FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer Visits Bowen Center

PHOTOS: Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer visits Harlem’s Emma L. Bowen Community Service Center, greeting healthcare clients and commending dedicated staff and leadership

Borough President Brewer tours trusted, longtime Upper Manhattan mental health services facility founded by community activist and recently visited and commended by former
Mayor David N. Dinkins

HARLEM, NEW YORK— This week, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer visited the Emma L. Bowen Community Service Center, one of Harlem’s leading community-based organizations dedicated to providing supportive behavioral health services.

The Bowen Center serves over 10,000 clients annually. With a staff of highly trained, culturally experienced psychologists, social workers, nurses, chemical dependency counselors, case managers, vocational rehabilitation counselors and early childhood teachers, the center offers services that include a therapeutic preschool for children with behavioral and developmental issues, programs for adults and seniors with mental health and substance abuse issues, chemical abuse outpatient programs and mental health-based services for children, adolescents and their families, as well as a twenty-bed residential chemical abuse recovery facility and a food pantry program.

“We were delighted to introduce Borough President Gale Brewer to several of our clients today,” said Patricia C. Jordan, Chair of the Board of Directors. “The Borough President took the time to speak with our clients about the issues that brought them to the Bowen Center. She celebrated their progress and encouraged them to continue on their paths. She also met with staff members to learn more about our individual programs and expressed her thanks for their commitment to helping others. It was a very engaging and fulfilling visit, and we look forward to working with the Borough President to continue the Bowen Center’s mission to enable individuals and families, regardless of age, to effectively and productively meet challenges and cope with ongoing ‘problems of living.'”

The Bowen Center was the brainchild of longtime Upper Manhattan community activist Emma L. Bowen. As a social justice advocate and mental health professional Ms. Bowen worked tirelessly to help establish a community-based organization that would be committed to recognizing the dignity and humanity of those who struggle with mental health issues. In 1969, she established the nonprofit organization that would be the catalyst for the Upper Manhattan Mental Health Center, which opened its doors in 1986.

Following her death in 1996, the facility was renamed Emma L. Bowen Community Service Center in her honor. More information about the Emma L. Bowen Community Service Center can be found at []


Image Captions

Photo 1: Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Director of the Northern Manhattan Office Athena Moore visit the food pantry at the Emma L. Bowen Community Service Center. This critical community resource provides nearly 50,000 meals each year. Left to right: Athena Moore; Bowen Center Executive Director William Witherspoon; Gale Brewer; Food Pantry Manager Vandina St. Hilaire; Bowen Center Deputy Director Larry Fowler; Bowen Center Chair of Board of Directors Patricia Jordan; and Bowen Center volunteer Juan.

Photo 2: Manager Vandina St. Hilaire discusses the daily operations of the food pantry and its community impact with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. Throughout the week, the pantry supplies both regular and emergency assistance to individuals in need.

Photo 3: Bowen Center Executive Director William Witherspoon and Chair of the Board of Directors Patricia Jordan lead Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer on a complete tour of the facility.

Photo 4: Dawn Miranda, Director of Chemical Dependency for the Bowen Center, shares an overview of her department’s services with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

Photo 5: Charles Kellam, a supervisor in the Bowen Center’s Adult Outpatient Clinic, speaks with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Athena Moore during the site visit.

Photo 6: Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer meets with members of the Bowen Center’s Rainbow Clubhouse.

Photo 7: Rainbow Clubhouse Director Nadine Arias and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer discuss the program’s positive impact on the daily lives of the center’s members who suffer from serious and persistent mental illness.

Photo 8: Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer enjoys a visit to the center’s Therapeutic Preschool guided by Program Director Trudy Murray.

Photo 9: Bowen Center Executive Director William Witherspoon and Deputy Director Larry Fowler engage in a robust conversation with the Borough President about what the center needs to best serve its at-risk population, with a particular emphasis on technological improvements. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer is a self-described “techie” and for 7 years chaired the New York City Council’s Technology Committee.

About Gale A. Brewer

Gale Brewer is the 27th and current Borough President of Manhattan. Elected to the position in 2013, she handles land-use and zoning issues in Manhattan, appoints members to community boards, and introduces legislation in the City Council. She previously represented the Upper West Side on the City Council for 12 years, serving as Chair of the Technology Committee and the Government Operations Committee.

Brewer’s distinguished career in public service has also included positions as Chief of Staff to Council Member Ruth Messinger, NYC Deputy Public Advocate, Director of the NYC Federal Office, and Executive Director of Mayor Dinkins’ Commission on the Status of Women. She has served as Project Manager for the NYC Nonprofits Project at CUNY’s Graduate Center and managed an affordable housing project for the Telesis Corporation. Brewer holds an MPA from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and undergraduate degrees from Columbia University and Bennington College.

About Emma L. Bowen Community Service Center

The Emma L. Bowen Community Service Center enables individuals and families, regardless of age, to effectively and productively meet the many challenges within today’s scope of “problems of living” by providing comprehensive community services in a caring environment.

The Center consists of highly trained, culturally competent health care professionals that include psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses, alcohol/drug counselors, case managers, vocational rehabilitation counselors, and early childhood teachers. We have a multilingual staff fluent in Spanish and French.

The Emma L. Bowen Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community based organization established in 1969 and licensed by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York State Office of Mental Health, New York State Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Services, and New York State Department of Education.

About Emma L. Bowen

Emma L. Bowen, the founding president of the Upper Manhattan Mental Health Center, Inc was a community activist, fighter for justice, founder, and president of Black Citizens for a Fair Media (BCFM) and co-founder of the Foundation for Minority Interest In Media, a foundation that has been re-named in her honor.

As a mental health professional and being active in the community of Upper Manhattan, Emma worked with William F. Hatcher and the community to help establish the Upper Manhattan Mental Health Center Inc. in 1986, as a not-for-profit, community based organization.

During Mrs. Bowen’s lifetime, she was a media spokesperson for her many causes, testified at the FCC on minorities and the media, and received many awards for her significant contributions to community health and serving the needs of the mentally challenged. As a grandmother, she received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Fordham University, and continued her active participation as an advocate for equality in the media and for mental health services until her death in 1996.

Her work lives on in the thousands of men and women of color who write, produce, direct, report, perform and manage in the television stations and networks of America, as well as the thousands of families, adults, children and senior citizens who have and continue to receive mental health, substance abuse, food, job skills and other supportive services from the Upper Manhattan Mental Health Center, Inc., now known as the Emma L. Bowen Community Service Center.