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Garden of Dreams announces $380K grant for Briarwood special needs treatment facility

Aug. 7, 2023 By Bill Parry

The Garden of Dreams Foundation, the nonprofit organization that works with MSG Entertainment, MSG Sports and Sphere Entertainment to bring life-changing opportunities to young people in need, announced that it will provide a $380,000 grant to fund the installation of an HVAC system for the indoor basketball court at SCO Family of Services’ Ottilie Campus, a Residential Treatment Facility and Special Education School in Briarwood.

The Garden of Dreams Foundation previously funded the refurbishment of the facility’s basketball court in 2015, adding new floors, a scoreboard, windows, lighting and paint. This further investment will install an HVAC system, ensuring the adolescent and young adult residents at the Ottilie Residential Treatment Facility will be able to more comfortably use the two-story recreational space year-round.

“MSG Entertainment is proud to partner with the Garden of Dreams Foundation in furthering our commitment to supporting communities across our five boroughs, which includes providing young New Yorkers with special needs the resources they need to thrive,” said Rich Constable, executive vice president, global head of government affairs and social impact at MSG Entertainment. “The foundation has been a partner with SCO Family of Services for 17 years and this project will have a tremendous impact on this community and ensure residents’ access to high-quality recreational space for decades to come.”

The Garden of Dreams Foundation is funding more improvements at a Briarwood special needs treatment facility.Courtesy of Garden of Dreams

The Ottilie Residential Treatment Facility is the only facility of its kind in New York, serving children and young adults who are diagnosed with both severe emotional disturbances and developmental disabilities. The 24-hour Residential Treatment Facility provides the most intensive residential mental health services available outside of a hospital in a highly structured, therapeutic setting.

Residents and day students attend the onsite Theresa Paplin School. Staff are focused on strengthening family connections and preparing youth to eventually return to their communities through a sensitive approach that is tailored to each resident’s needs.

The addition of an HVAC system will ensure the gym, which is the sole location on campus that serves as a play area during school and non-school hours, will be a temperature-controlled recreational space that adolescents can use during the warmer months of the year. Groundbreaking recently got underway and the project is expected to be completed later this year.

“We are incredibly grateful to our friends at the Garden of Dreams Foundation for their continued generosity and support of SCO Family of Services and the children and families we have the privilege to serve,” said Suzette Gordon, president and CEO at SCO. “The HVAC project will enable us to provide year-round access to recreational and extracurricular activities, which are integral to the healthy growth and development of our young people.”

SCO Family of Services helps New Yorkers build a strong foundation for the future through various programs and services that get young children off to a good start, launch youth into adulthood, stabilize and strengthen families and unlock potential for children and adults with special needs. SCO has delivered human services in communities throughout New York City and Long Island for more than 125 years.

Through the Garden of Dreams Foundation’s long-standing partnership with SCO Family of Services, SCO participants attended nearly 30 Garden of Dreams Foundation events during the 2022-2023 school year, including Knicks and Rangers games and theme nights; talent show and talent show rehearsals; Inspire Scholarship events; KNX gaming events; toy drives; and more.

In addition to the HVAC project and basketball refurbishment at the Ottilie Campus, the Garden of Dreams Foundation also previously funded a refurbishment of SCO Family of Services’ Brooklyn Family Visiting Room in 2008.

State Senator Leroy Comrie praised the Garden of Dreams for making further investments in the Briarwood gymnasium.

“I know first-hand the important role SCO’s Ottilie program plays in improving the lives of young people with disabilities in New York,” Comrie said. “The investment by the Garden of Dreams Foundation not only enhances the physical facility, but will provide the students and residents with life-enhancing experiences for years to come. Having visited the campus on numerous occasions, these upgrades will pay immeasurable dividends to the youth that Ottilie serves.”

Since its inception in 2006, the Garden of Dreams Foundation has been dedicated to bringing life-changing opportunities to young people in need, impacting the lives of more than 425,000 young people and their families across the tri-state area. The Foundation works with 30 local partner organizations, including SCO Family of Services, to create meaningful, unforgettable programs that bring young people together to raise their spirits, build resilience and provide networking, mentoring and educational opportunities through MSG’s power of community building.

The Foundation supports 450 programming events and experiences annually focused on young people facing illness or financial challenges, as well as children of uniformed personnel who have been lost or injured while serving our communities. The grant received by SCO Family of Services is part of the Garden of Dreams Giving Program, which provides significant support to partner organizations through scholarships and long-lasting community projects that directly benefit young people in need. The Giving Program has awarded over $5 million in college scholarships to deserving students in the tri-state area and $10.8 million in grants to fund vital civic enhancements in local communities, such as refurbishing basketball courts and community centers and enhancing pediatric areas at hospitals.

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