Former FCA Client Now Giving Back to Others

By Kelly Kass, Senior Writer, Marketing Works

In 1994, Al Sita was a high school senior who turned to Family & Children’s Association’s (FCA’s) Walkabout Program for guidance and support during a challenging time in his adolescence. While living at the transitional residence (then located in Bethpage, New York), Al learned a number of household and independent living skills, enabling him to gain more structure and prepare for the future.

Recalling those impactful four months, Al says, “FCA provides a stable place for young people with a difficult home life. They were the light at the end of the tunnel for many of us, and helped lay the groundwork for residents to achieve a happy, productive life.”

While residing at Walkabout, Al participated in the Steps to Success program, which gave him a sense of “greater responsibility.” He credits the support from his counselor as a major factor in his success, fueling his desire to improve his life. After completing the program, Al went on to attend SUNY Cortland (thanks to a scholarship obtained through FCA), graduating with a degree in History. He now holds a successful job with Weill Cornell Medicine, working in Information Systems alongside several IT project managers.

More than 20 years after Walkabout transformed his life, Al is now striving for the same outcomes for participants of FCA’s Friendly Visiting Program. In 2017, he enrolled as a volunteer, helping to enhance the quality of life of seniors living in Nassau County.

He initially reconnected with FCA after his father became ill at a local nursing facility, contacting Ombudservice for support. “Witnessing the work of Ombudservice volunteers made me appreciate their dedication and advocacy. It inspired me to want to make a difference for Long Island’s senior population,” Al explains.

As an FCA Friendly Visitor, Al visits the home of Joe, a 95-year-old homebound Wantagh resident, offering weekly companionship and good conversation. “When you’re 95 and can’t leave the house, it’s the little things that mean a lot,” Al says. He’ll often find Joe waiting at the door for him to arrive. Their lively visits are usually comprised of several games of Gin Rummy. Joe loves the interaction and never hesitates to play another hand. “He’s very competitive,” Al says. “He even offers to let me win. Sometimes we play for two hours.”

Al enjoys brightening Joe’s day and loves the “rewarding feeling” of   helping others. He recommends volunteering to current Walkabout residents and other FCA program participants. “At the end of the day, everyone should give back if they can. Just one hour a week can make a big difference for someone.”