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YCSC committees organize internal events and community volunteering opportunities

June 18, 2024
by Crista Marchesseault

Consisting of Yale Child Study Center (YCSC) faculty, staff, and trainees, the center’s network and outreach committee has been quite busy planning and coordinating both internal events and community-based volunteering opportunities in the greater New Haven area this year. The committee was initially formed as the Branding Committee in 2015 with Assistant Clinical Professor Sandi Gossart-Walker at the helm as the committee chair. Within a few months, this committee joined with the Network Committee, led by Heidi Grantz.

With the other founding members (Jean Adnopoz, Vikiana Alonso, Lauren Denehy, Scuddy Fontenelle, Rachel Horsting, Lily Katsovich, Crista Marchesseault, Carla Marin, Danette Morrison, Karen Muth, Kelly Voccola, Paul Votto, and Erin Warnick), the Network and Outreach Committee was charged with educating others on the work of the YCSC, which serves as the department of child psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine.

Gossart-Walker and a number of committee members through the years have worked to accomplish this mission through the coordination of both internal and external networking opportunities, participation in community events, and ongoing work to engage with area community members including families and community groups, referring providers, schools, DCF, and more.

The committee has hosted internal open house events over the years, including a very well attended “in-house open house” at the center’s George Street location last fall. This year’s open house will be open to New Haven area providers in addition to internal members of the YCSC community, and will be held on September 19, 2024 from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. at 350 George Street.

A spin-off of this group was also formed this year as the department’s social committee, working together to plan monthly internal social events for the center community. These events have been very well received, typically planned around a theme and including food, raffle prizes, and an opportunity to meet and network with people from across the YCSC.

Internal events brought together by the social committee include a “hot cocoa and cookies” event in January 2024, a Black History Month reception following Grand Rounds and co-hosted by the YCSC Diversity Action Group (DAG) in February, a Social Work Month event co-hosted by the Social Work Fellowship in March, an Autism Acceptance Month event co-hosted by the McPartland, Sukhodolsky, and Chawarska Labs in April, and most recently a Mental Health Awareness Month event co-hosted by Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence in May. Raffle winners were announced shortly after each event and posted to the department’s internal announcements.

The Network and Outreach Committee also participated in several community events this spring including the following.

  • Disability Summit at Mohegan Sun in Unasville on March 16, 2024
  • Blast Cancer Brain Tumor Walk at Lighthouse Park in New Haven on April 27, 2024
  • Social Chase Autism Forum at Waterbury Arts Magnet School on April 27, 2024
  • Total Joy Are You (TJAY) Autism Walk at the Dixwell Q House in New Haven on April 27, 2024
  • Wallingford Special Education Resource Fair on May 18, 2024
  • Annual New Haven Family Stroll & Festival ar the Quinnipiac River Park on Saturday May 18, 2024
  • Autism Services & Resources CT at Clifford Beers May 19, 2024
  • New Haven Public Schools’ Your Wellness Matters Day at the Q House on May 22, 2024
  • Annual Whole Health & Job Fair in the Brookside/Rockview neighborhood of New Haven on May 23, 2024

Current committee members are Craig Bailey, Diana Bok, Erin Brough, Kari Cifarelli, Heidi Grantz, Kristen Hammel, Bethany Kleine, Lesley Kurachi Ube, Alison Magnotti, Katie Malison, Belmana Ponjevic, Marcia Questel, Anne Santello, Jenny Seibyl, Denis Sukhodolsky, and Erin Warnick.

The many YCSC community members who stepped forward to volunteer at these events – providing information about YCSC clinical and research opportunities, children’s activities, and giveaways – have included Anastasia Rose, Lindsey Rosenthal, Nicole Herman, Sara Silber, Bela Ponjevic, Sophie Benjamin Cramer, Lauren Robinson, Bridget Walicki, Shreya Kannan, Megan Rutten, Sydney Anderson, Gillian Weeks, and Taylar Clark.

Submitted by Crista Marchesseault on June 13, 2024