families, and professionals through education and awareness, research, and direct services. It collaboratively utilizes existing resources locally, regionally, and nationally to effectively recognize and support the vulnerable and valuable role caregiving youth fill within the family, in the health delivery system and in an aging and diverse society. AACY is continuing its model Caregiving Youth Project while expanding its reach through an affiliate network, partnerships and the future establishment of the Caregiving Youth Institute.
About CYP: AACY's model program, The Caregiving Youth Project (CYP), works in partnership with the School District of Palm Beach County and currently serves more than 365 caregiving youth and their families in 8 area middle schools and 17 high schools. The mission of the CYP is to: a) Increase awareness of caregiving youth issues throughout the Palm Beach County health and education communities; b) Identify and prioritize students in greatest need of services through eligibility and assessment; c) Reduce anxiety, depression and increase caregiving children's satisfaction with life: d) enhance caregiving youth's ability to remain in school through the provision of counseling, education, and support services including respite and sponsored activities; and e) Conduct in-home evaluations to link and strengthen families with existing support services.
Alzheimer's Facts and Figures:
- Alzheimer's is a fatal, progressive brain disease that causes life-altering problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Alzheimer's is not a normal part of aging.
- There are currently 5.3 million Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. That includes 13 percent of those over the age of 65 (1 in 8 persons) and nearly 50 percent of those 85 and older (1 in 2 persons).
- It is now determined that Younger-Onset Alzheimer's (persons under 65) is the fastest growing segment within the disease.
- There are presently 500,000 persons diagnosed with Younger-Onset Alzheimer's in the United States.
- It is estimated that nearly 10 million baby boomers will have Alzheimer's in their lifetime, and by 2050 the total number of persons diagnosed will be 16 million.
- 63% of all caregivers with Alzheimer's are at a risk for death before their loved ones.
For more information call the Southeast Florida Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association 1-800-861-7826 or go to www.alz.org/seflorida.
On February 25, 2011 eCareDiary Interviewed Connie Siskowski, Founder of American Association for Caregiving Youth. You can catch the interview here.
BECON TV prepared this Dr. Stephen Goldstein interviewed Dr. Siskowski and several caregiving youth. This hour-long program is in Flash format (flv) and can be downloaded here.
Need a free FLV player? Get one at www.flvplayer4free.com/
Links provided by Google
Dual Role Students Honored, Legislators Voice Support For AACY and ...
All proceeds from the event are earmarked for support to and awareness of the more than 1.4 million youth caregivers who shoulder the tremendous ...
Palm Beach County, FL - March 8, 2011 - About 200 distinguished guests rallied in support of Palm Beach County's student-caregivers at the American Association of Caregiving Youth's (AACY) 2nd Annual Hearts and 'Soles' Fundraising Event held February 24th at the Country Club of Boca Raton. Participants included representatives of local and state elected officials, AACY officials, educators, corporate benefactors, private supporters and exemplary youth caregivers currently enrolled in The School District of Palm Beach County.
AACY Board Member and Master of Ceremony Dr. Tom Tift, and Co-Chairs Summer Faerman and Shelby A. Linton deftly directed the evening's events, which included guest speakers, cocktails and dinner, music, a spirited live and silent auction, video presentations, and the bestowing of awards on 18 student caregivers enrolled in AACY's groundbreaking Caregiving Youth Project (CYP). All proceeds from the event are earmarked for support to and awareness of the more than 1.4 million youth caregivers who shoulder the tremendous responsibility of caring for family members who are ill, injured, elderly or disabled nationwide.
"We need to bring awareness and educate everyone on this important issue," said FL State Senator Maria Sachs (D - District 30) in an official release. "We must offer these children the opportunity to remain focused in the classroom and not worry about the responsibilities they have at home. We can't afford to overlook their contributions or leave them to shoulder the burden alone."
Senator Sachs and FL State Representative Bill Hager (R- District 87) served as Honorary Co-Chairs of the event, reflecting a heightened awareness of the universality of the challenges facing dual-role youth and the need for bipartisan support to affect change.
Five students, members of the CYP's seminal class of student caregivers, were honored with the "Keep Soaring" Eagles Award in anticipation of their graduation in 2011. All five entered the CYP as eighth-graders in the 2006-07 school year and have remained with the program ever since.
Alexandria Knapp, now 17, entered the program as an eighth-grader at Congress Middle School and spoke stirringly of the importance of AACY's support as she navigated the dual responsibilities of being a student at Olympic Heights Community High School and simultaneously caring for her father who has MS (Multiple Sclerosis).
"I couldn't have done it alone," said Knapp poignantly. "There are a lot of powerful people in this room, and I want them to know that young people like me need your help."
Knapp and the other graduates are the embodiment of the long-term collaborative effort between The Palm Beach County School District and the CYP. The graduating seniors are former Congress or Boca Raton Community Middle School students, each school having worked closely with the CYP since its inception in the 2006-07 school year. The City of Boca Raton's steadfast support also was evident in a missive from the Mayor to the student caregivers:
"I would like to congratulate the CYP members who are graduating from high school this year," said Mayor Susan Whelchel. "There is no doubt that it has been a challenge for you to be both a student and a caregiver. I am glad that the City of Boca Raton has supported the Caregiving Youth project so that it can help to assist you and your family during your journey."
Thirteen CYP student caregivers were honored for serving as ambassadors of the strength, courage and steadfastness embodied by so many caregiving youth and for sharing their stories in a variety of mass media portrayals. Keith Bryant, 16, of Atlantic Community High School was among the 2nd Annual CYP "Courage Award" recipients:
"At first, I felt all alone. I didn't know there were other kids out there in my situation, or that there were people who understood what I was going through and could help me cope with my feelings," said Bryant who cares for his parents, both of whom suffer from serious heart ailments and diabetes.
"It's kind of ironic in this era when conventional wisdom often says our kids are self-centered and irresponsible," said AACY Board Member Ms. Ronnette Smith. "These child caregivers generally fly under the radar of America's social consciousness."
Themed Hearts and "Soles", one of the event's principle objectives was to promote awareness of what it must be like to "walk in the shoes" of caregiving youth, a role Ms. Smith is more than familiar with. Her caregiving experience began as a 10 year old caring for a severely diabetic mother. By the age of 12, Ms. Smith had been granted an emergency drivers license in order to transport her mother in the event of a violent attack.
"These young people are willing to sacrifice their childhoods and even their education and their shot at life in order to take care of adult loved ones. They are young men and women who have more than demonstrated their willingness to put the needs of others ahead of their own," remarked Ms. Smith. "I ask you …aren't these the values that should be shaping the future of America? With your support, they will be."
AACY Founder and President Dr. Connie Siskowsi was effusive in her praise for all the events organizers and participants as well as the organization's staff and volunteers, but implored all present to find ways to do even more to help America's caregiving youth:
"We can't do this alone. It takes a community! Thank you for showing you care by taking the step of being here this evening. Now our greater work is before us - on behalf of these amazing children, please join this cause and support them so they can be successful in school and in life."
Major sponsors for the event included the Barquet Family, HSBC Bank USA, NA and Robert B. Campbell.
Read the State Senate's press release here
The Education Network produced this short video entitled "Caregiving Youth Faces" for the Caregiving Youth Project.
If you don't see the video, click here http://www.youtube.com/v/aDm2KE--TaY&hl=en&fs=1&
The Education Network produced this short video about what Caregiving Youth Think about for the Caregiving Youth Project.
If you don't see the video, click here http://www.youtube.com/v/uEEWt7yOdK4&hl=en&fs=1&
Palm Beach County, FL – January 21, 2010 – BECON-TV (Broward Education Communications Network), the education station owned and operated by the School Board of Broward County, will be premiering an hour-long program focusing on the challenges faced by teen caregivers on Sunday, January 23, 2011 at 9:00 pm as part of its “TeenTalk” television series hosted by Dr. Stephen Goldstein.
The program will feature the unedited, unscripted impressions of about a dozen teen caregivers enrolled in the American Association of Caregiving Youth’s (AACY) Caregiving Youth Project (CYP) as well as the participation of Dr. Connie Siskowski, President and Founder of AACY, and several of the organization’s front-line professionals.
The American Association of Caregiving Youth AACY is the only national organization dedicated to the support of kids who care for ill, injured, elderly or disabled family members.
The full air-schedule for the program is as follows:
Sun 01/23/2011 9:00 pm
Mon 01/24/2011 8:00 pm
Wed 01/26/2011 1:00 pm
Sat 01/29/2011 9:00 pm
Wed 02/02/2011 1:00 pm
Sat 02/05/2011 9:00 pm
Mon 02/07/2011 1:00 pm
Mon 02/07/2011 8:00 pm
Sun 02/13/2011 9:00 pm
Sat 02/19/2011 9:00 pm
Mon 02/21/2011 1:00 pm
Mon 02/21/2011 8:00 pm
Wed 02/23/2011 1:00 pm
Sun 02/27/2011 9:00 pm
BECON-TV programming airs throughout Broward, Miami/Dade and Palm Beach Counties over the air on digital channel 63.1 and on Comcast cable channel 19.
BECON-TV is also available on DirecTV, DISH Network and AT&T U-Verse on channel 63.
AACY to Honor CYP Graduating Seniors and Courage Award Recipients
Palm Beach County, FL – February 15, 2011 – As part of it’s February 24th 2011 Hearts and “Soles" Fundraising Event, The American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY) will be honoring eighteen exemplary dual-role youth participants in the organization’s model program – the Caregiving Youth Project (CYP). All eighteen of the caregiving youths are currently enrolled in The School District of Palm Beach County.
Six of them however, members of the CYP’s seminal class of student caregivers, are graduating in 2011. All six entered the CYP as eighth-graders in the 2006-07 school year and have remained with the program ever since. On hand to receive the “Keep Soaring” Eagles Award as pioneers and models for caregiving youth nationwide will be:
- Michael Galvez ( Boca Raton Community Middle School , Boca Raton Community High School )
- Lynchie Botex ( Boca Raton Community Middle School , Boca Raton Community High School )
- Lashawn Green ( Boca Raton Community Middle School , Atlantic Community High School )
- Alexandria Knapp ( Congress Middle School , Olympic Heights Community High School )
- Angelica Odom ( Congress Middle School , Boynton Beach Community High School )
- Vanessa Tolassingom ( Congress Middle School , G-Star School of the Arts)
Included in the awards presentations will be CYP liaisons from Congress Middle School (Principal: Mrs. Kathy Harris and Guidance Counselor: Mrs. Deborah Nix), and Boca Raton Middle School (Guidance Counselor: Mrs. Debrah Klein). As a testament to the long-term collaborative effort between The Palm Beach County School District and the CYP, all six graduating seniors are former Congress or Boca Raton Community Middle School students, each school having worked closely with the CYP since its inception.
Also, fourteen CYP students will receive an equally important honor, the 2nd Annual CYP “Courage Award”, for serving as ambassadors of the strength, courage and steadfastness embodied by so many caregiving youth. Along with “Keep Soaring” Eagles Award recipients Galvez and Knapp, the following twelve students will be honored for sharing their stories in a variety of mass media portrayals:
- Michael Anderson ( Lake Worth Community High School )
- Kassandra Benjamin ( Okeeheelee Middle School )
- Jimmy Braat ( Santaluces Community High School )
- Keith Bryant ( Atlantic Community High School )
- Kethia Dorceus ( Boynton Beach Community High School )
- Esther Ernest ( West Boca Community High School )
- Amanatullah Khan ( Boca Raton Community High School )
- Ann Marie Lent ( Santaluces Community High School )
- Lee Ann Lent ( Tradewinds Middle School )
- Natasha Padilla ( Boca Raton Community High School )
- Stephanie Padilla ( Boca Raton Community High School )
- Shayna Wright ( Don Estridge Middle School )
Themed “Hearts and “Soles”, AACY’s 2nd annual fundraising event, seeks to promote awareness of what it must be like to “walk in the shoes” of caregiving youth. Major sponsors include HSBC Bank USA , NA and Robert B. Campbell. The event will include cocktails and dinner, music, live and silent auctions, drawings, video presentations, guest speakers, and the aforementioned awards. A number of Democrat and Republican elected officials and/or their representatives, will also be participating in the night’s activities. Their joint presence signals the universality of the challenges facing dual-role youth and the need for bipartisan support to affect change.
2nd Annual AACY Hearts and “Soles” Fundraising Event
Thursday, February 24, 2011