Empowering Caring People to Turn Ethics into Action
The Social Service Board is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization affiliated with the New York Society for Ethical Culture. We leverage our resources to provide direct services to marginalized and underserved people in New York City. We build listening relationships to develop responsive programs that alleviate the symptoms of systemic injustice to promote a more compassionate city.
Participation in the SSB offers hope and assistance to people in need, but also offers immeasurable benefit for those who volunteer and participate. Ethics is the soul of a secular democracy. It inspires authentic self esteem, motivates our dynamic social conscience, and demonstrates the love, care, and trust which are the human glue of our society and helps us create a better world.
SSB members have created, financed, staffed and sustained many rewarding and meaningful “core projects” with their dedicated efforts. Among these are:
Supportive Televisiting Services
The Social Service Board at Ethical combined the use of video communications technology with caring staff supervision to create its Televisiting program designed to address the well-being and development needs of children with incarcerated parents or grandparents.
Over two million children have a parent who is currently incarcerated in the United States. Rikers Island, New York City’s largest jail, houses over 14,000 peo-ple, the majority of whom are parents. SSB launched its Supportive Televisiting Services Program in 2012 to help heal these families by providing opportunities for children to maintain contact with their incarcer-ated parents whom they miss and love. Research studies underscore the benefits these visits can provide:
A healthy connection with a parent may:
1.Prevent or reduce a child’s behavioral, emotional, or school problems
2.Lessen separation trauma and preserve a child’s secure attachment
3. Promote a healthier family transition after release
Televisiting provides opportunities to:
1.Reassure and comfort children during separation
2.Interact together: read, play games, & create art
3.Celebrate special moments and milestones
As work on the program progressed, it became clear that the effort would be greatly enhanced by the addition of support activities for the incarcerated parents, as well as the children, and their caregivers. Work is currently underway to provide some of these support services. The program attracted the attention of faith-based and community organizations who share com-mon concerns. Supportive Televisiting Services has responded by providing consultant services and training sessions for organizations, faith-based groups and mental health professionals.
Televisits increase the time shared between children and their parents by supplementing face-to-face contact. Program staff provides support for parents and children to maximize the benefit of their time together. Staff also visit correctional facilities to screen and select participants, and contact the child’s caregiver to determine eligibility before scheduling visits.
Dr. Maria Fridman Homeless Women’s Shelter
Since its founding in 1982, the shelter has been sponsored by the Partnership for the Homeless and the Society’s Social Service Board. The Partnership relies on churches, synagogues and other non-profit organizations to coordinate volunteers and provide sleeping accommodations for the homeless. The city provides cots, bedding, laundry services and bus transportation to and from the Olivieri Center to the Society.
In support of the ongoing projects of the SSB, we periodically hold special events such as used book sales and jumble sales, with all proceeds going to support our work. In addition, we accept items for sale on Ebay and Craigslist to support the important work we do. We apply for grants to endowments, foundations, government funding sources, and other faith-based programs. We accept donations and estate tributes.
Get Involved with SSB
Welcome to the world of Ethics in action. The SSB is for anyone young or old, who is looking for more meaning in their life and the personal satisfaction of helping make a difference in our community. If you are interested in volunteering your time you can:
- Attend a Board meeting as our guest
- Present a new project idea
- Participate in a project of your choice as a Friend of the Board
- Become a member of the Board
The Social Service Board provides an array of opportunities for caring people to put Ethics into action.
People who desire to become a Board member are invited to attend a monthly Board meeting and see how its members give their leadership to ongoing projects and create new ones as their need arises.
Friends of the Board
The SSB also provides the opportunity for people who wish to participate in a project but whose busy lives don’t permit them to be a full-time Board member, but can participate in a desired project as a Friend of the Board.
A Friend of the Board may also support the SSB in two ways: by helping financially or volunteering time to a project of choice.
If you feel the call to put ethics into action to preserve and expand our American Democracy, the Social Service Board is set up to energize, empower, and facilitate the ideas and needs of ethical people.