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Suffolk County Children’s Center Provides Safe Haven for Kids

suffolk county children's center | cohalan cares for kidsSuffolk County Children’s Center Provides Safe Haven for Kids While Parents Attend to Proceedings at Cohalan Court Complex

When parents are involved in legal disputes that require them to attend to business in court, arranging for childcare may be an insurmountable problem. Quality care may not be available, and babysitters may be too expensive. It’s no wonder then that babies, toddlers, and children often end up with their parents or guardians in the courtroom which, after all, is not an appropriate place for any young child to wait.

Suffolk County Children’s Center at the Cohalan Court

Providing the solution is EAC Network’s Suffolk County Children’s Center at the Cohalan Court Complex. Here children, ages six months to 12 years old, can engage in fun and educational activities while their parents or guardians attend to court business. The Center provides a safe, supervised, nurturing environment for children at no cost and requires no advance reservation. Notably, the Center was visited by more than 1,600 children in 2018.

Aneesha Vargas, who supervises the day-to-day operations at the Center, welcomes children in the same days and hours that Cohalan Court is open. “This is a vital service that helps parents,” said Vargas, noting that it’s especially helpful to low-income individuals. “They don’t have to worry about childcare.”

The Center is currently supported and operated by a full-time aide, two part-time aides, trained volunteers and interns who engage the children in games, puzzles, and reading lessons that range from learning their ABCs to the importance of hygiene. While learning how to brush your teeth is important, the literacy experience at the Center is foremost. Every child leaves with a new book to take home.

With EAC Network at the helm of the Suffolk County Children’s Center, additional resources are made available for parents and children in need. Whether it’s to a food pantry, social services agency, or child care, Vargas makes the referrals and helps families in ways that make an immediate impact.

If a child has holes in their socks, needs mittens, hats, clothing,

diapers, or formula, they leave the Center with that.

8th Annual Cohalan Cares for Kids Event

To support the Center, EAC Network is hosting its upcoming 8th Annual Cohalan Cares for Kids event at the Suffolk County Bar Association on Wednesday, March 20, from 6-8 PM. The fundraiser will also recognize Cheryl Zimmer, Esq. for her dedicated advocacy of the Center and the children it serves.

Zimmer, who retired in 2016 as Chief Court Attorney in Suffolk County Supreme Court, and currently serves on the Children’s Center Advisory Committee said, “The whole project is dear to my heart. I feel privileged to have been involved with the Center since inception, and to be honored now is to come full-circle. The reason I became an attorney was to be of service to the community.”

The Children’s Center is a unique collaboration among its community partners and overseen by an advisory board chaired by the Honorable Gaetan B. Lozito, and co-chaired by the Honorable Marian Rose Tinari, who ensure that the Center is operating and providing services according to best practices. In addition to the Suffolk County Bar Association, fueled by the extraordinary commitment of its Executive Director Jane LaCova, collaborative support comes from judges, lawyers, court personnel, the Hispanic Bar Association, the Women’s Bar Association, the Criminal Bar Association, the Matrimonial Bar Association, the Connetquot Teachers Association, the Girl Scouts, local businesses sponsors, and other community advocates.

Sheryl L. Randazzo, partner of Randazzo & Randazzo, and past president of the Suffolk County Bar Association, is on the event planning committee for Cohalan Cares for Kids. “If your client is going through a contentious matter, stressed, and has legal fees, childcare is one more thing that can really break a person,” Randazzo said. “Attorneys at Cohalan Court can provide a further service to their clients by sending them to the Children’s Center to lighten their load.”

Randazzo added, “Any member of the Suffolk County Bar Association should be proud that we support a program like this. They should not only take credit for it but support it as well. The Suffolk County Bar Association is a natural fit. We can each feel great about Cohalan Cares for Kids and what it does as part of the legal community.”

“Bottom line, it’s the children and families who benefit from the Suffolk County Children’s Center, which provides a safe haven while parents are in court,” Zimmer added.

The Suffolk County Children’s Center is located at the Cohalan Court Complex, 400 Carleton Avenue, Room #A-236, Central Islip, NY, 11722. Contact Aneesha Vargas, Supervisor, at (631) 208-5724 or aneesha.vargas@eac-network.org.

The Cohalan Cares for Kids fundraiser is being held on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, from 6-8PM at the Suffolk County Bar Association, 560 Wheeler Road, Hauppauge, NY. The cost is $60 per person. All proceeds will benefit the Suffolk County Children’s Center at the Cohalan Court Complex. 

To learn more about EAC Network’s Suffolk County Children’s Center and its upcoming Cohalan Cares for Kids fundraiser featuring live music, prizes, food, and more, visit https://eac-network.org/event/cohalan-cares-2019/, or contact Daniel Arons at Daniel.arons@eac-network.org, or 516.539.0150 x123.

About EAC Network

Founded in 1969, EAC Network today offers more than 100 programs across Long Island and throughout New York City. EAC Network is a diverse not-for-profit human service agency that empowers, assists, and cares for over 82,000 individuals each year including children and youth, families, seniors, the incapacitated, and more.

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