January/February 2023 Newsletter

Leah Feldman, Chief Program Officer
A Note from Our CEO
Family Services Strong
by Leah Feldman

When I started at Family Services 13 years ago as a Victim Advocate, I never imagined I

would be writing to you today as CEO of this great agency. As I prepare for this new role, I am continually reminded of the thing that remains fundamentally true for us. People rely on us for life-saving services. And now, people are relying on us even more for so many things. We provide support. We provide hope.  People depend on us. 

For the last decade, Brian has guided us, championed, and operationalized our Mission, and firmly established our leadership role in the community. I thank him for his mentorship and support over the years and wish him a beautiful retirement.

To lead Family Services and its people is incredibly inspiring and a tremendous privilege. Our staff are compassionate, passionate, and hard-working people who are determined to fight for our community and those who live in it. Over my time here I have worked with some true-life superheroes, and I have had some of the greatest mentors. I am blessed to work with some of the most imaginative, intelligent, and passionate people I have ever met.  We are a team that never wavers in dedication. We are relentless advocates for the communities we serve.

As I look forward, I am humbled to officially step into the CEO role, and to have the opportunity to continue to build upon our life-saving work. Together we will ensure that Family Services remains a beacon of hope for the community, and we will honor the people we serve as we continue to forge ahead fighting for equality, equity, and social justice.

As we head into 2023, I hope you will join our Family. We cannot do this work alone. There is no better Family to join if you want to make a difference in your community. Check out the many opportunities to get involved – volunteer, work, give, and more!

I wish you and your families good health and cheer in the New Year, and I look forward to our days ahead.

Thank you for your love, support, and inspiration and best wishes for a great 2023.

A Message of Hope, The World Is Waiting To Meet You

by Lori Lentini, Vice President of Behavioral Health

During the past two years, in person interactions have reduced and the new normal is spending hours each day on our electronic devices. We shop from home, work from home, date online, take college courses online and face time friends as opposed to visiting them in person. This has reduced our interactions and connections with friends, family, neighbors, and robbed us of the simple pleasure of sharing a smile or saying hello to a stranger in the grocery store.

As 2023 starts let’s embrace the promise of more opportunities for in-person interaction. This sounds great, right? Well maybe not. Maybe it is unsettling. Swinging the door wide open and stepping out of our homes and into public places may trigger feelings of anxiety. Anxiety and isolation feed off each other. Often being alone makes it easier to manage our anxiety.

The effects of social isolation and loneliness have negative effects on our physical and mental health which can lead to depression, substance abuse, sleep problems, sadness, self-esteem issues, feelings of inadequacy and increased social anxiety.

When being alone isn’t a choice or a positive experience there are steps, you can take to get out of your head and break the cycle of anxiety and loneliness. Start small and pick a goal. Here are a few suggestions to consider.

  • Focus on connecting with just one person. Maybe a family member, co-worker, or neighbor. Say hello. Ask how they are doing? Listen. Focus on getting to know them.

  • Volunteer. Find a cause you care about and volunteer. You will connect with people with a common interest and the focus will be on the cause and not you. Check out opportunities to volunteer with Family Services Here.

  • Try Group Therapy. This is a safe setting with a professional clinician where you meet others with similar goals, get and give encouragement, gain new insights into yourself and your situation while building connections at the pace you choose. Here at Family Services’ there are many choices of groups to pick from such as; Building Resiliency, Co-occurring disorders, Coping Skills, Dialectic Behavior Therapy & Women’s Identity, to name a few. Call our Dutchess & Ulster County intake line for more information at: 845.276.4600

  • Join a support group. Support groups offer a place to get information and learn from others facing a similar challenge. There are parenting groups, Al-anon, Alcoholics Anonymous and grief groups. You can find a list of support here.

The world is waiting to meet you. It may not be easy or successful the first time. That is okay, doing new and scary things takes practice and courage. You got this. We are here for you.

Program Spotlights

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

by Monica Idema, Coordinator of Outreach & Expansion, CVSS

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM) and it’s important to know youth and young adults ages 16 to 24 are at the highest risk for relationship abuse. 1 in 3 U.S. teens will experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse from someone they’re in a relationship with before they become adults. Nearly half of college women report experiencing violent or abusive dating behaviors. Stalking, strangulation and sexual assault are some of the most concerning issues for teens and young adults in abusive relationships

Here are some red flags to help recognize if you or someone you know is experiencing relationship abuse. For more information about dating abuse please click here

Red Flags

  •   Blaming
  •   Controlling
  •   Excessive jealousy
  •   Isolating from friends and family
  •   Pressuring into unwanted sexual activity
  •   Monitoring phone and social media
  •   Damaging personal property (broken phones)
  •   Physical abuse (bruising, unexplained injuries)
24-Hour Hotlines:
Domestic Violence Hotline: 845.485.5550
Rape Crisis/Crime Victim’s Hotline: 845.452.7272

Chat Line
By text: 845.583.0800
Online: www.resourceconnect.com/cvss/chat

TRAC: Teen Resource Activity Center 

by Keith Hudes, Director of Community Initiatives

Our Teen Resource Activity Center (TRAC) has been a critical resource for over 20 years and emphasizes the importance of caring mentorship in safe and supportive spaces for teens throughout Dutchess County. TRAC is a drop-in center where we provide a sense of belonging in a place where they can develop their athletic, creative, academic, workforce and social skills in fun, supportive, and challenging ways. We operate TRAC in the Family Partnership Center Tuesdays – Fridays from 4:00 PM – 8:30 PM. We received tremendous support over the summer to expand our hours of operation. Youth have access to our on-premises music studio, tutoring services, coding classes, basketball clinics & tournaments. Youth have an opportunity to work with a professional author to write children’s books, join our step dance team and flag football. Additional offerings include yoga, gardening, arts & crafts, cooking classes, community service opportunities, CPR & Basic Life Saving training, entrepreneurial workshops, field trips, and more. A recent addition to our TRAC program includes a team of youth outreach workers who work during the day in the City of Poughkeepsie Middle and High Schools where they mentor youth and provide risk reduction plans to reduce the chance of engaging in violence, provide resources, and other social services. TRAC provides a free, trauma-informed place for teens to continue to receive mentorship and support from the outreach workers after school.
A Look Back

We kicked off the Holiday Season with the Festival of Trees on December 2nd & 3rd at Revel 32!

On Friday, patrons got to enjoy our Get Your Chocolate On event, and sample all things chocolate, including some incredible signature cocktails! Afterwards guests strolled through the beautifully lit venue to see and bid on the beautifully decorated trees and shop local artisans for holiday gifts!

Saturday, the little ones were able to have an adorable Teddy Bear Tea Party, enjoyed story time and crafts and took photos with Santa!

Thank you to all our sponsors, committee members, donors, artisans for helping us host another successful event. We raised over $20,000 for Family Services. We look forward to continuing the tradition in 2023!

Mental Health Access Improvement Act

We are celebrating the passage of an important bill that has passed both Chambers of Congress, the Mental Health Access Improvement Act. This Act will close the gap in federal law that prevents licensed professional counselors from being recognized as Medicare providers.  Medicare beneficiaries will have immediate access to more than 225,000 additional licensed behavioral health professionals which will help to close the widening treatment gap for individuals in need.

To learn more, check out this article from the Highlands Current, emphasizing Family Services Behavioral Health Centers and the challenges providers are facing across NYS. The full article can be accessed here.

Upcoming Events

January is Stalking Awareness Month! Here are some important tips to stay safe:

  • Trust your instincts. Victims of stalking often feel pressured by friends or family to downplay the stalker’s behavior, but stalking poses a real threat of harm. Your safety is paramount.
  • Call the police if you feel you are in any immediate danger. Explain why even some actions that seem harmless—like leaving you a gift—are causing you fear.
  • Keep a record or log of each contact with the stalker. Be sure to also document any police reports.
  • Stalkers often use technology to contact their victims. Save all e-mails, text messages, photos, and postings on social networking sites as evidence of the stalking behavior.
  • Get connected with a local victim advocate, such as Family Services 24/7 Hotline: 845.452.7272

Join us for our Report to the Community luncheon as we share the accomplishments of Family Services in 2022 over a delicious lunch and discuss plans for 2023 including the exciting future of the Family Partnership Center.

Event starts promptly at Noon. Click here for tickets & more information!

January is also Human Trafficking Awareness Month, so be sure to read the hard facts shared on social media to spread awareness

Contact Us
Join Our Family Tree

By joining our Family Tree, you are supporting our vision of stronger, safer communities where our neighbors have access to critical resources when they need it most.

Support Family Services when you shop online

By choosing Family Services as your charity of choice through AMAZON SMILE, Amazon will donate .5% of all qualified purchases to Family Services.

Family Services’ 2022 Leadership Partners

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