This article was published by NY1 on Tuesday, May 28 to name Patricia Sealy the New Yorker of the Week. Click here to watch a news clip on Sealy.
Patricia Sealy has always had a soft spot for children, especially those who have a parent in prison.
“It is really traumatic for a child to witness a parent being arrested and removed from the home, not knowing where they are and when they are going to see them again,” Sealy says.
Last year, she launched “Children’s Haven: A Place of Hope and Healing.” The faith-based nonprofit organization provides after-school programming and support for children with an incarcerated parent; everything from tutoring and mentoring to helping kids send letters to their loved ones.
“These kids are in a bad situation, but the kids aren’t bad, and they are really smart,” Sealy says. “If you want to invest some time in them, and if we work with them and support them and help them, they won’t end up in prison or in jail.”
The program works out of the Mott Haven Church in the South Bronx, where Sealy is the reverend. She says there are more than 2,000 children and young adults impacted by incarceration in the borough.
“To help them understand that even though they have a parent in prison, that doesn’t necessarily mean that their parent is a bad person. Their parent made a mistake,” Sealy says.
Currently, Children’s Haven serves about a dozen children, but is looking to grow.
In the short time the program has been up and running, Sealy says these kids have made dramatic improvements in the classroom.
“If what we do here can prevent any of these kids from ending up in prisons or in jails themselves, then it is worth it,” she says.
Most of all, Sealy says the goal is to provide a safe place for these kids, where they know they are loved and cared for.
“They can achieve, they can thrive, they can do wonderful things in life, and this is not a road that they have to go down, because they have people who will support them and help them,” she says.
For giving children missing a loved one at home an extra shoulder to lean on, Patricia Sealy is our New Yorker of the Week.