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12 September, 2022.

What is the Fall Gala? Here is a little information about the event

The Family Counseling Center of Fulton County is happy to announce their Fall Gala will be held on Thursday, September 29, 2022 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The event will honor the long history of the organization, celebrate the work of two distinguished individuals, and highlight the talented and dedicated team working at the agency.

Founded in 1976 by a board of concerned community members and originally staffed by a cohort of volunteer counselors, the organization has grown and matured into a fundamental cornerstone of mental and behavioral health in the Mohawk Valley. Today, The Family Counseling Center works with over 4,500 clients across six counties. Services include school-based counselors located in four school districts, a Mobile Crisis Unit, satellite office in Fort Plain, a Behavioral Health Clinic, Children and Family Services, the Domestic Violence Program of Fulton County, and more.

The organization’s growth culminated in the renovation and expansion of the Broadway Street headquarters. Begun in March 2020 just days after the COVID lockdown was announced, the state-of-the art facility was completed in November 2021. The space, which is designed to bring light and nature into every office and breaks down treatment silos offers a collaborative model of care for clients. Team members have over 11,000 client contacts per month meaning that individual clients are treated across programs, removing barriers to care and empowering those undergoing treatment to self-advocate for positive change in their lives.

In 2022, The Family Counseling Center partnered with Genoa Healthcare, a leading healthcare pharmacy that works with community-based providers, health plans, and others as part of a coordinated care team ensuing that people with complex health conditions have a full team on their side dedicated to serving their individual needs. The partnership has been able to increase the fulfillment of prescription medications and provide superior care for clients of The Family Counseling Center.

On September 29, 2022, The Family Counseling Center will host their first-ever fundraising gala. The goal: to raise $50,000 for the agency at a time when demand for mental health services has increased 400% nationally while grant and program funding has decreased.

“We’ve been very lucky over the course of the last two years,” said Michael L. Countryman, the organization’s Executive Director. “We quickly and nimbly transitioned to telehealth in March 2020 and were able to serve 100% of our clients within one week of the shut-down. Since May 2021, we have been able to see clients in-person at our facility. While many clinics across the country have been forced to reduce programming and services, we have maintained and expanded programming to try and meet the needs of our clients and our community. With that said, agencies like ours are facing a crisis of care. The pandemic has brought the importance of mental health and the connection between mental health and overall health to the foreground. We are seeing an increased number of individuals in crisis and the demand means we need to expand services and our ability to serve our community even more.”

In addition to a dinner and silent auction, the fundraising gala will include the recognition of two individuals who have dedicated themselves to the communities in which The Family Counseling Center serves.

The Dr. David and Ann Lee Clough Award recognizes an individual or group for exceptional contributions to the field of behavioral health and is given to an outstanding individual or group who has demonstrated continued excellence in direct or indirect services to the behavioral health. The 2022 honoree is Janine Dykeman, Executive Director of The Mental Health Association of Fulton and Montgomery Counties.

The Mary Ann Harzinski Outstanding Community Service Award honors the legacy of Mary Ann Harzinski, a dedicated teacher and long-time member of The Family Counseling Center Board of Directors. The award is given to an individual or organization who has a recognized record of volunteerism across organizations or has worked in close partnership with organizations. The 2022 honoree is Denise Walsh, the current Secretary of the organization’s Board of Directors, close friend of Mary Ann Harzinski and volunteer of The Family Counseling Center for over 22 years.

“We are so thankful for the support of our community and the dedicated individuals who have helped build The Family Counseling Center,” continued Countryman. “Janine and Denise have devoted themselves to the communities in which they live. Their receipt of the Dr. David and Ann Lee Clough Award and the Mary Ann Harzinski Outstanding Service Award not only honor their legacy but the legacy of the individuals for whom the awards are named after.”

Full details about the Fall Gala including ticket sales is available here. Tickets to the event are $75 per person.

In addition to the award honorees, the Fall Gala is presented with the help of an Honorary Organizing Committee that includes:

  • John & Sunday Blackmon
  • Shawn Cleland & Peter Kiernan
  • Stephen & Cheryl McGrattan
  • Luigi & Lesley Lanzi
  • Grant & Kim Preston
  • Gail & Jerry Ryan
  • Bryan & Gianna Taylor
  • Bill & Roberta Winsman