About Us

Hallways has been working with New York City independent schools for over 30 years. During that time, we have grown and evolved along with best practices in the field of substance use prevention - and today we offer comprehensive, research-based social-emotional programs for middle and upper school youth, and capacity building workshops for K-12 parents and educators.

Our Mission

Hallways partners with students, parents, and educators to prevent high-risk behaviors and promote social-emotional wellbeing in high-achieving school communities.

Because young people in these communities are part of an unrecognized, at-risk population, we seek to engage and educate school communities about ways to elevate young people's social-emotional needs and capacities. We aim to identify and address the specific risk and protective factors facing young people in high-achieving, elite school settings in order to help them develop into healthy, caring, connected adults.

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Our Vision

Hallways envisions a future in which students in independent school communities:

  • Develop skills for healthy coping, courageous decision making and empathetic relationships across difference
  • Understand their self-worth is rooted in who they are and not what they accomplish;
  • Prioritize their own social-emotional well-being and that of others;
  • Analyze social norms and interrupt harmful patterns of thought and behavior;
  • Feel supported by adults in navigating the unique challenges of growing up in high-achieving, affluent school cultures.

Our Approach

Hallways utilizes the findings of youth development research in combination with the insight gleaned from our 30 years of experience in the independent schools in New York City to develop customized prevention and social-emotional wellness programming for school communities. Through our work, we hear firsthand about the realities young people face today and we continually refine our work to best respond to their needs.

Hallways identifies the areas where young people need support, shares feedback and findings about risk and protective factors with educators and parents, and teaches students skills that promote their wellbeing and reduce their likelihood of engaging in substance use and other risky behaviors.

We draw from two bodies of research: strategic prevention research, which we rely on for guidance about what works to prevent risky behaviors for youth; and the growing field of research on youth growing up in affluent cultures.

Strategic Prevention

Best practices within prevention research tell us that programs that emphasize scare tactics, facts and statistics, and cautionary tales are ineffective because they do not address the underlying stressors and cultural messages that motivate risky behaviors. Whether we are looking at substance use, microaggressions and harassment, or anxiety and perfectionism, research shows that in order to prevent risky and destructive behaviors, we need to address harmful norms and attitudes and foster social and emotional health within individuals and their communities.

Affluent School Setting

Research on substance use and other high-risk behaviors has established that young people growing up in the culture of affluence face a significant amount of pressure to be successful, and that the stress caused by this pressure (especially when coupled with more unsupervised time, increased access to drugs and alcohol, and rigid gender norms) puts these young people at a heightened level of risk for negative behaviors and mental health outcomes.

Our Team

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Rachel Henes, LMSW

Director

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Natalie Zuckerman, EdM

Assistant Director

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Desireé Caro, MSW

Assistant Director

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Sarah Zlotowitz, LMSW

Program Manager, School Relations
and Curriculum Development

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Sarah Díaz, MSW

Research and Communications Coordinator

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A. Jordan Wright, PhD, ABAP

Consulting Psychologist

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