Mar 06

National Professional Social Work Month

March is recognized as National Professional Social Work Month. 

On behalf of the FCSSC Board of Trustees, I want to take a moment to recognize the incredible professionals at Family and Community Services of Somerset County who provide critical and compassionate care to the residents of Somerset County and the surrounding areas.  Each day our dedicated clinicians create a healthy counseling environment that provides encouragement and essential support to the individuals and families we serve.  While others focus on lifelong earnings as a way to measure success, our clinicians focus on being experts in care coordination, case management, and treatment.  They confront some of the most challenging issues facing individuals, families, and society and forge solutions that help people reach their full potential and make our community a better place to live.

Did you know..

  • Social work has been around since 1750 BC. The Babylonia “Code of Justice” was the first recorded requirement for people to help one another during times of hardship.
  • Professional Social Workers are the nation’s largest providers of mental health services. Social workers provide more mental health services than psychologists, psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses combined.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for social workers is expected to grow twice as fast as any other occupation, especially in gerontology, home healthcare, substance abuse, private social service agencies, and school social work.

Thank you for your efforts toward FCSSC, they are much appreciated.

Richard Schumann, FCSSC Executive Director

Feb 06

Find your purpose and make it count in the community

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Mary Cole featured left at FCSSC 5k.

I have been on the Board of Family and Community Services of Somerset County for several years now. During my time with the organization, I have learned that I have a lot to learn. FCSSC is fortunate to have Board members, staff, and volunteers who all possess a wealth of knowledge and talent. Each person involved on the team came to FCSSC with different motivations and with a different perspective on life.

My motivation was to give back to the community that I live and work in. I live in the neighboring town to FCSSC, and have for almost my entire life. I moved away briefly for college, but came back, and saw the world with new eyes. My job as a Program Assistant in the Therapeutic Recreation Department, at the Somerset County Parks Commission puts me into daily contact with people who are struggling to cope with the demands of daily life, and who need the type of emotional and practical support that FSSC provides. I have always been involved in community service in some way, from Girl Scouts all throughout school to literacy tutoring in college, but volunteering my time at FSSC has given me a new perspective. Helping others is less of an abstract idea when you consider that so many of our neighbors, co-workers, friends and family members may be in need.

Part of my newfound perspective has been finding what I am passionate about. The staff and volunteers at FCSSC truly lead by example, and have a passion for what they do. My work and involvement at FCSSC has inspired me to go back to college for a second Bachelor’s degree, so that I can become even more involved in the community, and contribute in a tangible way. I am studying to be a high school English teacher, and hope to work towards a Master’s degree in Special Education.

I have found my purpose, and the opportunity to engage with FCSSC and working towards those goals are invaluable. Follow your passion, find your purpose, and find a way to make it count. If someone has even a spark of interest in volunteering their time and talents to FCSSC, they would be welcomed by the Board and staff—we all share a desire to serve the people in our community and we hope you’ll join us!

-Mary Cole, FCSSC Board Member

Jan 16

Donate Time Not Just Money

Message from Rachael Wolensky, Board Secretary and Social Media Manageraaeaaqaaaaaaaaldaaaajdu2zte1zjq3ltq3nzutndu1my1iy2rlltk4n2findnmztkzna

As I start to implement my New Years Resolutions, I think how over the past year I have donated not just the little bit of money I have to an amazing organization like FCSSC but my time, knowledge and resources I have available at my fingertips.

Not everyone realizes the value you can provide towards your community with just a simple act as time. Yes, everyone has busy schedules running around with work, exercise and trying to have a social life, just to name a few, but it’s the idea that you can give back to your community, OUR community with just an hour or two a week.

Although I am young, before I even entered college I was taught to help those around you as much as you can. Donating my clothes, shoes, books, supplies, but most of all my mom taught me your time can ultimately help a community flourish. I continue to do those simple things for the Red Cross, Cancer Society and more over the years. To this day I even collect pop tabs from soda cans so that once I have enough I can share it with the Ronald McDonald House and help those kids in need – a charity that also helps kids but one I have been helping since I became of sister of Alpha Delta Pi that also valued time spent helping others.

I began working with FCSSC about two years ago as a part of my Masters Project from Quinnipiac, it quickly became apparent to me that I wasn’t saying yes and taking on this to just complete a project, but it was wanting to fulfill a need for myself that I knew my time and knowledge would be best used to help wonderful people explain their message, goals and vision to help those in need of the agency’s services.

I may not be as knowledgeable about mental health and addictions as I would like, but over the past two years I have come to see the value in what I have created with FCSSC and the amazing people within the agency. I have met some remarkable people that have not only been a part of the agency, but the board that I am actively a part of. Due to the amazing efforts I have seen I now help as the board secretary, help manage the website and social media programs by developing the Facebook page and bringing FCSSC onto Twitter while assisting in fund raising events and efforts.

I hope as you reflect over the past year and determine what you wish to accomplish in 2017, that you will realize that you can help others with not just money to help FCSSC flourish in the areas we need to survive as a business to help those in need, but to donate your time, knowledge and energy to help our community succeed.

Dec 19

FCSSC Board President Holiday Message

Dear friends, neighbors and family members:

It is that time of year, where we all begin to make resolutions for the new year, and in my case, look back at what I am thankful for.  This year, I am blessed, both personally and professionally.

I am blessed personally, as my family is healthy, and happy.  Is there anything more important in life?  In my opinion, I don’t think so.

Professionally, as the President of the Board of Directors of Family & Community Services of Somerset County (FCSSC), I am blessed as well.  I have the pleasure of working with a wonderful board of directors, and an outstanding, professional, talented staff at the agency.  And, by the way, thankfully, they report, they are healthy and happy as well!

When I look back to 2016, it was a year of change at FCSSC.  Our long term Executive Director, Eric Harris, announced and began a well-deserved retirement.  While he still sees clients at the agency, he is now able to spend more time with his family.  We were able to recruit a wonderful successor, Richard Schumann who will lead our transformation going forward.  In a short period of time, Richard has already made an impact, and implemented a number of changes that will lead to better services that our friends, neighbors and family members in Somerset County have come to expect.

As I look forward to 2017, I hope that our year will be one of “coming together”.  We have opportunities ahead of us, as a community, to help those in need.  We have the opportunity to join together to prevent shootings, bullying, and other awful actions that are related to mental health.  How do we come together and do this?  Instead of assuming that someone else will help, consider asking yourself “what can I do to help?”.  For me, I help by giving my time leading the Board of Directors at FCSSC.  My colleagues on the board are so generous with their time and insights that help to shape the agency, which in turn helps our community.  Let me re-phrase that… it helps OUR community.

The work we do at FCSSC goes directly to helping those in need here in OUR community.  The monies raised do not go to some large corporate building out of state, they are 100% utilized in Somerset County, our home.  Many of you are very busy with careers, family and other commitments and that is wonderful.  You can also help by attending our fund raising events, or consider a donation.  For those of you that work for generous organizations that match your funds, please remember to request the matching funds.

Please consider contacting me and asking “Howard, I like the work that is being done at FCSSC, what can I do to help?”.  2017 is the time for us to come together and work towards helping OUR community!

I wish you all a healthy and happy New Year and hope your dreams all come true!

Best,

Howard Hessel, FCSSC Board President

Dec 03

We need to unite for life!

Charlie became a client at Family & Community Services of Somerset County (FCSSC) eight months ago as an extremely depressed fifteen year old. He was struggling with suicidal thoughts, peer pressure, and isolation from his social group. He felt invisible at school and alone in dealing with this burden. The services he received from FCSSC have improved his self-confidence and taught him how to process his emotions in a positive and productive way. Now, a sophomore in high school, Charlie is active in extracurricular activities and living the life he was meant to lead. Many of our clients have a similar story.

Approximately 20% of youths, ages 13 to 18, experience severe mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. Sadly, 60% of adults and youths with a mental illness receive no mental health services. The Today Show just reported that by 2020, it expects depression to soar making it the second leading cause of disability. You can help prevent this by donating to FCSSC, which provides a crucial lifeline of support and treatment for individuals in need.

The mission of Family & Community Services of Somerset County is simple. Our goal is to enhance the quality of life for individuals, families, and communities, by providing mental health and addiction treatment and services. We counsel, guide, and provide tools to people in our community who need to strengthen their foundation of wellness. We also coordinate with local agencies to ensure that our clients have continued support and success in all aspects of their lives.

Here’s what some of our clients have had to say:

  • “My counselor was very professional and knowledgeable. He made it very comfortable to open up and talk about my situation.”
  • “My children improved significantly. It was very helpful.”
  • “I felt like I had nowhere to turn until I received help from your services and it has changed my life.”

In this season of giving, we ask that you remember FCSSC. The number of children, adults, and families on our waiting list continues to grow. Remember, we need to unite for life.

Thank you from our family to yours. We wish you a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season.

Richard Schumann, MBA

Executive Director

Oct 26

Thank you to our sponsors and donors for our 5th Annual “Don’t Fall, Let’s Run” 5K Run/Walk and Kid Sprint

 

Thank you to Banner Sponsors: 

  • Summit Oaks Hospital
  • Pinto Brothers
  • Thank you to our Mile Mark Sponsors:
  • Dr. Jim Bremner, Chiropractor
  • Dr. & Mrs. Robert Manduley

Thank you to our T-shirt Sponsors:

  • Dr. Jim Bremner, Chiropractor.  Bound Brook. www.DrJimChiro.com (908)251-3588
  • Summit Oaks Hospital, (800)753-5223, www.SummitOaksHospital.com
  • Applebee’s Grill & Bar of Bridgewater. 640 Promenade Blvd, Bridgewater, NJ (732)627-0888
  • Merry Maids of Middlesex, Somerset and Union County – (908)336-0278
  •  Ernest Renda, Esq.  Bridgewater. (908)722-1255
  •  Pleasant Run Family Physicians/PCP, (908)788-9468, www.PleasantRunDoctors.com
  • GenPsyche, www.genpsych.com, (855)436-7792
  • Hillsborough Dental Center. www.HillsboroughDental.com (908)359-1112
  •  Leading Edge Lacrosse. LeadingEdgeLacrosse.com (973)348-5291
  • PALS Play And Learn School.  (908)359-PALS (7257)
  • The Krupat Family
  • The Harris Family
  • The Hessel Family
  • The Patullo Family
  • The Man in the Hat

Thank you to Wegmans of Bridgewater for being our food sponsor

Thank you to all of the following for their generous monetary donations:

Our Gold Sponsors:

  • Mr. John McCormack
  • Dr. and Mrs. Robert Manduley
  • Ms. Anita Attridge
  • Mrs. Christine Massey

Our Silver Sponsors:

  • Pet Sitting by Ruthe
  • Ms. Claire Roberts
  • Ms. Irene Counihan
  • Ms. Helen Connor
  • Ms. Kristen Chmielewski
  • Mr. Seebu John
  • Ms. Lori Goldberg
  • Ms. Margo Cordivari

Our Bronze Sponsors:

  • Ms. Akshaya Channira
  • Samanthat Nici
  • Ms. Jackie Gruber
  • Ms. Kim Graham
  • Ms. Michelle Castellani
  • Ms. Catherine Mitch
  • Ms. Emily Woo
  • Ms. Janelle Escalona
  • Ms. Veronica Lenox
  • Ms. Lisa Verga
  • Mr. Jackson Franklin
  • Ms. Ramya Sundaresan
Oct 10

Batterer’s Intervention Group starting at FCS

• More than one in three women and more than one in four men in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
• 74 percent of all murder-suicides involved an intimate partner (spouse, common-law spouse, ex-spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend). Of these, 96 percent were women killed by their intimate partners.
• One in five female high school students reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner.
• Interpersonal violence is the leading cause of female homicides and injury-related deaths during pregnancy.
• The percentage of women who consider their mental health to be poor is almost three times higher among women with a history of violence than among those without.
• Women with disabilities have a 40 percent greater risk of intimate partner violence, especially severe violence, than women without disabilities.
Source: American Psychological Association

Domestic violence is a subject that some people find difficult to discuss. We have empathy for the victim(s) and others who suffer through residual effects of the abuse but how should we feel about the perpetrator? Should we want to help them too?

Though many people believe the term “batterer” implies physical abuse, domestic abuse/violence is more than just physical abuse. Many couples are either unable to identify or are in denial when the abuse is about “control”. Control is one of the most destructive forms of abuse and is the reason that so many abusive situations end in murder/suicide.

By gathering and using appropriate accountability measures and self-awareness tools, abusive partners can eventually have healthy, respectful relationships if they accept responsibility for their actions, identify and challenge the belief systems which contributed to their unhealthy behaviors and learn healthy, non-violent ways to interact with their partners.

Our trained staff are certified instructors in the RESPECT program and are here to help support those individuals currently identified as a “batterer” in his or her journey to shed the label of a “batterer” and engage in healthy and respectful relationships. Please call 732-356-1082 or email respect@fcssomerset.org for more details.

Sep 08

FCSSC Board President Message: Eric Harris Announcement

It is with mixed emotions that I share the news that Eric Harris, our Executive Director, has decided to retire from his role at Family & Community Services of Somerset County.  Eric has spent the past 35 years of his career at FCSSC, starting as an intern while he studied Social Work at Rutgers, eventually working his way up to Executive Director.  While he will remain at FCSSC in a part time clinical role, it is still a time to reflect on his legacy to our agency, and to the community.

When Eric was asked in 1995 to become Executive Director, he did it the way he always does everything.   He hesitantly said “yes”, but then put his entirety into the role.  At that time, the agency was close to closing its doors due to major financial struggles.  While the agency was able to keep the lights on, it was never a smooth sail even up to today.  Non-profit work is a constant struggle to keep the lights on.  With funding ups and downs, with changes in government policies and reimbursement, with the continued challenge to find the right staff and board members, Eric continually stayed focused on what truly matters, making sure those in Somerset County, who rely on FCSSC, were able to get the help that they needed.

As I reflect back on my years on the Board, and most recently, my years as Board President, I value the friendship that I have developed with Eric.  He has taught me the importance of family, not only immediate family, but that of an extended family.  Eric and his wonderful wife Carol, are the proud parents of three grown men, and have recently welcomed a new grandson into their lives.  Eric has taught me that nothing is more important than family and that while occasionally life will throw you a curveball, “it is what it is”,  you deal with it , and address it head on.  He has also taught me that the people you work with are family as well.  I have gotten to know many of the staff members at FCSSC, who have been hired, trained and mentored by Eric.  They all have the passion for community, the drive to help and the dedication to others that has kept the lights on.  That comes from the example that Eric has set every day.

As we have located a successor to Eric, we looked for someone who had the qualities that can continue to create a family culture at FCSSC.  During the interview process, Eric had continually reminded us the importance of keeping the culture that he and his staff have created over the years. It is one where we strive to help our friends, neighbors and family members who need our help.

Eric’s last day as Executive Director will be September 9, 2016.  He will remain at the agency part time as a clinician, continuing to give back to the community.  Please help me congratulate Eric on this wonderful milestone in his family’s life.

Jul 12

AmazonSmile

SMILE
Are you an Amazon Shopper? Why not help Family & Community Services of Somerset County and shop at the same time!

Amazon is one of the most widely used websites in the world and provides nonprofit organizations a way to earn additional support and a way to give through their program AmazonSmile. Amazon has donated over $192,000 to other charities and is now helping FCS!

AmazonSmile allows customers to donate to a chosen charity of their choice with no extra cost and provides the same shopping experience we are all used to on Amazon, including the same products and prices. By using AmazonSmile 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases is donated to FCS once you register.

In order to help FCS provide support to our Somerset community, you must simply select Family & Community Services of Somerset County as your charity of choice by visiting our link here

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Customers cannot make direct monetary donations to FCS through AmazonSmile but  if you are interested in making a direct donation visit the donations page on our website by using Paypal or a credit card.

Don’t forget to change your Amazon bookmark to smile.amazon.com and tell your friends and family by sharing this information by word of mouth and your various social media channels!

Feb 16

Executive Directors Message

Eric 2012It was 20 years ago that I completed my first year as Executive Director of
Family and Community Services after many years of being a clinician and supervisor for the agency. I remember at the time a great deal of ambivalence about taking on this position. There has certainly been a great deal of challenges during this period but also a great deal of rewards.

It is only fitting that the past year (my 20th) can be described very similarly to my description of the total time period. Times for small non-profits have been very difficult and our agency, like others, has had to confront many obstacles recently. However, due to a team of very dedicated and skilled staff and Board members, we continue to make adjustments and accomplish some ambitious goals.

The highlights of the past year include:

  • Program outcomes and client feedback was better than ever
  • We hired several new part-time fee for service staff as well as two other part-time staff members who have made key contributions to the agency’s growth in the past year.
  • We began to recruit some new valuable Board members as well as volunteers.
  • We were actually able to increase the levels of service in our professional counseling services despite continued economically driven funding decreases. We increased our client fee revenues very significantly.
  • We began to implement changes that resulted from our Mental Health and Addictions Program Licensure reviews.
  • We increased our fundraising activities and fundraising event revenues.

I feel especially grateful to Howard Hessel who has been a tremendous President of the Board over the past few years. He has done so much to contribute to the agency’s success, to support my efforts as well as the staff, to motivate the Board. I am also extremely appreciative of my Staff Administrative team who remain so dedicated, effective and who continue to help create a very positive work environment which is one of the strengths of the agency. I am also so thankful to our great team of staff, Board Members, and volunteers who are being asked regularly to do more with less, yet who remain so committed to our critical cause.

Eric Harris LCSW
Executive Director