On September 10, Erikson Institute celebrated the grand opening of its new Center for Children and Families/Centro para Niños y Familias clinic in the Little Village neighborhood. The event featured remarks from Erikson leadership and community partners, tours of the facility, and a delicious lunch from La Catedral restaurant. Located at 3948 W. 26th Street (26th and Pulaski), the clinic is the first of its kind and has bilingual staff and clinicians who are experts in working with young children 0-5.
Community partners are essential to so many areas of Erikson’s work, and those relationships were on full display during the event. Over 50 community partners, including representatives from Carole Robertson Center for Learning, Esperanza Health Centers, El Valor, Enlace, Saint Anthony Hospital, El Hogar del Nino, Erie Neighborhood House, Youth Guidance, Ounce of Prevention Fund, Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, SER, and SAH Chicago gathered with elected officials, donors, board members, and Erikson staff at the new center.
Also in attendance was Alderman Michael Rodriguez, 22nd Ward; representatives from the offices of Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia and Senator Richard Durbin; Juan Carlos Linares, Chief Engagement Officer of Public Engagement for the City of Chicago; and Jennifer Alexander, the city’s Director of Early Childhood Education.
In remarks presented during the program, Katya Nuques, Executive Director of Enlace Chicago, shared, “As one of the largest community organizations in Little Village, Enlace has struggled to find appropriate mental health services for very young children, and we are thrilled for the services this center will provide…As a mother of a toddler, I understand how important it is for us to support families on their journey to provide the best opportunities they can for their children to thrive and succeed, and Erikson can play a role in that trajectory. We look forward to the work of the center, and welcome to La Villita!”
Dr. Marcy Safyer, Director of Erikson’s Center for Children and Families, went on to explain the importance of providing mental health services for very young kids. “We start early, prenatally through age 5, because a child’s brain development reaches its peak during that time,” she said. “We focus on the parent-child relationship because the quality of that relationship is critical for optimal brain development and overall child well-being.”
Many members of the press were also in attendance to cover the opening of the clinic, including reporters from Chicago’s Spanish speaking news outlets Telemundo and Univision. Both segments featured interviews with Alderman Rodriguez and Dr. Cristina Pacione-Zayas, Erikson’s Associate Vice President of Policy. Telemundo’s coverage is here and Univision’s coverage can be viewed here.
Chalkbeat was on-hand, and reported, “For Erikson and the who’s who of Chicago early learning advocates who toured the clinic Tuesday [September 10], the site marks an important milestone: a growing recognition that Chicago can’t expand its early education system without combating some of the chronic issues that afflict families.” Read the entire Chalkbeat article here.
It was special to celebrate a milestone many years in the making. Erikson is especially thankful to the Little Village community for giving such a warm welcome, and to the generous donors who helped make this clinic possible.
To reach the Center for Children and Families/Centro para Niños y Familias in Little Village or to make appointments, please call 773-820-9488.
Photos by: Kyle Flubacker
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