Programs & Services

Friends of Firefighters has been of great help to me through their counseling, acupuncture, and peak performance coaching services. Without their help I do not know where I would be today. My family has their husband, father, and friend again.

- Retired FDNY firefighter

Friends of Firefighters understands the common effects of the job on the active and retired firefighter and your family such as stress, anxiety, insomnia, injury and sickness, strains on relationships and family life, loneliness after retirement, or struggles with addiction. We also know that it can be hard to ask for help, especially for a community who is used to helping others.

Friends of Firefighters provides counseling and wellness services that are independent, confidential, and free of charge.

Consider which service(s) will benefit you and contact us with any questions or to make an appointment. If you recognize a need not listed here, please contact us to discuss. During business hours we always have a pot of coffee on and a kitchen table to sit around, so feel free to drop by.

 *Requires advance sign up or appointment

Counseling Program*

Thanks to the van Ameringen Foundation, we are able to offer expanded mental health hours. See hours below and contact us to make an appointment.

Brooklyn, 199 Van Brunt Street: Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays 9AM – 5PM; Wednesdays & Thursdays 9AM – 2:30PM / Stephanie Cherry, LCSW & Justin Kennard, LCSW

Manhattan, 1133 Broadway: Wednesdays & Fridays, flexible hours / Lauren Johnson, LMFT

Queens, Shops at Atlas Park, Suite 8-308 (3rd floor above Homegoods): Thursdays 8-5PM & Fridays 8-2:30PM / Lauren Johnson, LMFT

Staten Island, 950 W. Fingerboard Road, Staten Island: Mondays and Tuesdays, 9-5PM / Kristina Hamilton, LCSW

Woodbury, 136 Woodbury Road: Tuesdays 1PM – 5PM / Lauren Johnson, LMFT

Meet with a licensed counselor to address trauma, anxiety, depression, retirement adjustment, anger management, addiction, relationships at home, and other issues. Meet our licensed counselors on the staff page, and feel free to call with questions.

How FoF battles the mental health stigma

Information on counseling & children

Peer Support Program

The Peer Support Program is two fold, with one-on-one and group opportunities:

One-on-One / Connect with a Peer Supporter: Speak directly with someone who understands the job. Peers are active or retired firefighters and family members. Conversations can happen in person or over the phone. Read more about this piece of the program here and call us to be connected to a trained peer supporter.

Group / On the Arm Breakfast: Often what firefighters want and need is the support and guidance of one of their “brothers” or “sisters”.  The firehouse-style kitchen provides a comfortable atmosphere for peers to connect with one another. One part of the program is our monthly On the Arm Breakfast with Tony Cat and Pete Calascione, retired firefighters. Breakfasts are held the second Wednesday of every month; drop in between 8AM – 11AM.

Group / Firehouse Kitchen Talk: Dinner prepared by firefighters, for firefighters the last Tuesday of every month from 7PM – 10PM at Friends of Firefighters. John Vigiano L176, Tommy Ryan L155, Al Benjamin R1, Danny Prince L156, Dennis Amodio R1, and Tony Catapano E202 share their experiences on the job. No need to RSVP.

Women’s Group

Brooklyn, 199 Van Brunt StreetEvery other Thursday 11:30AM – 1PM, drop-ins welcome / Stephanie Cherry, LCSW 

Wives, partners, and girlfriends connect over topics regarding family and relationship, moderated by a counselor. The group is geared to provide emotional support to the important females in the firefighter’s life.

Yoga

Staten Island, Next Step Dance Studio, 6264 Amboy Road: Wednesdays 10:00 – 11:00AM / Felecia Kutch

Rockaway Park, 181 Beach 116h Street, 2nd Floor: Tuesdays 7:30 – 8:30PM / Cecilia & Friends

Rejuvenate your body, increase flexibility, and gain an overall sense of calm through beginner level yoga poses. Felecia Maria Kutch and Cecilia Rudden are certified yoga teachers and are both married to FDNY firefighters, so understand the strains of the job and the endurance that the body needs on a daily basis. All levels are welcome and mats are provided.

(Felecia's) calm, karma type personality combined with her genuine love of yoga made such a difference (from) any class I had taken before.

- Wife of retired FDNY firefighter

The Friends of Firefighters Yoga class is a wonderful reprieve from the chaos of our lives since Superstorm Sandy destroyed our home. I even take my children with me. Cecilia has a calming effect on everyone in her class and I feel we all leave with a renewed sense of balance and peace.

- Jacqueline, Wife of FDNY fire chief

Peak Performance Coaching Using Biofeedback*

Brooklyn, 199 Van Brunt Street: Wednesdays 10AM – 1PM

Manhattan, 1133 Broadway: Fridays 10AM – 1PM 

Rita Desyatnik, MS, a board certified Biofeedback Coach, provides Peak Performance Coaching using Biofeedback, which is used for improving job performance and to help with many issues, as listed below. Sessions are individual and 50 minutes long.

Coaching can help with:  Maximizing Scott Pak Use – Anxiety – Panic Attacks – Developing Self-Regulation Skills – Annual Fitness Test and Sports Performance – Insomnia – Attention  & Attention Disorders – Depression – Asthma – Chronic Pain – Anger Management  – Heart Arrhythmias –Tension Headaches  – High Blood Pressure – Claustrophobia

Information on biofeedback & children

Before calling Friends of Firefighters I was suffering from anxiety and frustration on the job. In the last couple of years every time the tones would go off I would lose my breath, my heart rate would go through the roof, and I would sometimes, for a second, forget what to do. Rita has shown me through biofeedback how to control my breathing, increase my lung capacity, lower my frustration levels and most of all decrease my anxiety. All this has also helped in my everyday life. The biofeedback program has helped me increase my awareness of self-control, has helped me regain concentration, focus, and awareness.

- Active FDNY firefighter

Financial Guidance*

Brooklyn, 199 Van Brunt Street: Mondays 10AM – 3PM

Bronx – Location Flexible

Karen Donnelly, sister of Fire Marshal Matthew Donnelly, offers assistance and resources on questions of life insurance, wills, and financial counseling. Karen holds a Series 6 license, Series 63 license, and is licensed as an insurance broker and insurance agent.

City of Berlin Scholarship / Checkpoint Charlie Foundation

This one year scholarship is funded by the Checkpoint Charlie Foundation and is open to college-age children with parents who were either killed or whose health was permanently impaired as a result of the attacks on September 11, 2001. Students who are entering college, as well as those who are already enrolled, are encouraged to apply. More information and the application can be found here.

For two other scholarships, separate from FoF, but related to firefighters and 9/11, visit our resources page and scroll down to NY State Higher Education Services Corporation.

Disaster Relief

When disaster strikes and affects the FDNY firefighting community, FoF coordinates immediate assistance where needed. Long term support continues through our counseling and wellness services. Most recently FoF was proud to be able to assist in the wake of Hurricane Sandy – learn more about how to give and get assistance, resources, and the impact FoF made in our Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

 *Requires advance sign up or appointment

FoF Services Locations

Needs Assessment Survey

In order to serve you better, we ask you to participate in a brief, anonymous survey related to current and potential new services. Get started here.