Letter from our Executive Director

Dear Friend and Neighbor,

We would like you to know what contributions to ACAP can do.  For nearly thirty years ACAP has been providing “ Tools for Life” through teaching, treating the Vicki Semel, Executive Director of ACAPmentally ill and community service.  Almost all of this work is done by professional volunteers including faculty, staff, board members and committee participants.  Collectively professional volunteers from ACAP provide over 20,000 hours of service per year to ACAP in our community focus commitments, a cooperative model where contributions happen everyday.  That is why YOUR donations work to enable OUR volunteers to provide “Tools for Life” to our students, our communities and to those who need them most. Let me tell you about some of the essential people who make our work possible:

Patricia Mahoney is an ACAP graduate, former faculty member and the chair of a high school English department.  She served as ACAP’s librarian for many years. She has carefully grown and cultivated the book collection and developed our first library data base. The ACAP library is available to anyone in the community.  The ACAP library is among our “Tools for Life.”

Stephanie Simon is an administrator at a local hospital but finds time to serve as the director of ACAP’s North Jersey Consultation Center (NJCC).  NJCC provides high quality treatment to anyone in need. No one has ever been turned away from the NJCC because of diagnosis or financial status. ACAP’s NJCC is another of our “Tools for Life.”

Patricia Bratt has led the Applied Division at ACAP, but is also director of development, faculty and trustee at ACAP.  The Applied Division organizes workshops and conferences for teachers, counselors and therapists improving their work in serving our most vulnerable populations. The ACAP Applied Division is one more of ACAP’s “Tools for Life.”

An example of the Applied Division’s community engagement is the development of the Community Resource Partnering Network, (CRPN). CRPN offers a forum where ACAP’s administration, faculty and teaching assistants lead roundtable discussions at sessions on topics that can help expand service delivery from our community resources.  Leaders from over 50 service agencies can gather to address the financial challenges of many non-profit agencies, child welfare initiatives, mental health treatment and policy, veteran affairs, school-based programs for educators and students, and organizational partnering projects. Participants share best practices from their own agencies. We invite any community resource organization to participate: e.g. mental health, medical, education, civic, clergy, law enforcement, and to refer agency leaders to the CRPN network at these events. For further information email events@acapnj.org.

Here is an example of how ACAP assisted a preschool teacher at a recent training for a group devoted to working with families suffering from violence, drugs and neglect:

One preschool teacher had difficulty engaging a parent of a three-year-old child who was withdrawn yet regularly bit and hit other children in the classroom. The child would sporadically report periods of violence and police intervention in the home. The parent avoided eye contact with the teacher or was quietly compliant during conferences. The teacher was helped to apply ACAP interventions during the few minutes a day at pick up and drop off times to build comfortable communication patterns. Specifically interventions were developed to assist with the parent’s feelings of inadequacy, self-criticism, and shame. This resulted in cooperation in linking the parent to the school social service support services and opened communication between the teacher and parent regarding family stress. The teacher became better able to respond to the child’s daily needs and problems with open communication from the parent. The child’s behavior improved and she began to learn when she no longer had to hold the family secrets.

These activities could not happen without support from individuals like you. We thank you for the central role you play in continuing ACAP’s mission and invite you to visit our center for a tour, a talk or a course.

Vicki Granet Semel, Psy.D.
Executive Director, ACAP