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8 September, 2021.

Family Counseling Center Staff Honored with Telehealth Innovator Award

Staff from The Family Counseling Center were recently honored with the 2021 Telehealth Innovator of the Year award by the North Country Telehealth Partnership, a program of Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization and Adirondack Health Institute.

The award winning project was the organization’s establishment of a Warm Line. A Warm Line is a peer-run hotline that offers emotional support, comfort, and information to callers and is staffed by trained individuals with lived experience. In this case, those individuals were certified Family Peer Advocates who manned the line 24/7 at the peak of the COVID pandemic.

The Warm Line team honored includes Kathleen Calabrese, retired Children and Family Services Director; Jamie Spraker, Family Peer Advocate; Ronald Weaver, School-based Counselor with the Gloversville Enlarged School District; and Kim Smith, School-based Counselor with the Fort Plain School District. They were presented the award during the North Country Leadership Summit on September 15, 2021.

“The work our Warm Line team did during the pandemic is astounding,” said Michael Countryman, Executive Director of The Family Counseling Center. “The Warm Line utilized family-focused staff at a time when families and individuals needed help most. We are proud of the team’s dedication, skill, and empathy for those who called looking for a little help during a time of great uncertainty.”

Kim Smith, a member of the Warm Line team said, “During an unpredictable time, the Warm Line not only helped the stressed callers contacting us, but I found that I used my own advice whenever I became anxious such as limiting the time listening to the news, doing something creative, and exercising to boost morale. It made me feel good to help others by calming them and just lending an ear to relieve the caller’s stress and get them back on track.”