The 4th Annual Masquerade Ball to Unmask Child Abuse - a Venetian-style, fancy-dress evening on Saturday, November 16 at Serafina at the IC - will recognize two individuals who have devoted their careers to protecting Fairfield County children. The event benefits HELP for KIDS: An Exchange Club Parenting Skills Center, an organization that halts the cycle of abuse and neglect while building safer and more loving families.
The Stamford Exchange Club hosts the Ball, in keeping with its mission of child abuse prevention. To purchase tickets, become a sponsor, make a donation and learn more, visit ecsunmaskchildabuse.dojiggy.com.
Dr. Harry Adamakos, the 2019 Honoree, will be recognized for his dedication to protecting Fairfield County children from child abuse and neglect and for his distinguished career advocating for children and families. Since 1995, he has provided expertise and invaluable clinical support to HELP for KIDS and its dedicated parent educators, helping them break a cycle of abuse that, without intervention, can plague generations of families.
Known as “Dr. A” at HELP for KIDS, he has extensive experience working with children, teens, and adults in various service capacities, including work in the state hospital system, at a DCF-operated day treatment facility, and with the Child Guidance Center of Greater Bridgeport. For 25 years, State Courts have recognized him as an expert in clinical and forensic psychology. He conducts psychological and forensic custody evaluations, provides co-parent coordination, helps mediate high-conflict divorces as a Special Master, and serves as a Guardian ad Litem for children - always with the purpose of furthering the best interests of children.
He has pursued varied research interests early in his academic career, including recognizing how maternal social supports help to prevent child abuse, appreciating how religious affiliation and spiritual identification can improve psychological functioning, and understanding the modeling effects of violence on children in a more nuanced way. These interests shaped his early work as a Crisis Care Coordinator and a Child and Family Therapist.
In the late 1980s, he began providing clinical services for a Family Reunification Program and a Parent-Aide Program. In that capacity, he came to know HELP for KIDS’ Donna Miller, who brought him to the organization as a consultant. The Bridgeport, CT resident also provides ongoing consultation to Stratford Community Services, the Stamford School-Based Health Centers, and Kids in Crisis in Greenwich. He maintains his private practice in Bridgeport, as well as an office in Cos Cob.
Donna Miller, who holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Human Resource Development and has been with The Exchange Club Parenting Skills Center since its inception 30 years ago, will receive Special Recognition. She has heightened awareness, throughout Fairfield County, about the need for child abuse prevention and has long advocated for home-centered intervention services that treat individual families and bring about family transformation. Miller guided the growth of the Center in numerous leadership roles, working as a supervisor, a facilitator of groups, the Center’s coordinator and its Executive Director.
Miller has been a member of the local child protection team, the Regional Advisory Committee and the Family Enrichment Coalition. The Stratford, CT resident has sat on the Board of Directors for the YMCA, has been a guest speaker at Yale University and Sacred Heart University, and is a widely-sought-after lecturer in the community.
HELP for KIDS: An Exchange Club Parenting Skills Center keeps Fairfield County children safe while working to build safer, more resilient, and more loving families. The Stamford-based, non-profit agency has assisted over 12,000 local children since its founding and serves hundreds of at-risk families every year. Its experienced parent educators work closely with individual families to provide research-based, home-centered interventions and to teach safe-parenting - an approach that is highly-effective. The independent 501(c)3 organization (previously known as The Exchange Club Parenting Skills Center) is located at 141 Franklin Street in Stamford, CT. (203)327-9419.