Building a Better System for All

Vibrant's Center for Policy, Advocacy and Education is a leader in convening stakeholders to elevate the importance of emotional health, identify gaps in care, and advocate for needed reforms so that mental health is treated with the importance it deserves.


The percent increase of individuals
trained by Vibrant in FY2020.

The Coordinated Children’s Services Initiative (CCSI) is a community-based network administered by Vibrant that is committed to ensuring the health and wellbeing of children, youth and families throughout New York City. When COVID-19 hit, CCSI program managers, Rebecca Anuru and Brian Lombrowski, led the transition from monthly, in-person meetings to a virtual environment, determined to keep stakeholders and community members connected and engaged.

CCSI was founded on the power of face-to-face conversations to create positive change. We offer a rare and unique opportunity for parents and caregivers -- the chance to meet monthly, in-person with service providers to determine the right care and resources for children struggling with emotional health issues. When COVID-19 forced us to pivot to remote gatherings, we had a lot of concerns. Would people still show up? Would attendees engage in meaningful dialogue? Could we accommodate different schedules? The future wasn’t certain, but we forged ahead, determined to create a brave, advocacy, and solution-focused space together.

Vibrant supported our transition to a remote community space, providing accessible technical solutions to our team and the communities we serve. We were up and running quickly, with technology and resources to foster collaboration and conversation. At our first virtual meeting in April, people were scared about really big things. Community members wanted to know -- Where do I get my next meal? Can I pay my bills? How do I juggle online school alongside work? What emotional health services are still active? There was a lot of stress, confusion and a collective sense of grief. We responded to these community needs with new, digital-based resources available for families and youth such as a weekly, online newsletter focused on educational and social support resources. We also shifted the time of our meetings so that working parents and students could more easily join.

We’re proud to share that our pivot to remote meetings has strengthened our community. We have that family-feel down pat now. Our goal is to remain a safe and brave space for our community, to critique and challenge the service delivery system where needed, yet know that we can help families get the support they need to thrive.