At the Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut, we are truly lucky to have the most dedicated children’s mental health advocates supporting our agency. Beginning this month, we will highlight an agency volunteer who helps support our mission to improve the mental and behavioral health of children and teens in our community.
Jim Colica has been an active CGC advocate since 1995, and a board member since 1999. Formerly Chairman of the Board and now a Vice Chair, Mr. Colica brings his passion and expertise to every CGC meeting he attends. He always offers enthusiastic input to help improve the services that CGC provides and to increase the public’s awareness of our agency.
Born in Brooklyn, Mr. Colica is involved in several organizations that work to inspire hope in children and families who do not have the opportunities to overcome their obstacles. He is passionate about causes that support youth mental health, educational opportunities for children of low-income families, and emergency aid for people struggling with a crisis. In addition to the Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut, he is heavily involved with:
- HEART 9/11 (Healing Emergency and Response Team) – a team of volunteer first responders- FDNY, NYPD, PAPD, and the NYC Building Trades- that responds immediately to natural and man-made disasters; rebuilds infrastructures in hard-hit areas to meet immediate needs; and helps communities recover by building resiliency for individuals and families.
- Saint Catherine’s Center for Special Needs – a private special education school that serves students of all faiths who are impacted with autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities.
- Al’s Angels – a non-profit that provides moments of joy and comfort to families that are challenged by childhood cancer, rare blood diseases, AIDS, domestic violence and financial hardship.
Mr. Colica is a vocal advocate for children’s mental health. He knows firsthand how early identification of mental health issues can positively impact a person’s development and growth.
“The effects from significant trauma and abuse in childhood or adolescence – if left untreated – will most assuredly manifest themselves later in life with potentially severe consequences to the person and others close to them,” said Mr. Colica.
When asked why he supports CGC specifically, Mr. Colica explained, “This agency has been providing outstanding service for the community since 1954. Licensed by the State, designated as an Enhanced Care Clinic, accredited as a Child Advocacy Center by the National Children’s Alliance, and designated as the State’s 2-1-1 Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Services provider for Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, and New Canaan, CGC is truly a clinical center of excellence. Each staff and board member is mission driven, ensuring that every child in need of support receives the highest quality mental health care, regardless of their family’s ability to pay.”
He added, “Lack of professional treatment services, cost, and transportation are common barriers for children in need of therapy, but CGC offers solutions to help reduce these burdens. For instance, CGC’s team is comprised of highly qualified and specially trained mental health professionals, who never deny a child access to services based on their family’s financial circumstance. The agency also offers several mobile programs, delivering mental health services directly to families in their homes, schools, or other community locations.”
CGC is incredibly grateful for Mr. Colica’s dedication to our agency over the past 22 years. His relentless support of our work has helped us serve over 3,000 children and families annually. We admire his attitude toward philanthropy, as he truly gives his time, talent, and resources to causes without any expectation of recognition or reciprocation. When Mr. Colica was being interviewed for this volunteer profile, he stated, “I don’t want to use this profile to highlight my accomplishments. I want to use this opportunity to spread awareness about important causes in the community. I have been blessed during my life, and I believe that I have a responsibility to support causes that help people who do not have the resources to help themselves.” CGC is very fortunate to have Mr. Colica supporting the mental health needs of youth in our community.