"The only way
to have a friend
is to be one."
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
At The Meeting House, we help children develop their social and emotional selves in ways that will empower them throughout their lives. Through exciting group classes and integrated programming we inspire Fun, Friendship and Community between kids and their world.
Located on the Upper West Side, The Meeting House is a non-profit organization providing recreational afterschool and weekend community for children who need help with socialization and communication. Children between the ages of 6 and 12 are welcomed from general education, special education and inclusion programs. Our group sessions include up to twelve kids per session that break into smaller groups for different activities.
Our dedicated Meeting House team of special educators, teaching artists, therapists, psychologists, and volunteers provide the passion, professionalism and commitment to help achieve our vision. Each week they create The Meeting House experience that helps children develop the social and emotional skills, which will empower their lives.
What We do to Make a Difference!
There are many aspects to the work done by The Meeting House organization. Not only is the program this year an exciting and rich mix of activities for kids, but we have started new programs for teens and mentors and increased outreach into the community. The programs and activities we conduct include:
After School Weekday Program
Each afternoon we offer Fun, Friendship & Community through vibrant enrichment activities, where our team of teaching artists, educators and psychologists direct children in exciting group classes. Whether it’s our signature Kite Club sessions or the student performance of Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are,” the fundamental importance of helping kids develop social skills such as empathy, self-awareness, flexibility, self-regulation and resiliency is always grafted into the Afterschool Program experience. Each day at The Meeting House we help kids to develop these essential social and emotional skills in themselves. We help them be good friends and make new friends through a variety of exciting recreation and enrichment activities that include: Sports & Fitness, Music, Drama, Visual Arts, Homework Help, Improvisation and Humor.
Here, There & Everywhere Weekend Program
These popular off-site events occur on weekends at various New York City locations where kids from different weekday sessions get together to practice and generalize critical socialization skills. With fun trips to New Victory Theatre, Chelsea Piers, Math Museum, Brooklyn Beast, The Gaga Center and more, each event leaves the children exhilarated by the challenges of new social situations while travelling throughout Manhattan. Here, There & Everywhere weekends are made possible through the kind sponsorship from the Carnival of Love Foundation.
Mentor Volunteer Program
Mentors who share perspective, understanding, and role model inspiration are important to our community because they help engender self-esteem, self-awareness and self-determination. These critical life success factors emerge for kids when mentors express their “I can do it – you can too” attitude. Each Mentor’s experience helps to inspire self-advocacy, personal learning strategies, self- expression and empowerment. High school and college volunteers are the driving force behind this program, which is a particularly rewarding learning experience and helps fulfill requirements for service learning credit. We expect our younger kids will become future Mentors and return the gift to our community.
Meeting House Young Ambassador Program
As our students get older, we are adapting our program to meet their evolving learning, language and social needs. With the support of our Parent Advisory Committee and the influx of parental requests, we offer a curriculum geared for middle school children. TheAmbassadorProgramishighlycustomizedtohelp kids overcome individual learning challenges and issues they uniquely face as they emerge from childhood. The core curriculum components include teaching how to improve the communication skills associated with developing socially and emotionally. To draw on their strengths we pair these “Ambassadors” with younger “members” of the program so that they can share areas of mutual interest and reinforce the values of The Meeting House community.
Vital Constituent Partnerships
Community | Fundamentally important to us is the depth of new commitment that parents have made by forming the Parent Advisory Committee. Their insight and active involvement helps our team identify the evolving needs of our participants and inform the planning of our current and future programs.
Professional | The diverse professional makeup of our Advisory Board and Board of Directors includes members from the education, psychology and medical professions. They provide informed guidance, oversight and financial stability that helps us maintain our high standards. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on their efforts and their generous commitment toward helping us to achieve our dynamic vision of empowering kids in life.
Annual Thought Leadership Symposium
Each year we host a symposium of ideas and current thinking that aligns with our vision and demonstrates our commitment to elevating discussion among those working on social and emotional issues with children. The Second Annual Meeting House Symposium brought 200 professionals and parents together for an entertaining evening of networking, socializing and education withcolleagues from NYU Child Study Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bellevue Hospital, Churchill School, Gaynor School, Parkside School, Bank Street School, Aaron School and more. Dr. Fadi Haddad, Director of Child Psychiatric Emergency Services at Bellevue Hospital and Dr. Sima Gerber, Professor of Speech-Language Pathology at Queens College, explored the complex relationship between social skills and psychological development.
In February 2014, our Third Annual Symposium will discuss the importance of executive functioning, organization and mindfulness, as it relates to the social and emotional well being of children.