Friends Center for Children
227 E Grand Ave
New Haven CT 06513-4102
Contact Information
Address 227 E Grand Ave
New Haven, CT 06513-4102
Telephone (203) 468-1966 x
Fax 203-469-1026
Web and Social Media
Play is an active form of learning that unites the mind, body and spirit
Educate Children, Empower Families, Inspire Teachers, Engage Community, Embrace Diversity
At A Glance
Year of Incorporation 2004
Organization's type of tax exempt status Exempt-Other
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Allyx Schiavone
Board Chair Robert J. Harrity Jr.
Board Chair Company Affiliation Executive Committee, Whitney Center; Prof., Dolan Business School at Fairfield University; Professor of Finance, WCOB, Sacred Heart University
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expenses Bar Graph - All Years
Mission Educate Children, Empower Families, Inspire Teachers, Engage Community, Embrace Diversity
Background Friends Center for Children is an independent early childhood education center serving children ages 3 months-5 years in New Haven. We were founded in 2007 by members of the New Haven Friends Meeting (Quaker) to address the critical shortage in high-quality early childhood education opportunities in our community.

In the past year we have done a tremendous amount:

We renovated our basement into a preschool classroom creating & filling 17 new preschool spots & raising our capacity to 104 children & expanded our staff to 35.

We founded NH ChILD New Haven Children’s Ideal Learning District, NH ChILD proposes to revolutionize the early care & education landscape in New Haven, Connecticut by bringing the community together around a common vision of Ideal Learning. Our goal is to provide quality early care & education experiences for all children ages zero to eight.

We enhanced our program called the Adverse Childhood Experiences Program which we started in 2013 to service all of the children, families, & staff in our community. The original goals & objectives in our Adverse Childhood Experiences Program were to:

Identify children who have had adverse childhood experiences & address their needs so they can learn & develop normally

Improve educators’ & parents’ ability to support children who have experienced ACEs

Integrate a social, emotional & mental health component into the early childhood education model

We expanded this program by adding another emotional well-being member (human services worker).

We integrated a social, emotional & mental health component into the early childhood education model by hiring & working with another social work consultant. She helped facilitate all of the above aspects of the program. She came to us with 35 years’ experience in the Hamden Public School system & an extensive understanding of the importance of the development of the whole child. This framework was guided & reinforced by her Quaker beliefs- which helped shape our culture & tone with regard to the effects of ACEs on the children, parents, & teachers in our program.

We received a 5-year NAEYC accreditation with the following scores:

Relationships (100%), Curriculum (100%), Teaching (100%), Assessment of Child Progress (100%), Health (100%), Teachers (100%), Families (100%), Community Relationships (100%), Physical Environment (100%), Leadership & Management (100%), Infant & Toddler portfolio (100%), Preschool Portfolio (100%), Program Portfolio (99%)

We increased our school readiness subsidies by 10 slots


Educate Children: we need funding to publish our curriculum- $15,000.

Engage Community: we need to continue our advocacy work through outreach to the immediate Friends Center community via the Fair Haven Family Stroll: A Festival and Fundraiser to Raise Awareness for High-Quality Early Childhood Education: 10,000.00

Embrace Diversity: We need funds to maintain our sliding scale tuition system.  Currently, 85% of our families fall below the full pay scale.  We need 105,000.00 to maintain our socio-economic diversity. 
CEO Statement

Internally, we educate children by providing year-round, full-time care for children ages 3 months to 5 years through a child-centered learning experience.  Our program is enhanced by the ideals of community, equality, peace, simplicity, truth, and stewardship. Externally, we educate children by working to create a written curriculum to be shared with other early childhood programs.

 Internally, we empower families by entering into a relationship with them through our cooperative program to create a partnership of support for the children at FC. We want families to have the tools to advocate for their child while at FC and in future educational experiences. Externally, we empower families through our free parent workshop series open to Friends Center and greater New Haven parents.

 Internally, we inspire teachers by participating in staff-wide professional development opportunities such as partnering with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence to bring the preschool RULER program to Friends Center. Externally, we inspire teachers by partnering with Gateway Community College and Southern Connecticut State University to create a Friends Center internship program. We have also created a free teacher workshop series open to the entire early childhood community.

Internally, we engage community by joining together to support the children, family and staff at Friends Center. We utilize a parent cooperative system in our program. Every family contributes 1.5 hours per week per adult in the household to our program. We are a stronger, more committed program because of the parent cooperative. Externally, we engage community by having all of our lead teachers serve on New Haven non-profit boards or alliances that support children or families.  We also founded the FAIR HAVEN FAMILY STROLL. Last year, this event brought over 800 community members together for a day of family fun. 

Internally, we embrace diversity by focusing on creating an environment that honors different races, cultures, learning styles, family configurations, religions, socio-economic status and gender. We hope to create a community that reflects no racial majority. We support this initiative through a sliding scale tuition system. Externally, we embrace diversity by advocating for equal access to high quality early childhood education for all young children in the New Haven community through editorials, our blog and speaking engagements.


Board Chair Statement As I was becoming a father, there was no doubt in my mind that things would change about myself and what motivates me.  Many of these things I expected, but so many were surprises. I knew I would fall fiercely in love with my children and become equally intense about their care, but what caught me off guard was how much I soon felt this same innate call to care for every child in need and the inevitable despair of knowing my own limitations of self: time, energy, money, and otherwise. 


Having spent time with the Friends Center for Children as a parent first, I was inspired at how impactful the organization is to the children who are graced with being there.  Becoming more involved as a board member, and then eventually as chair, I have found an outlet for my energy that allows me to know that I am contributing to something bigger than myself, something that is genuinely affecting the lives of children and families for the better.  As we sit in the board room (also a preschool classroom) and tackle the challenges facing our organization, it is this knowledge that keeps me motivated.


Through the tremendous leadership of our Executive Director and our board, we have had cause for many celebrations.  In 2013, we opened a new facility to expand service from 18 to 84 children.  We have developed and implemented a program to aid children who experience trauma.  We have partnered with Yale to act as a pilot site for the RULER (Recognize, Understand, Label, Express, Regulate) program.  Further, in just the last few months, we completed a $4.425-million-dollar capital campaign.    


With our successes come many challenges.  One challenge that we keep at the fore is the need to mature our existing infrastructure to be sure that it can weather future adversities to the organization and guarantee continuity of our mission for years to come.  We are tackling this in a variety of ways: identifying our organizational needs, seeking grant funding to support identified positions, and developing more robust governance polices for our board.  The second major challenge for our organization is to fully express our mission by expanding our program to serve more children and families. With so much need for high quality early childhood education, this challenge is always in our minds.  To address this, we have formed a Strategic Advancement Initiative to explore avenues of expansion: both through dissemination of our practices and through replication of our programs

Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Education / Preschools
Secondary Organization Category Education / Parent & Teacher Groups
Areas Served
East Haven
New Haven
North Haven
West Haven
We serve the New Haven area, most specifically Fair Haven, zip code 06513.

The ACEs Support Program is intended to identify and treat the traumatic effects of adverse childhood experiences ("ACEs") on the development of/in children ages 3 months - 5 years. The program is designed to; intervene before traumatic experiences create permanent effects in young children, to support young children who have been expose to and effected by traumatic events, and to engage parents and educate teachers in addressing early trauma.

The ACEs Program will include a full-time, clinical social worker who will be present in the classroom with our teachers and parents.  Working with classroom teachers, she will develop support plans for students and families. S/he will be in the classroom each day and will work with each group of students at least once per day. Her work will include hands-on care and support.

Population Served Infants to Preschool (under age 5) / Families / At-Risk Populations
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Description We have partnered with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence to bring the RULER program to Friends Center.  The program begins children’s emotional intelligence education and helps them develop the emotional skills and knowledge they need to be ready for school and to succeed in life.

Emotional intelligence underlies children’s ability to regulate their emotions and get along with others – skills critical for building positive relationships and achieving academic success.

Preschoolers develop their skills through many different fun and engaging learning activities, including:

  • circle time lessons
  • small group activities
  • art
  • music and movement
  • games

 RULER is fun and engaging for children. It aligns with early learning standards, and it gives teachers the tools they need to easily integrate RULER into their existing curricula and classroom routines.


Population Served Infants to Preschool (under age 5) / Families / At-Risk Populations
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service. The short-term success of the program are directly proportional to a decrease in frustration in our population- including children,. families and staff.  
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state. This program is designed to create an emotionally literate and aware community. We recognize the success of this program through the increased ability of our children, parents and staff to recognize, express and navigate emotional responses to everyday life.  
NH ChILD proposes to revolutionize the early care and education landscape in New Haven, Connecticut by bringing the community together around a common vision of Ideal Learning. Our goal is to provide quality early care and education experiences for all children ages zero to eight. Research shows that birth through age eight is a critical time of development for all children and forms the foundation for later success. Without access to quality early care and education, New Haven’s youngest children are at risk - academically and socially. However, working together, we can create a district where all children have access to high-quality early childhood programs. We believe New Haven is well poised to serve as a national model for the ideal Learning pilot, given its size, diversity, capacity, and commitment to early childhood.
Population Served Infants to Preschool (under age 5) / At-Risk Populations / Families
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service. Creating partnerships amongst varying stakeholders to realize a grand vision for increasing quality access for all 14,8000 New haven children under the age of 8.
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state.
We propose to create a network of transformation within the Early Childhood landscape by focusing our initiative on Quality and Access pathways. Each pathway includes three workstreams:
Quality & Access
Family Engagement, Empowerment, and Partnerships, Professional Learning & Quality Measures, Degree-Granting & Professionalization of Workforce, Infrastructure, Public Funding/Funding structure,  Common Application
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact.
Program success will be monitored via an outside consulting firm that has created a  data dashboard.
Program Comments
CEO Comments The ONLY obstacle facing these programs are resources. The number one health risk to young children in our country are adults.  The Adverse Childhood Experiences Support Program and the RULER program both work to intervene and circumvent issues caused by early childhood trauma by offering supports to the child, family and educational environment.   
CEO/Executive Director
Ms. Allyx Schiavone
Term Start Sept 2009

Allyx has 28 years of experience in early childhood development & elementary education – as a teacher & administrator in CT & NY. She holds dual Masters’ degrees from Bank Street College of Education in Early Child Development & Elementary Education & a Bachelor’s degree from Union College. She is a New Haven native & maintains ownership in a New Haven real estate development corporation which she managed from 1998-2009. Allyx helped found the QRCG, through which she spearheaded efforts to raise funds from local, state & federal sources to repair the Ferry St. Bridge & launch the comprehensive Quinnipiac Ave. re-do, efforts that required $16 mil. & $21 mil. respectively.

Allyx has served as Program Coordinator for New Haven-based ACES; Early Childhood Classroom Observer for Southern Connecticut State Uni.; & Budget Coordinator for the New Haven Board of Education facilitating a $2 mil. grant. Allyx has taught in NYC, New Haven & Greenwich in several elementary schools & preschool settings, directed summer camps & written & supervised curriculums at elementary, middle & high school levels with an emphasis on literacy, math, science, & multidisciplinary studies.

She serves as an advisory member of the Uni. of New Haven’s Nonprofit Certificate in Leadership, Innovation & Organizational Sustainability & the Mayoral Appointed New Haven Early Childhood Council. She is a recipient of Exchange Magazine’s Master Leader award & of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence Marvin Maurer Spotlight Award. She is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children & a former board member for CT Voices for Children; appointee to the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Reading; leader of the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund Community Leadership Program.

In addition to her work at FC, Allyx is the founder of the NH ChILD, a coalition of local & national early childhood proponents that have come together to create a place-based pilot program in New Haven.

Number of Full Time Staff 30
Number of Part Time Staff 6
Number of Volunteers 170
Number of Contract Staff 31
Staff Retention Rate 97%
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 7
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 15
Hispanic/Latino 7
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 7 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 1
Female 32
Unspecified 3
Senior Staff
Title Assistant Director

Susan came to Friends Center in 2011 as Head Teacher for the Infant/Toddler program.  During Susan's second year with the program, she began phasing into the Assistant Director role. When Friends Center opened the new facility (expanding from 18 children to 55 children) in August, 2013, Susan officially became the Assistant Director.

Susan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Family Studies with a specialization in family support. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of New Hampshire. Susan had been teaching preschool for 5 years before joining the Friends Center Community and has been involved with children and families for over 15 years. 

Susan and her husband recently welcomed their first child. He has now also become part of the Friends Center community when Susan returned from her maternity leave. 
Title Emotional Well-Being Coordinator

Bonnie Muller was raised in a Quaker family in which simplicity, peace, truth, equality, community and stewardship were household words. Following her desire to help create environments where all children have these privileges, she acquired a Bachelor of Arts at Gettysburg College and Master of Social Work degree at the University of Connecticut. After teaching elementary school, she worked briefly at the Gesell Institute of Child Development as a research assistant. From there she moved into community mental health where she promoted programs for children and families in CT and CA. Returning to CT, she worked as a school social worker until her retirement in 2010.

Active in the New Haven Friends Meeting, Bonnie was familiar with the founding spirit behind FCfC and was asked to serve as Mental Health Consultant when the Center opened. When Friends Center acquired a grant to hire a social worker as an in-school resource to address Adverse Childhood Experiences, Bonnie became a member of the staff. The FCfC organization has now adopted the position in which Bonnie continues to serve; she is now known as the Emotional Well-Being Coordinator. Developing emotional intelligence through establishing healthy classroom climates was a hallmark of her work in the public schools and continues to be a focus of her collaboration with children, staff and families. Bonnie also maintains a private practice as a Rubenfeld Synergist and LCSW.


Title Director of Development and Communications

Sarah Kwan has a passion for community development and stewardship along with protection of the environment. She believes the key to attaining these goals is through hands-on, high-quality, accessible education and training and believes this should start from an early age. These passions naturally led her to FCfC both for her children’s education, and for a career. Sarah has a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering which solidified her logical and analytical skills as well and providing her with practical insight and skills in protecting the environment. Her doctoral dissertation and research studies investigated the indoor microbiology of the homes’ and schools’ of Cherokee Nation families with asthmatic children – who have twice the asthma prevalence when compared to non-Native American children. This work, along with her life experiences, led her to become an active advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equity through which she organized and led a series of symposiums and workshops at Yale University centered around overcoming and navigating gender bias. She also designed and conducted a multi-institutional, award-winning study on creating gender safe learning environments.

Sarah has been an active member of the FCfC and New Haven community for several years helping to plan and execute the Fair Haven Family Stroll and Festival for several years as well as donating her time and skills to Friends Center whenever she can. She has a deep love and appreciation for design and communication and is an award-winning presenter that takes pride in producing professional graphical images, presentations, and illustrations. She has a B.A. in Interior Design and several years of professional experience as an Interior Architect and Designer. Her artwork has been featured in several journal articles and published on the covers of a series of fictional novels. She is very excited to be a part of the FCfC community and putting her skills and background to use to help make high-quality early childhood education accessible for all. She is the mother to two awesome children, Zia and Quill, and is married to Thomas Kwan from whom she draws strength and inspiration on a daily basis.

Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Semi-Annually

Gateway Community College 

Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence
Elm City Montessori School
Yale Child Study Center
United Way- Circle of Security Program
NAEYC AccreditationNational Association for the Education of Young Children2014
Friends Council on EducationFriends Council on Education2013
CEO Comments

The challenge facing our organization relate to our extremely rapid growth. The demand for high-quality early childhood education in a comprehensive way is critical.  We have had to make sure that our growth is intentional and thoughtful so that we can be true to our mission and ensure programmatic integrity at all times.

We have achieved growth and success in our current location. We are now exploring scaling in the form of replication and/or dissemination.   Funding remains our major obstacle. We remain clear in our plan. We have a very organized path to achieve success. We need more infrastructure to allow us to move forward with the most integrity.  Added infrastructure requires added funds. This is our challenge.   

Board Chair
Robert J. Harrity Jr.
Company Affiliation Executive Committee, Whitney Center; Prof., Dolan Business School at Fairfield University; Professor of Finance, WCOB, Sacred Heart University
Term July 2018 to Dec 2019
Board of Directors
Ivory BlountRN, Clinical Program Manager, Yale New Haven Hospital
Jane CoppockNew Haven Friends Meeting House
Connie DickinsonRetired, Past Principal of Dickinson Group (Chicago)
Carlos GaloGovernment Partnership Executive & Civic Engagement, SeeClickFix, Inc.
Jessica HerringtonU.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Inspector General
Marnie Kling HalseyRetired, past Director of Advancement, Hopkins School
Joanna MeyerResearch Associate, Yale School of Medicine; Co-director, Partnership for Early Education Research (PEER)
Caroline ParkWiggin Dana LLP
Rose PudlinDirector of Community Programs at Fair Haven Community Health Center
Allyx SchiavoneExecutive Director, Friends Center for Children Fellow, Community Leadership Program Member, New Haven Early Childhood Council Member, School Readiness Provider
Louis SilvaVice President Community Investment Corporation Webster Bank
Henry Villegas
Bill WalkauskasNew Haven Friends Meeting House
OrLando Yarborough IIIYarborough Coaching; BCAY (a Church on Yale's Campus)
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 3
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 9
Hispanic/Latino 3
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 6
Female 9
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 4
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Written Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Risk Management Provisions
Builders Risk
Workers Compensation and Employers' Liability
Board Co-Chair
OrLando Yarborough
Company Affiliation Yarborough Coaching, BCAY (a Church on Yale's Campus)
Term July 2018 to Dec 2019
Standing Committees
Board Governance
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Fiscal Year Start July 01 2018
Fiscal Year End June 30 2019
Projected Revenue $1,572,809.00
Projected Expenses $1,763,127.00
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund Yes
Detailed Financials
Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities Chart
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$3,585,400$3,764,906$3,986,788
Current Assets$469,959$557,899$751,814
Long-Term Liabilities$540,821$586,350$743,290
Current Liabilities$39,200$29,279$111,199
Total Net Assets$3,005,379$3,149,277$3,132,299
Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201720162015
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountDept. of Early Childhood $314,568Seedlings Foundation $100,000 --
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountElle Evans-Simon Foundation $5,000 -- --
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Capitial Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Foundation Staff Comments This profile, including the financial summaries prepared and submitted by the organization based on its own independent and/or internal audit processes and regulatory submissions, has been read by the Foundation. Some financial information from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved has been inputted by Foundation staff. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. A more complete picture of the organization’s finances can be obtained by viewing the attached 990s and audited financials. To see if the organization has received a competitive grant from The Community Foundation in the last five years, please go to the General Information Tab of the profile.
Address 227 E Grand Ave
New Haven, CT 065134102
Primary Phone 203 468-1966
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Allyx Schiavone
Board Chair Robert J. Harrity Jr.
Board Chair Company Affiliation Executive Committee, Whitney Center; Prof., Dolan Business School at Fairfield University; Professor of Finance, WCOB, Sacred Heart University


Related Information

Provide Quality Education

Educate a child and you change a community. For the child, a good education means better career opportunities and higher lifetime earnings. College graduates enjoy better health and are more inclined to volunteer and vote. For the community, supporting our youths’ educational goals results in a stronger society.