2017 In Review: Open House & Outside Community Events

Here at the Youth Development Clinic, we’re dedicated to providing behavioral health services for children and families in Newark, Essex County, and surrounding communities. Our clinic is located in downtown Newark and we’re proud of our space and host events multiple times per year to give members of the community a chance to check it out in person. Most recently, we hosted an Open House in the late fall.

Aside from our own, we think it’s important to attend events in the community. We were able to go to several health and family-related events in 2017 and have big plans for the current year, too. One of our major goals year-over-year is to get out into the community, meet new people, learn about other organizations, and share information about the mental health services we provide.

Here are some of the local events we attended in 2017:

YMCA Health-O-Ween
Halloween event promoting health and awareness for the children in the community.


YMCA Healthy Kids Fair
Held at Military Park, promoting health, wellness, and outdoor activities for children and families in the community.


Teen Parent Summit
Hosted by Program for Parents, the summit took place at the Paul Robeson Center at Rutgers University, Newark.


Health Day at Paradise Baptist Church
Community health day. 


We also attended the 1st Annual Community Health Fair hosted by SPANNJ, the 2nd Annual Community Health and Wellness Fair hosted by Seton Hall Nursing School, the Healthy Kids Day event hosted by Nat Turner Park, the Community Health Fair hosted by the Salvation Army, and the Health Fair at Newark's One Stop Career Center hosted by WellCare NJ.

It was an awesome year and we're looking forward to seeing everyone at events in 2018!

5 Ways Parents Can Help Their Children with School-Related Stress


With the school year in full swing, various pressures could be mounting into stressors in the lives of students. They might be having difficulty managing their homework load, or could be struggling with certain social activities or interactions, or maybe they’re having trouble with a certain teacher or subject. The possibilities are many and might vary, but the good news is that parents can help reduce this stress by taking some concrete steps at home.

We asked our staff clinicians for ways parents could do just that, and below reflects what they suggest. Even if your child isn’t showing obvious signs of stress, these steps can help prevent it from coming on or might help address issues they're not even processing or communicating quite yet.

1) Open Communication - Ask questions about your child’s day, schoolwork, friends, teachers, etc. Be sure that they’re open-ended questions instead of simple yes or no. This helps create a positive dialogue with your child about school, which, in turn, helps build trust and an open channel for your child to discuss their worries and concerns with you. Perhaps discuss school issues and concerns over hot chocolate or any other comforting food or drink that will help your child relax and feel more open to talking.

2) Get Involved with school activities, which helps you get to know their teachers so that you can advocate for your child when necessary. Build good relationships with school staff and parents. Create an open line of communication with them that sets the tone that parent, children, and teachers are all part of the same team.

3) Create a Routine – Reduce stress related to homework, tests, and projects by creating a routine at home during which you set a time and space aside (as often as necessary) to help them get their work done in a relaxing way.

4) Time Management – As you work with your child to create a routine that works for everyone, help them break down their school work in chunks and tasks to be completed. Use calendars and planners to think ahead and keep track of due dates. Don’t put emphasis on how big or small the assignments are, just focus on getting them done, one at a time.

5) Back to Basics: Nutrition – A balanced meal goes a long way in helping your child keep their focus on school tasks. Make sure that your child is getting enough sleep time by limiting usage of phones, laptops, tablets, and TV. A good sleeping schedule and nutritious meals can help reduce stress while at school and increase focus.


For more on our staff clinicians, visit our team page

Quarterly Message from our Executive Director

Happy New Year to all our friends and supporters!

It’s been a year of challenges at the Youth Development Clinic as we’ve transitioned leadership, and with that, our central focus to building our core business – our community clinic. We are concurrently focusing on rebuilding and re-branding our community-based partnerships and our relationships with funders in order to put us on solid footing to carry our mission forward.  

That mission is an important and worthy one – to provide high quality, evidence-based, and culturally-informed services to an underserved population. Due to our community outreach efforts, the quality of our clinicians, and our high level of client satisfaction, we have doubled the number of clients that we are able to see at the clinic. We continue to grow rapidly, expanding our clinic hours to include Fridays, as well as looking at adding additional space to our clinic as we reach capacity.  

With our growth, we have hired several new clinicians, expanding our ability to provide services to Creole and Portuguese families while maintaining our strong Bi-lingual/Spanish services and sensitivity to the cultural and systems factors which underlie our work with African-American families.   

Our ability to deliver on this mission is bolstered by our relationships with Montclair State University and other academic institutions. This coming year, one of our goals is to partner with university faculty to identify and implement cutting-edge treatments and interventions in our clinic and school-based settings. We also continue our strong externship program that trains doctoral-level students to develop skills to work effectively with underserved populations.  

In an effort to increase accessibility to mental health services to children and families, we have established our first school-based, Medicaid-approved clinic in a K-5 school in Newark. This is an exciting achievement in that we will be able to not only work with students, but with families, almost all of which are in walking distance of the school. We hope to replicate this model going forward.

Other school-based services that we provide include supporting student behaviors conducive to learning while working with teachers on classroom management and developing more positive interactions with students. We currently provide services in three K-8 schools and one K-3 school in Newark.  

Needless to say, this is all possible only with the continued support of our funders. Thank you to all who lend support to our mission. If you are able to contribute, your time or financial support is most welcome and appreciated. As of this year, it’s been 60 years since our founding. Let’s continue to make a difference – together – for another 60!

Mark Kitzie, PsyD
Executive Director
Youth Development Clinic