(Communication to the Editor)
Apropos of the Sub Commission’s report on the cause and effects of crime, which appeared in the “World” on Sunday, November 18, may I not call your attention to the Educational League for Social Guidance, which has anticipated the Sub Commission’s report and has for the past year been functioning along the very lines which the Commission recommends be undertaken as a public function and a part of the city’s educational system.
The outstanding feature of the Commission’s report, it is important to point out, the establishment within school systems of clinics, for medical, psychological and psychiatric study, has for the past year been a fait accompli, thanks to the Educational League for Social Guidance.
Its activities are today carried on through private funds raised by a group of women, headed by the writer. The supreme importance of corrective environmental influences, as a crime preventive, which led to the League’s organization, and the necessity for a process of mental hygiene was made apparent to the writer and founder of the League through her many years’ experience in the Domestic Relations Court, as the representative of the Council of Jewish Women. This program is now being carried out in several public schools of the city, by a highly specialized staff of psychianists, physicians and psychiatric workers. Although our organization is now only entering upon the second year of its activity, the results obtained are of such a high order, they not only justify of such a high order, they not only justify the vision of the pioneers of this movement but provide effective stimulus to an expansion of our activities.
The League in all its activities lays emphasis upon prevention. Prevention, experience has taught us, must apply not only to the child delinquent but in the majority of cases to the parent as well. Existing delinquency is due in a very large measure to the lack of education of parent or guardian. We operate on the belief that if maladjustment is met and discerned before it has time to penetrate the inner consciousness, the individual can by reeducation and concentration, be led back to the path of normalcy. The League has not been content to adjust the individual to his environment, but has concerned itself with adjusting the environment as well. Individual cases have been studied with emphasis on mental capacity, psychological reaction, home environment and the like. On the basis of these studies many boys and girls have been saved from crime and delinquency and restored to a normal position in the community.
May we say that we have anticipated the Commission in still one other phase. Our program of rehabilitation includes the family as well as the delinquent himself. Mother’s clubs are an essential part of our program, lecures being offered and an attempt made to bring about a mental adjustment to home life. Such a course is now being conducted by Dr. Leonard Blumgart.
I may say that in addition to intensive study, other phases of normal development are not neglected. Dancing classes and dramatic clubs offer a proper background for recreation and outlet. These activities very often have an immediate effect upon the problems of children. Abnormal shyness, often due to a feeling of inferiority, is corrected and the child’s status in the community frequently restored.
Taking parents into our confidence, the League finds that many times a small adjustment in a parent’s attitude toward a child as well as home environment has given the child a finer conception of home life.
May I point out that the work which this group is doing has not only the endorsement but the participation of the following distinguished personalities who form our Advisory Board: Dr. Alfred Adler, Dr. A. A. Brill, Mrs. Sydney C. Borg, head of the Jewish Board of Guardians, Dr. Alvin Johnson, head of the School of Social Research, Dr. M. M. Kaplan, of the Society for the Advancement of Judaism, Dr. Helen Montague, Children’s Court Psychiatrist, M. J. Karpf, head of the Jewish Social Service Bureau, Judge D. Levy, Magistrate Jean H. Norris, Everett D. Martin, Dean of the People’s Institute.
Very sincerely yours,
MRS. HAROLD SPIELBERG.
New York, November 23, 1928.
WARBURG INCREASES GIFT TO FEDERATION TO $75,000
An additional contribution of $25,000 was made by Felix M. Warburg to the New York Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies, bringing his total gift for the year to $75,000, according to an announcement by Dudley D. Sicher, chairman of the Business Men’s Council.
Frederick Brown, president of the Hospital for Joint Diseases, has also given $75,000.