Charitable Trust Helps Meet Needs of Those With Autism

PCDA Executive Director Diane Cullinane and Firestone Estate trustee Marilynn Garcia celebrate the $500,000 donation.
PCDA Executive Director Diane Cullinane and Firestone Estate trustee Marilynn Garcia celebrate the $500,000 donation.

Professional Child Development Associates has received a $500,000 donation from the Mose J. and Sylvia Dilman Firestone Charitable Trust to expand its ability to serve children with autism or other developmental challenges, and their families.

The Firestone gift will help PCDA add staffing in its child and family counseling department, increasing the agency’s ability to meet the local need for mental healthcare for children and families affected by developmental disabilities. PCDA plans to hire a second staff psychologist as well as a marriage and family therapist with an art therapy credential to enhance its current counseling and creative arts programs. The Firestone gift will also support the adapted drama workshop PCDA is piloting in partnership with the Pasadena Playhouse, a new “vocational discovery” program for teens and young adults, and provide funds to expand training and research.
“We are tremendously grateful to the Firestone Charitable Trust for this gift that will play a critical role in helping PCDA meet a growing need,” said Dr. Diane Cullinane, PCDA’s executive director. “So many families struggle to access high-quality mental healthcare for their children or for the whole family. PCDA is a leader in providing that care, and we are eager to serve even more children, teens and their parents and siblings.”
PCDA Chairman Eric Kaufman added, “The gift from the Firestone Charitable Trust is transformational for PCDA. It enables us to grow in ways that are critical for our agency and for our clients. We are humbled to have been selected for this generous donation, and we look forward to honoring the legacy of the Firestones by expanding our good work.”
Mose and Sylvia Firestone were both recognized by the National Association of Social Workers as “social work pioneers,” seeking to demonstrate that counseling is a professional service that should be available to anyone. Mose J. Firestone (1915-2011) practiced in children and family social service agencies and hospital psychiatric social services, and maintained a private practice for more than 50 years. He served as a member of the Venice Family Clinic board and president of the board of the Los Angeles Retarded Children’s Foundation. Sylvia Dilman Firestone (1915-2009) was a leader in clinical social work services to children, families, veterans and the sick. She was director of clinic services at the Reiss Davis Child Study Center in Los Angeles.
PCDA strives to improve the quality of life for children with autism and other developmental disabilities and their families in greater Pasadena, Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley by providing therapies and services grounded in the DIR philosophy. Using this play-based approach in child and family counseling, creative arts, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, and programs that include individual and group social-emotional interventions, PCDA clinicians helped more than 1,100 children, teens and young adults in 2017.
For more information about PCDA, contact Franci Levine-Grater at (626) 793-7350, ext. 289, or email development@pcdateam.org.

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