News & Events
  • APRIL 2014
    Making history in New York
    Making history in New York

    On May 6, 2014, New York is joining more than 100 communities throughout the United States for a national day of local giving. Give Local New York will generate significant funds for causes right in our own backyard. We will be part of a movement to reignite the spirit of giving across the country and support causes in the community in which we live, work and play.

     

  • APRIL, 2014
    Happy Birthday to Seamen’s Society!
    Happy Birthday to Seamen’s Society!

    Seamen's Society is celebrating its birthday on April 2, 2014. We will be 168 years old. We have been weathering life’s storms since our inception in 1846. Our philosophy has not changed any. Today we serve over 5000 children and families annually in both Staten Island and Brooklyn. We believe that every child deserves a chance. We are committed to our mission to provide all our children with the roots and wings they need to grow

  • MARCH , 2014
    March is Social Work Month
    March is Social Work Month

    Seamens would like to recognize and praise all individuals in the social work profession for their outstanding work and dedication to the children and families they serve so diligently. Read more about social work month in our newsletter.

  • JANUARY 14, 2014
    Scholarship Reunion
    Scholarship Reunion

    On January 14, 2014 Seamen’s Society held its 4th Annual Scholarship Reunion at our headquarters. Ten scholarship recipients home for winter break joined staff, donors and the board of trustees for an enjoyable evening filled with good food. Excitement and laughter filled the room fueled by tidbits of everyone’s life and school experiences.

  • NOVEMBER 2013
    Amazon Smile
    Amazon Smile
    Seamen's Society     

     

    Each time you shop with Amazon and use our link 0.5% of your purchase will be donated to Seamen’s Society. Please use the link below to get started.

    CLICK HERE
  • NOVEMBER 1, 2013
    National Adoption Month
    National Adoption Month

    November is National Adoption Month. In honor of this occasion Seamen’s Society has available its new 2014 Desktop Calendar dedicated to our Adoptive Families. If you are interested in purchasing a calendar please contact Development at 718-447-7740 ext. 4269. The cost of the calendar is $20. All money will benefit the many children and families that we serve. 

  • NOVEMBER 2013
    Thanking our Gala Sponsors
    Thanking our Gala Sponsors
    Seamen’s Society would like to say a big thanks to all our sponsors, donors and guests who made this evening a success.
  • JUNE 11, 2013
    Seamen’s Society for Children and Families Elects New Trustee
    Seamen’s Society for Children and Families Elects New Trustee

    The 167th Annual Meeting of the Board of Trustees of Seamen’s Society for Children and Families was held at their headquarters, at 50 Bay Street, on Tuesday, June 11, 2013. One new trustee, Laura Fitzsimmons Volsario, the Director of Operations at Gateway Arms Realty in St. George, Staten Island was elected to the Board of Seamen’s Society for Children and Families. 

  • JANUARY, 2013
    Scholarship Reunion
    Scholarship Reunion

     

    On Tuesday, January 8, 2013 Seamen’s Society held its 3rd annual scholarship reunion at our headquarters. Nine scholarship recipients currently attending college and who were home for winter break joined donors, staff and board members for ...a casual and enjoyable dinner. The atmosphere was completely informal. Everyone present exchanged life experiences, successes and ongoing challenges that they face today. The evening was a success and everyone is looking forward to next year’s reunion

     

     

  • DECEMBER, 2012
    Black & White Gala at the Vanderbilt at South Beach
    Black & White Gala at the Vanderbilt at South Beach

    Standing Left to Right: Nancy Vomero, President/CEO Seamen’s Society; Ralph Branca, Board Chair Seamen’s Society; Caroline Ferreri, Gala Chair; Allan Weissglass, Chair Staten Island Foundation; Cesar J. Claro, ED Richmond County Savings Foundation

    Seated Left to Right: Mary Petrone, Principal P.S. 19; Jeanne Raleigh, teacher P.S. 19; Betsy Dubovsky, ED Staten Island Foundation

    On Thursday, October 25, 2012 Seamen’s Society held its Black & White Gala at the Vanderbilt at South Beach. This year’s Save Harbor Award honorees were Richmond County Savings Foundation, Staten Island Foundation and P.S. 19 in West Brighton. Over 225 guests were in attendance where they dined, danced, enjoyed musical entertainment and participated in a silent auction.

    On Thursday, October 25, 2012 Seamen’s Society held its Black & White Gala at the Vanderbilt at South Beach. This year’s Save Harbor Award honorees were Richmond County Savings Foundation, Staten Island Foundation and P.S. 19 in West Brighton. Over 225 guests were in attendance where they dined, danced, enjoyed musical entertainment and participated in a silent auction.

  • JANUARY 09, 2012
    Challenge from Bill Clinton turns into a windfall for Seamen's Society
    Challenge from Bill Clinton turns into a windfall for Seamen's Society

    STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A challenge from charismatic former President Bill Clinton attracted $50,000 in donations for the Seamen's Society for Children and Families over the holiday season.

    read more...
  • OCTOBER 28,2011
    Clinton Honors Staffer's Efforts At Annual S.I. Gala
    Clinton Honors Staffer's Efforts At Annual S.I. Gala

    The event raised $100,000 -- half of the money the Seamen's Society has lost in federal aid due to budget cuts.

    "All we need is another hundred thousand and we won't have to cut any of

  • OCTOBER 27, 2011
    For Bill Clinton aide, foster mother's her chief role.
    For Bill Clinton aide, foster mother's her chief role.

    Laura Graham's Staten Island home might not be a permanent stop for foster kids. But it doesn't stop each little one from staking out a steadfast slice of real estate within her heart.

    read more...
  • SEPTEMBER 25, 2011
    STATEN ISLANDER OF THE WEEK:
    STATEN ISLANDER OF THE WEEK:

    Dedicated Foster Parent Gets Praise From Bill Clinton

    The latest Staten Islander of the Week is Laura Graham, a Graniteville native and Westerleigh resident who will re

HISTORY OF SSCF

Our History

“It was on Thursday, the second of April, 1846, that several ‘benevolent ladies’, says the record, met in the lecture room of the Brick Church in Beekman Street, New York City, for the purpose of relieving the destitute condition of the families of our seamen.

Business was prospering in New York that spring of 1846… The East River waterfront was thick with spars of clipper ships in from China, from South America and the Indies. Smoke billowed from the funnels of steamers like the Cambria and the Great Britian arriving from Liverpool after fifteen days… Trade was brisk with foreign ports now that the threat of war with England over the Oregon boundary was lessening; although peace loving citizens looked grave over the news from Texas, where American troops under General Zachary Taylor lay waiting to cross the Rio Grande.

War clouds were forgotten, however, that Thursday afternoon in the Brick Church. The ladies listened intently to the Rev. B.C.C. Parker of the Episcopal Floating Chapel as he described the needy condition of the families of sailors and the necessity of providing for their destitute children, and following an earnest prayer for guidance delivered by the pastor of the church, they determined to form a society “to afford relief and protection to the destitute children of seamen…by providing an asylum for them, with proper arrangements for their health, comfort and education.”

Mrs. Peter Stuyvesant was elected the first directress and 19 other ladies bearing such well-known names as DePeyster, LeRoy, Kissam, Morgan, Aspinwall and Decatur were selected as members of the board of managers. Thus began The Society for the Relief of Destitute Children of Seamen.

For this first board of managers deciding where to locate the home for seamen’s children, Staten Island presented advantages over every situation in the neighborhood of the city…removed from the temptation and expense incident to a city resident…its convenience of access, salubrity of air… gave it preference over every other location.

“During the first year 24 children were cared for at an expense of approximately $1800. Three years later the number of children had more than doubled and quarters larger than the rented house in Stapleton, near the steamboat landing, to which the Society had moved after a short stay in a rented house in Port Richmond were needed. Five acres of land were leased in New Brighton from Sailors Snug Harbor and a new building made to accommodate 100 children was completed in 1852″. (Annual Report of 1946)

The buildings of the Institution are situated on Staten Island, but the children, almost without exception, come from the City of New York, many of them having lived in miserable tenements where they knew no comforts of a home. To those who were familiar with those cheerless abodes, our asylum must appear a blessing which can hardly be estimated. In it the children are not only sheltered, fed, and clothed, but instruction is given them to cope with life’s future struggles. (Annual Report of 1880)

In 1858 as part of the Society’s interest in getting away from caring for children in institutional settings, the agency participated in the “Orphan Trains” that were sponsored by the Children’s Aid Society. The “Orphan Trains” transported older children to communities and farms out West where they would be taken into someone’s home and possibly learn a trade. In some cases children were “adopted” into caring loving homes and treated as a part of the family while some were simply treated as indentured servants.

Despite all of this the directors of the Society largely viewed the “Orphan Trains” as a means towards individualization. They felt that there were too many disadvantages to institutional life and in a report in 1881 wrote: ” to those who have been familiar with asylum education, it is well known that this training in not the best for teaching self-reliance, without which it is not easy to meet and overcome the rubs of life.”

For many years, the lives of the children remained completely centered amid the institution. In 1886, the first step away from this type of life was made when some of the older children were sent to a nearby public school. Attendance at neighborhood churches and Sunday schools was encouraged. Finally, in 1904 public school attendance was opened to all the children living in the Home. This trend towards the integration of the child into the total community sphere was now the trend in child welfare. In 1904 President Theodore Roosevelt convened a conference on children and the Society for the Relief of Destitute Children of Seamen was cited as an example of progressive thinking on the care of children.

The agency which had cared for nearly 4000 children in a 73 year period in its “Old Home” had come to recognize that the “Home” was obsolete. After consulting leading Child Welfare experts of its day, the Board of Managers decided that institutionalizing children was no longer the best plan of care and two new smaller cottages were made for the boys and girls.

In November 1926, Marshall Cottage was completed and housed ten girls and two housemothers. It was named in honor and in memory of Charles H. Marshall, a New York attorney and benefactor of the Society for 45 years. Younger children and those with special needs were placed in foster homes. In 1932, a second cottage for boys was opened. It was named Willard H. Jones and located at 216 Davis Avenue near enough to Marshall Cottage to allow for a friendly exchange between both groups of boys and girls.

In 1937 and based on a need for the agency to remain”…up to date and keeping with the times”, the agency’s name is changed from The Society for the Relief of Destitute Children of Seamen to the Society for Seamen’s Children.

1947 saw an important change to the charter of the Agency because it was the first year that the inclusion of non-seamen children was served.

The Society began 165 years ago, within a compassionate atmosphere to provide quality care for children and families of economically and socially indigent seafaring fathers from Staten Island, and the Port of New York. Continuing this longstanding tradition, the focus of the Society’s service has grown to include a wide array of programs for children and for families coping with adversity.

In 1976 the agency opened an office in downtown Brooklyn to provide better access and services to children placed in foster homes in Brooklyn and Queens. In 1999, a satellite office was opened in Brownsville, Brooklyn to accommodate the children and families in East New York. Indeed, these changes have facilitated easy accessibility of services for its culturally and ethnically diverse populations. The fall of 2011 will see the integration of these two offices into one location in Brownsville to meet the increasing needs of our families.

In 1998, in recognition of the agency’s historical roots, the agency’s name is revised to Seamen’s Society for Children and Families and its logo is revised to reflect this change.

Thus, through the years, the philosophy of the Agency has developed to the point where our thinking is centered on meeting the needs of the individual child as we provide new and innovative programs and continue to set the example of progressive thinking in the development of the child. While under our care, Seamen’s feels its responsibility is to strengthen the ties the child has with his/her parents and relatives in what ever way possible so that hopefully the child is returned to his/her own familial situation. Thus, today Seamen’s has grown to become a full service child welfare agency meeting the needs of children and families in New York City.