Grey + Mary Beth: Portraits of the 14th Street Y



I started working with Grey in the Early Intervention Program this summer. I was working with him at home three times a week. I knew then that he would be needing help in school in the fall.

He’s such a beautiful spirit, and so bright. He’s already come such a long way, and he’s making friends. He’s really starting to develop a lot of relationships in school. His first couple of months were just sheer delight in being here. He was so excited, he would just walk in and squeal! Now, we’re settling in, building relationships, and learning how to deal with the tools more appropriately.

Grey has Mowat-Wilson syndrome, which affects his speech and motor skills. He uses his talker to speak, because he’s not able to use sign language. We work a lot together to model his needs so that he can better learn how to say what he needs, and how to ask for help. We program all of the words he might need in there, including the names of his friends and teachers.

The 14th Street Y is just such an open and welcoming environment. The Reggio Emilia approach is so open to exploring, which is exactly what he needed. He had never been in a school setting before; he had been in so many one-on-one therapies since he was just a year old, but he just needed to explore more toys and just have the opportunity to be in a classroom. This preschool makes each classroom accommodating for each child in the room. There are a lot of schools that just aren’t as open or flexible to adapt to the needs of the children in the classroom. I think Grey feels very much at home here. Everybody knows Grey–he’s always getting so much love, attention, and support.

Grey is just one of the many incredible children who attends the
14th Street Y Preschool because we focus on an open and flexible education model that adapts to the needs of children in every one of our classrooms.

Our goal in the coming year is to continue supporting inspiring children like Grey, his teachers, and continue to grow our inclusive Preschool program. But to do this, we need your support to enable us to sustain inspiring and passionate educators.

Learn more about how you can help!

Portraits of the 14th Street Y is a photography project by Bridget Badore that tells the stories behind the many faces of the 14th Street Y community, including members, staff, teachers, trainers, artists, caregivers, families, and local business owners. Each year, the unique stories of more than 20,000 New Yorkers is woven into the fabric that makes the 14th Street Y a Downtown home for all.

Learn more about this exciting photography series here. You can also follow along and support the Downtown Stories on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.