| RAPHELL SIMS LAKOWITZ
Born September 22, 1948, Raphell Sims Lakowitz attended New York City public schools. She was an honor student and an active member of the student body. Early on, responding to her innate warmth and compassion, Raphell chose to be a psychologist. As a psychology major at Queens College, Raphell was selected to participate in special seminars and research projects at Brooklyn State Hospital and Biometric Laboratories.
Her volunteer work at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center was instrumental in establishing an ongoing student volunteer program at that institution. This program helped to break down long standing barriers between the community and hospitalized patients. As a supervised undergraduate student, Raphell worked with all types of patients and all types of professionals at Creedmoor. After being trained, she conducted group therapy sessions with chronic schizophrenics.
Continuing on the career path established at an early age, Raphell enrolled
in the New School for Social Research following graduation from Queens
College. Here, she earned a Master's Degree in psychology and completed the
course work for her Ph.D. She was awarded a National Defense Education Act
Fellowship and was one of the three students nominated for the National Science
As a graduate student, Raphell worked with emotionally disturbed adolescents
at Hillside Hospital, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, and was involved in
research in Prenatal Project conducted at Harlem Hospital, which she published in the Journal of the Society for Research in Child Development.
Raphell was an associate member of the American Psychological Association,
the New York State Chapter of the American Psychological Association, and a
member of the Society for Research in Child Development.
Following completion of her graduate studies, Raphell entered private
psychotherapy practice. She was engaged in practice until 1978, when she died of
an aneurysm, at the age of 29.
"Raphell" - The Story of a Statue
by Lenore and Irving Lakowitz
The statue shown above was dedicated on October 26, 1983, at Creedmoor
Psychiatric Center, Queens Village, N.Y., before a distinguished group of
government, community, and mental health leaders. The statue memorializes
Raphell Sims Lakowitz, who died suddenly of an aneurysm in 1978. She was 29. She
was our only child.
In 1969, while she was at Queens College, Raphell decided it was not enough
to study psychology out of books. She wanted to experience what it is really
like to work with the mentally afflicated.
She convinced a friend to join her-and she and her friend were the first
student volunteers to walk into the office of Rita Amatulli, Director of
Volunteers at Creedmoor, to offer their help. Up to that time, volunteer work in
mental health facilities had been done only by adults.
During the first year she worked there, Raphell brought 62 friends from
Queens College to volunteer at Creedmoor. Patients and staff loved her.
Because of Raphell's leadership, a whole new way of working with patients
developed throughout the field of mental health.
Her convictions so touched the hearts of those with whom she had contact that
her spirit continues to be an inspiration. Because of Raphell's concern with
people who suffer disabilities of any nature, we have endeavored to continue her
life's work in many areas, particularly at Creedmoor where she devoted herself
as a volunteer serving the mentally afflicted.
The statue, "Raphell," is the culmination of an idea and vision which formed
in Lenore Lakowitz's mind in 1979 because of an offer made to us by Creedmoor to
help beautify a large reflecting pool on the institution's grounds in memory of
The pool is located in front of the institution's community center, which was
redesignated as the "Raphell Sims Lakowitz Community Activity Center."
We felt that a statue of Raphell, symbolizing her spirit, would be
appropriate in that it would create visual beauty that would bring light and joy
into the lives of the residents and all others who view it. We hoped it would
inspire more public interest in mental health.
To create the statue, we engaged the world famous sculptor, Bruno Lucchesi,
whose works are on display in countries around the world.
The concept we brought to Mr. Lucchesi-and which he executed-involved a
figure in Raphell's likeness with her arms outstretched, standing near rocks,
water flowing from the rocks onto her hands symbolizing Raphell's radiant spirit
of giving love and energy.
Shortly before she died, Raphell wrote a beautiful poem to Barry, the young
man she was about to marry. Two lines from that poem, which capture so well her
spirit, were the inspiration for the design of the statue. These lines appear on
the plaque set into the rim of the reflecting pool.
Lakowitz applicants may apply in April-May each year. To apply for the Lakowitz Award, please complete and submit this form to the Psychology Dept office.