Harmony Station is a mock subway station in the lower level of our Danbury Child Guidance Center. It contains a subway car play space and five shops: The Cozy Ski Chalet, Pick N Play Game Shop, Good Sports, Positive Space Art Shop and the What’s Up Newsstand. All of the items in these shops are new and free to our children and their families. They are donated by groups or individuals who host drives or funded by friends and supporters.
Harmony Station was developed as an incentive program to reduce no-show rates and encourage our kids to attend their sessions regularly, to talk about difficult subjects and to reward them for doing the hard work of healing.
Like learning any new skill, learning the skills and techniques needed to manage or recover from mental illness or trauma requires regular practice. That means our kids need to attend therapy regularly in order to learn to manage their symptoms and behaviors so they can improve and heal.
The children receive a Harmony Station metro card to track attendance. After 5 appointments they turn in their metro ticket for a Golden Ticket which can be redeemed for any item in the shops at monthly events.
The shops in Harmony Station also help to meet some of the year-round basic needs of our families in a fun, dignified and empowering manner. Over 90% of the children we treat are on Husky insurance. This means they meet federal poverty guidelines.
New, free, coats, pajamas, boots, hats, gloves, school supplies and back packs are always available. The children can choose the exact color, size and style they like themselves. For some, this may be the first new coat or back pack they have ever had.
All of the children are encouraged to take a book from the Newsstand. Siblings are welcome to join in the fun and can choose a book and a pair of pajamas as well. We give out about 70 books each month through the Newsstand.
Close to 100 items are given out from Harmony Station each month, half or more of which are sporting goods and games.
Now Departing... The Lexi Express!
The Lexi Express is the name for the mock subway car play space. It was named after one of the children in our group homes who was very fast and very loved.
The Lexi Express has real subway car features like leather hand holds over head, advertising signage on the walls, bench seating and a “Mind the Gap" sticker marking the doorway to the car. Kids can pretend to drive it and use the faux controls in the front cabin. Out the front widow of the subway car you can see a glow in the dark mural depicting the lights of another subway car above a piece of a real subway track.
The whoosh of doors opening and closing, passengers footsteps rushing to catch the next car, and subway cars arriving and departing are heard in the background thanks to the motion activated soundtrack playing overhead.
The Good Sport Shop
The Good Sport Shop is our most popular store. The Good Sport Shop is intended to encourage physical and recreational activity during all seasons. The majority of items we give out each month come from the Good Sport Shop with the most popular items being soccer balls, basketballs and hobby horses!
Like the other Harmony Station shops, all the items in the Good Sport Shop are new, with the exception of bicycles. Gently used bicycles are accepted. Safety equipment is also provided when needed.
Items needed to keep the Good Sport Shop stocked are:
What’s Up Newsstand
All subway stations have a newsstand and ours is no exception! The What’s Up Newsstand hosts a wide selection of new and gently used books to appeal to children of all ages. From picture books to anime, we try to stock it all. Every child is encouraged to take a book and so are they're siblings!
We give out up to1,200 backpacks at back-to-school time. School supplies and back packs are also free, and are available year round to help replenish these essential learning supplies for our families in financial need.
Items needed to keep the Newsstand stocked are:
Cartoon/TV Characters Books
Books in Spanish
Cozy Ski Chalet
The Cozy Ski Chalet provides new, coats, hats, gloves, scarves, boots and other winter wear items for our children in the winter, and swimsuits, towels and other items needed for camp during the summer. The Ski Chalet allows us to meet basic needs like warm clothing in a dignified and empowering manner.
Kids love the Ski Chalet because they get to choose their own items in whatever color and style they like! In 2015 we distributed over 300 new coats (as well as several hundred used coats outside of the Cozy Ski Chalet.)
The sizes we need most are older adolescent, teen and young adult sizes. Items needed to keep the Ski Chalet stocked are:
Snow Pants/Snow Suits
Pick N Play Shop
Our Pick N Play Shop provides new board games, card games and puzzles for the children we treat. These activities are meant to encourage positive, fun, family and peer social interactions. A small amount of stuffed animals are also available in the Pick N Play Shop. We give out about 40 games per month.
Any new board game, card game or puzzle is welcome. Especially popular are:
Chutes and Ladders
The Positive Space Art Shop
The Positive Space Art Store offers arts & craft supplies, coloring books, and items that encourage creativity and self expression. Favorite items include paint kits, craft kits and adult design coloring books, but anything used to create and express is welcome!
Items needed to stock the art store are: