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Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services News & Events

2018 Annual Reports

Back to School Supply Drive in Full Swing

Worcester Youth and Family Services (WYFCS) has begun its yearly “Back to School” drive to benefit schoolchildren in Worcester County unable to acquire necessary materials for the upcoming term. Over 200 backpacks filled with school supplies were donated to students at local schools in 2018.

WYFCS Executive Director Steve Taylor stressed the importance of the drive to the community.

“The School Supplies program is extremely important to the children and families in Worcester County. A significant number of families in the county live at or below the federal poverty level. Pocomoke schools report roughly 70% of the children fall into this category, about half of the families in Snow Hill and roughly 30% of the families in the Berlin area struggle financially,” he said, “In addition to those living at the poverty level, many more families are living paycheck to paycheck.”

He also emphasized the difficulty of living in monetary uncertainty.

“Any major expense such as a car repair or refrigerator failure will place families at risk of paying their bills,” he said, “Providing school supplies can be a tremendous help to these families. School supply requests are also intended to help teachers who sometimes use their own money to help the children.”

Deborah Smullen, billing and insurance specialist for WYFCS, said that all participants in the organization’s youth programs would receive backpacks.

“Bags are provided to our Berlin Youth Club, SAGES and SABERS members and their siblings, as well as our Family Connections families,” she said, “We also donate boxes of miscellaneous school supplies to area schools directly to lift the burden from teachers and administrators. Members of the public are invited to fill out a bag request form for their child at any time.”

Smullen requested that donations be made by Friday, August 9. Drop off locations for items include 124 North Main Street, Suite C in Berlin, at the Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce at 12320 Ocean Gateway in Ocean City and at Ayers Creek Adventures at 8628 Grey Fox Lane in Berlin. There will also be a “Stuff the Van” event at Walmart, at 11416 Ocean Gateway in Berlin on Saturday, July 27 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Patrons are encouraged to purchase school supplies to be loaded in the WYFCS vans.

School supplies being requested are:
• One, three and five subject notebooks
• Post It notes
• Bottles of glue
• Pencil pouches/cases
• Colored pencils
• Composition books
• Crayola crayons
• Dividers
• Zip lock bags (all sizes)
• Highlighters
• Hand sanitizer
• Notebook paper
• Masking tape
• Scissors (blunt end)
• Pencils, #2
• White paper plates
• Pencil sharpeners
• Tissues
• Wipes (Clorox or Lysol)
• Plastic two pocket folders
• Regular two pocket folders
• Ear buds
• Glue sticks
• Large pink erasers
• Paper towels
• Dry erase markers

Bags will be distributed Friday, August 29 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Dr. William Henry Park in Berlin during a community event with lunch provided by Homes of Berlin. A parent or guardian must be present at the event to pick up the backpacks or may pick them up at the WYFCS offices.

Additionally, monetary contributions can be made to Worcester Youth and earmarked for the back to school drive. For more information, visit gowoyo.org, call 410-641-4598, or contact Debbie Smullen at dsmullen@gowoyo.org.


WYFCS and Local Chambers of Commerce Asking for Items for New Teacher Welcome Bags

For the first time, Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services (WYFCS) in partnership with the Greater Ocean City, Ocean Pines, Berlin and Snow Hill Chambers of Commerce are asking for donations to fill bags for the new teachers of Worcester County. WYFCS is encouraging local businesses and non-profits to give helpful items for the upcoming school year.Many of these teachers are new to the area; WYFCS feels it is important to make them feel welcome and educate them on area businesses and the community at-large. The project also serves as a free advertising campaign for businesses choosing to donate. This program has been a staple at the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce for teachers in Wicomico County for several years.
WYFCS is requesting 100 items per business to place into the bags. Accepted donations include advertising pieces, coupons, promotional products, or goods with a company logo. It is suggested that submissions be physical items rather than paper products as teachers find them more useful.
Those interested in donating should deliver items to the WYFCS offices no later than August 15. The offices are located at 124 North Main Street, Suite C, in Berlin, MD 21811.
They are also requesting volunteers for the “bag stuffing” event on August 16 at 12 p.m. in The Ray (located within WYFCS offices.) For more information, call Morgan Coulson, Communications Coordinator at (410) 641-4598 or email her at mcoulson@gowoyo.org. Those seeking to donate may also contact their local Chamber of Commerce: Berlin: (410) 641-4775; Greater Ocean City: (410) 213-0552; Snow Hill: (410)-334-0104; Ocean Pines: (410) 641-5306.


We’re Seeking Donations for “Every Child Needs”

Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services (WYFCS) has started a new initiative, “Every Child Needs” (ECN), and is seeking donations. The program will supply at risk children with basic needs such as blankets, pillows, pajamas, shoes, clothes, toiletries, coats and duffle bags.

Each year, WYFCS participates in the “Christmas Spirit Campaign” with the Young Professionals of the Greater Ocean City Maryland Chamber of Commerce to ensure disadvantaged children have a gift to open on Christmas morning. In 2018, the organization had multiple requests from children for a bed, mattress, blanket or pillow due to lack of said objects at home. Many professed to sleeping on couches or sharing beds with siblings. Often, they were in transient living situations such as staying with varying family members, homeless shelters or crisis centers. Executive Director Steve Taylor of WYFCS said the requests were a revelation to the organization.

“It was disheartening to learn that so many children don’t have their own bed or bedding items,” he said, “but it was inspiring to learn that the children wanted basic necessities over games and toys that many other children will be receiving for Christmas.”

Worcester County Public Schools report that 42.06 percent of school students live in households at or below the federal poverty level. They relayed to WYFCS that some children would bring plastic trash bags, duffle bags or backpacks with extra clothes to school each day, claiming they were unsure where they might sleep that night. The ECN program will use “Community Needs” grant funding to help families purchase basic living necessities.

WYFCS works with nearly 80 children through youth, adolescent, and Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) programs. These children are to be given first preference with donations. Worcester County school guidance counselors have also offered to partner with WYFCS to provide leads about families with needs.

Candy Kitchen of Ocean City has donated stuffed animals, Quilters by the Sea Guild of Ocean Pines have donated handmade quilts and fleece blankets, Stevenson United Methodist Church Women’s Group has made a cash donation for pillows and pillow cases, and through Atlantic General Hospital, Pajamaprogram.org has collected over 200 pairs of pajamas and 200 books to assist with the initiative.

WYFCS Insurance Specialist and ECN founder Debbie Smullen said the program was intended to give children a sense of ownership and pride.

“We will be working with children in our programs, the school counselors from all Worcester County Schools and anyone who comes to our office in need for distribution. Our hope is to expand to mattresses and beds,” she said.

Donations can be made by visiting their offices at 124 North Main Street, Suite C, in Berlin, Maryland, by mail, online at gowoyo.org, or via their Facebook.
For more information contact Morgan Coulson, Communications Coordinator, at 410-641-4598 or mcoulson@gowoyo.org.

Annual Pirate Party Raises Over $40,000 for Worcester Youth Programs

Approximately $40,000 dollars was raised May 17 at the eleventh annual Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services (WYFCS) Pirate Party, held at Sunset Grille in West Ocean City, Maryland. The money will be matched with grants, generating more the $200,000 in program funding for youth in Worcester County.

WYFCS is a non-profit founded in 1975 that helps people of all ages with a broad spectrum of services that include mental health counseling, youth and adolescent enrichment programs, advocacy for abused and neglected children, and empowerment initiatives for those less fortunate. The Pirate Party is their largest fundraiser, with over 150 guests in attendance.

Each year, members of the community volunteer as “pirates” and garner donations in the name of WYFCS in hopes of raising the largest amount. This year’s pirates included Amy Czyzia, Bruce Krasner, Caroline Phillips, Darren Cummings, Earl Conley, Frank Mattes, Grey Lindsey, Jamie Davis, Jennifer Dawicki, Joe Kendall, Karen Bush, Maureen Purnell, Michael Belich, Pastor Ron Schatz, Rod Rippin, Sharon Knowles, Shelly Bruder, Shelly Messick, Spencer Byrd, Vinny Pierotti, Randi Spano, and the current highest earner, Kenny Tomaselli.

Executive Director of WYFCS, Steve Taylor, said the event was vital to the work the organization does.

“The pirate party is a fun-filled community event that recognizes the importance and value of helping children in Worcester County, “ he said, “It generates community involvement and the local financial commitment necessary to match federal and state grants dollars capable of expanding the agency’s programmatic impact for Worcester County children.”

The event was sponsored by 5 Star Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, Atlantic Physical Therapy, Austin Purnell, Ayers Creek Adventures, Beach House CrossFit, Bergey & Company, Bookkeeping & Business, Solutions, LLC., Cards Technology, Castle in the Sand, The Church Mouse Thrift Shop, CrossFit OC, D3Corp, Delmarva Power, Dough Roller, Harborside Bar & Grill, NFP Insurance, Pohanka of Salisbury, Taylor Bank, and The Ewancio Family, IV Solutions.

The organization will continue accepting “pirate” donations through June 16. Donations can be made online on our website, gowoyo.org, by mail, on Facebook, or by visiting the office at 124 North Main Street, Suite C in Berlin, Maryland.


WYFCS Welcomes New Communications Coordinator

Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services (WYFCS) welcomed Morgan Coulson on May 20 as their new Communications Coordinator. The Communications Coordinator performs administrative duties as a front desk receptionist as well as running social media including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Morgan designs and maintains the gowoyo.org website, writes press releases, takes photographs and video, sits on the marketing committee, promotes brand awareness, and serves as public relations liaison.

She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography and minors in Spanish, Biology, and Creative Writing from Salisbury University in 2011. Prior to joining WYFCS, she served as the Director of Marketing, Media and Public Relations for the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce (SACC), where she also planned and oversaw events such as Taste of the Town and the Salisbury Restaurant Week Launch Party. In 2018 she founded the SACC’s Salisbury Febrewary Brew Fest and sat on the Marketing Committee for the National Folk Festival. She also held the office of Associate Director of the Berlin Chamber of Commerce, assisting in daily operations as well as events such as Spring Celebration, the Bathtub Races, Jazz and Blues Bash, and the Fiddler’s Convention.

In her free time, she works as a freelance photographer and writer, having been featured in local publications such as the Bayside Gazette, Ocean City Today, The Maryland Coastal Dispatch, the Salisbury Independent, the Salisbury Star, Metropolitan Magazine and others. Morgan was thrilled to become part of the team at WYFCS, as she sees it as a vitally beneficial resource to the Worcester County community. She is passionate about promoting positive mental health and helping to erase the negative stigma surrounding it. Morgan hopes to help further the message for WYFCS through her skillset.

For any press or public relations questions, call Morgan at our offices at 410-641-4598.


From One of our Therapists: Make Time for Family this Summer

As the days of Summer become shorter, the importance of spending time bonding as a family becomes increasingly important. Throughout the school year, children spend over 1,000 hours in the classroom and are often shuffled from activity to activity. A recent study has shown carving out family time can be very challenging with families being busier than ever. The summer months often provide parents with a reprieve from their strict daily routines, and provide families the opportunity to spend time more quality time together. According to research, family time is critical to the development in children’s ability to build self-esteem and strengthen bonds, and nurtures positive behaviors and creates memories.
Parents can take advantage of a more relaxed schedule by going on vacation, having family game nights, or simply enjoying low-cost activities. Families should select activities such as a beach day that are enjoyed by everyone to provide the best possible experience. Parents and children could create a family bucket list that includes the desires of everyone in the family to create your own memories and a summer everyone will never forget.
Setting aside family time demonstrates the importance of family values to children. Despite the busy schedules of varying family members, the prioritizing of time spent as a family demonstrates to children the importance of quality time together. Families who share meals, read to their child, talk with them or engage with them one-on-one are more likely to have more quality experiences with one another. Children and teens who have positive and meaningful time with their family are likely to communicate more effective, improve their relationship and bonds to family members and learn how to listen and work together.
Worcester Youth and Family, and the Town of Berlin, offer many opportunities to share experiences as a family. From the fireworks on the 3rd of July to family outdoor movie nights, and National Night Out, there is no shortage of activities that can be shared with children and families of all ages. Please visit berlinmainstreet.com/events/ and ococean.com/events for fun local family activities!
By: Amanda Chaffee, LMSW

WYFCS Welcomes New Youth Programs Coordinator

Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services (WYFCS) welcomed Tiffany Scott on January 22nd as their new Youth Programs Coordinator. The Youth Programs Coordinator oversees programming for adolescent programs and the Berlin Youth Club (BYC). Strengthening Adolescent Boys with Education and Resources (SABERS) is a support program for boys in 7th and 8th grade.  The Berlin Youth Club (BYC) is for youth ages 6-11 who reside in the town of Berlin.   The Youth Programs Coordinator organizes cultural, educational, and social activities for the youth throughout the year.  The Coordinator also organizes youth activities for various town events and manages a volunteer corps to help with youth activities.

Tiffany comes to WYFCS from the Worcester County Health Department where she worked as a Community Health Outreach Worker in their Patient Centered Home Program.  From this experience, she developed her love for public health and helping others.  In 2017, Tiffany took on the role of a Community Health Educator with WCHD’s Chronic Disease and Tobacco Prevention Team. During her time with prevention as the Healthiest Maryland Business/ Worksite Wellness Coordinator, Tiffany was able to further her passion for holistic health and wellness through community partnerships. Tiffany is also a CDC-Certified Diabetes Prevention Coach and enjoys empowering participants to become their best self through nutrition and physical activity.

Tiffany earned her bachelor’s Degree from Salisbury University in 2015 with an area of concentration in Community Health and Health Education. Currently, she is a full-time student at Maryland University of Integrative Health working toward her dream of becoming a Certified Clinical Nutritionist. Tiffany plans to one day build on her work within the community to create a healthier community through the power of nutrition.

For more information about youth programs, please call our office at 410-641-4598.


WYFCS Receives Grants to Expand Access to Mental Healthcare

On Wednesday, December 6, WYFCS received two grants that will expand access to mental healthcare in the region. The Maryland Community Health Resources Commission and the The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Inc. contributed $125,000 each to support service expansion at WYFCS. The grants will enable WYFCS to hire two clinicians to provide mental health services. Our agency can’t thank these two phenomenal organizations enough for their support!


CASA Volunteers Needed

WYFCS is recruiting volunteers for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). A CASA volunteer, is a court-appointed, trained, and committed adult who represents and advocates for a child’s best interest in the child protection system. By becoming a CASA volunteer, you can help keep abused and neglected children safe, giving them a chance at finding happiness. If interested, please contact Brigitte Southworth at 410-641-4598.


Non-Profit of the Year

Worcester Youth and Family is proud to receive the Non-Profit of the Year Award through the Greater Ocean City, Maryland Chamber of Commerce! WYFCS has been serving the community since 1975 and we continually strive to increase awareness about mental health and make a difference in the lives of the people we serve. Thank you everybody for the support!


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