It is important to recognize our fellow citizens who are America’s super heroes; swooping in to help save the day and then disappearing into the darkness of anonymity.
Long Island, New York has their hero in Barbara Costello, the founding “angel” of the Guardian Angel Family Crisis Center.
Barbara worked in the Nassau County Department of Health as a special educator for over 20 years. “While working as an Educational Consultant for Department of Health/Early Intervention with families experiencing crisis, and hardship, listening was at the essence of their need during their emotionally challenging times when they literally cried out for help. The time given for guidance in the direction of available resources accessible to them gave them a sense of not only hope and purpose but more so, encouragement and a desire to persevere through the process of healing that they, each in their own way, were undergoing.”
This became more than a job to Barbara. Most would have left this position exhausted and depleted; instead Barbara longed to find a way to help these struggling souls even more. Her passion to assist and help grew into a desire to create a non-profit that could focus on working with women and families to personally counsel, assist and encourage them through tough situations such as a need for housing, jobs, and basic emotional support.
Barbara started an eight year quest to develop a nonprofit organization that has become a valuable resource in these very difficult times. She left her secure position, and, with $50,000.00 of her own money, started the Guardian Angel Family in 2004 “with a vision and a hope in reaching others who felt alone in their struggles.” Barbara had no idea how much of an impact she would have in assisting even more women and families with the difficult economic downturn to come.
Barbara wanted to create an environment which people could come for support and give back with their own support. She found a small house in Sea Cliff, NY and created a home for the Guardian Angel Family Crisis Center.
- The little abode is a surrogate home to many providing a safe place to receive help and support, as well as a place to gather and give back. Barbara Costello’s Guardian Angel Family Crisis Center mission statement is “to provide services to every family member in crisis, Guardian Angel Family offers programs for all the generations. Together we can nurture women, reunite families and rebuild shattered lives.”
The Guardian Angel Family Crisis Center house provides a place of support and action:
- Teen Angels Gathering
- Grandmothers Raising Grandchildren for help in the challenges they face supporting their grandchildren while their parents are unemployed, seeking work, incarcerated or in rehab or other medical programs
- Nutritional Classes
- Style With Success – For the workplace dressing
- College Admissions & Financial Aid Preparation
- Women’s Support Group
- Consultation and assistance with Social Services programs and applications
- Social Worker for personal consultations
- Thrift Store: We welcome your support in all its forms: donations of clothing and toys, giving of your personal time as a volunteer, and your tax deductible financial contributions
- Thrift Store Give-away Policy for families who cannot afford to purchase necessary items (diapers, crib, car seat, stroller)
The thrift shop, which is actually an upscale resale boutique, provides revenue for the programs as well as acts as a space for hurting families to acquire items of necessity and pay for them by volunteering. Barbara believes that you must help people through teaching them to be self reliant; “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life.”
Barbara Costello has created partnerships with the local community who donate their own time and services to the cause. She has hopes of connecting with local doctors and dentists to help provide much needed medical services.
“Guardian Angel Family helps women and families in crisis find the means to stay in their homes, feed their children, and find their path to independence. This framework subscribes to the ideals of pride, dignity, self respect and understanding, providing a safe haven for teenage girls, grandparents and women. Our give-away policy at our thrift store offers families without means necessary items (diapers, crib, car seat, stroller) at no cost. We want to be an oasis for these fragile families where their emotional as well as concrete needs would be met.”
Guardian Angel Family was born out of a dream for women and children experiencing crisis. Their lives have been turned upside down not only by financial losses and potential evictions, but also by the loss of essential needs like food, medical care, shelter, and clothing. Our vision at Guardian Angel is to provide a therapeutic community where these families would have access to a supportive professional staff that can help guide them in the direction of restoration. We have always felt the importance of presenting the needs of struggling families who live in our community, our own backyard, to the helping hearts and hands of their fellow neighbors. We need to be a community that extends ourselves and our resources. Aristotle said, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Guardian Angel Family Crisis Center feels that it takes humanity to uplift humanity for the greater good in all of us.”
(Above from the Guardian Angel website; gafcc.org)
Barbara Costello is passionate about helping women, girls, and families in crisis; she works tirelessly day and night in her fight.
“At Guardian Angel Family Crisis Center, we work directly with the women, families and service providers to ease the hardships they face. Offering temporary housing, free emergency food and clothing, and support and education programs, Guardian Angel Family provides a bridge from crisis to confidence.”
Barbara explains how the name Guardian Angel came to be out of hearing and believing. “When assisting families with their varying degrees of needs and stressors, they began calling me their Guardian Angel for respite, relief, and help in times of trouble and hope in their pain. Knowing all of our strength comes from God and that with His Grace and Guidance, we could pass on that Light of His Love to others.”
Barbara wants people to help out of their own free will and gives many options to do so:
- Make a tax-deductible donation.
- Provide gently used clothing and children’s items to the GAF Thrift Store.
- Donations accepted at the store: 239 Glen Cove Avenue, Sea Cliff, NY 11759, or call 516-277-1068.
- Volunteer your time.
- Work at the store; provide support to the women of all ages and their families.
The Guardian Angel Family Boutique is located at 239 Glen Cove Ave. in Sea Cliff and is open Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for your shopping pleasure. Find great items for holiday gifts for families and children.
A local bride and groom recently had their guests donate to the Guardian Angel Crisis Center in lieu of wedding gifts.
For more information, e-mail Barbara at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 917-903-0560.
Barbara Costello fights the cause everyday of her life to help women and families climb out of their crises. Her goal is to make total use of the house by expanding and finishing the complete interior in order to be able to use every nook and cranny; for resource rooms providing computers, tutoring, day-care, and support meetings. More and more families are struggling in these difficult times of losing jobs and housing. Barbara and Guardian Angel Family is currently busy working on helping find temporary housing as a transitional base until families who are evicted can find permanent housing in their community.
It is time for America to acknowledge and celebrate Barbara Costello as an extraordinary person who is a heroine and a true earth bound “guardian angel”.
Barbara Costello is someone who is never afraid to dance and teaches others to not be afraid to step out on their own dance floor!
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