May/June 2022


A Note from Our CEO

What We Value:  Bringing People Together To Find the Support They Need, Improving Their Lives And Communities, And Building a Stronger, Safer Hudson Valley.

by Brian Doyle

Along with our clear mission, we hold our agency values close to our hearts as they are embedded in our mission and also serve as our guiding principles. They are to direct us in not only what we do, but how we do it.  We have found eight values as being of highest order for us and so it is worth taking a few moments to reflect on them.

We believe in Hope and the strength of the human spirit – the heart’s ability to emerge and thrive in the face of challenge and despair. So many people with whom we work endure unfathomable obstacles and yet their strength inspires us to preserve hope, shoulder-to-shoulder, along with them!

As we work in a world where there are so many people marginalized and facing disparities, Justice is of primary value to us. We work to promote social and economic equity and fairness.  There are countless arenas where justice does not exist whether it be about race, economic status, gender or social background.  We believe in Justice.

Surely, Compassion is what initially brought many of us to work at Family Services and is much of what keeps us here. It draws us to extending empathy and understanding to others who need and deserve our judgement free compassion.

In order to effectively do our work and to maintain the support and partnership of others, both  within the organization and with the surrounding community, Integrity has to play a critical  part in strengthening those bonds simply by being honest and trustworthy and letting people know that if we commit to something, we have to mean it.

Diversity is a vital strength of our community, and so we promote a vision of Community, a mosaic, made up of wide-ranging assets and cultures.

Every day we are called upon to treat people with Respect, just as we all wish to have respect paid to ourselves. We value owing to the belief that all individuals deserve to be treated with dignity and without judgements that separate us from one another.

Community is about recognizing, reinforcing and co-creating the importance of a world comprised of people of numerous, differing strengths, perspectives and riches.  We truly do believe in “Communities Without Limits”.

And finally, the importance of Quality cannot be overstated. It has to be a hallmark of our work – striving for excellence in what we do, striving for excellence as we are stewards of the funds afforded us by our partners in government, donors, foundations and otherwise.

While we want these values to be central to the way we conduct ourselves, we do not pretend to suggest that we do not falter. There are certainly times when we don’t fully live these values.  And in those instances, our commitment is to recognize and acknowledge where we fall short and to pledge to do better the following day and the following tomorrows.


Social Justice: We Cannot Stop Fighting

by Natalie Borquist, CFO

I hadn’t planned to write on this topic today, but as I watched the latest news out of Washington yesterday regarding the likely overturning of Roe vs Wade, on top of the brutalities occurring in Ukraine, I was overcome with such strong emotions and concern. This article will not focus on the Pro-Choice/Pro-Life debate nor the war, but rather on the concept of social justice. Family Services has a long history of standing for, advocating for, and upholding social justice. We take an active role in creating legislation and educating the community to effect social change. By effecting positive social change, we help individuals find the opportunity to lead their best lives.
It is difficult to not feel somewhat defeated at times, to see social justice issues take one step forward and two steps back. Yet clearly, the only way forward is to keep pushing and fighting for what we believe in, what we hope for, and what is right. Family Services will continue its work to challenge oppression and promote social justice. And we, as individuals, need to consider how we can make a difference and take action. While it may seem overwhelming to get started, here are some steps that can be made to get involved.
·      Educate yourself about social justice issues
·      Discover your local organizations
·      Take positive action in your own community
·      Attend demonstrations and protests
·      Volunteer
·      Donate
Let me end by sharing some excerpts from author Emmaline Soken-Huberty’s article “What Does Social Justice Mean?”1
Justice is the concept of fairness. Social justice is fairness as it manifests in society. That includes fairness in healthcare, employment, housing, and more. Discrimination and social justice are not compatible.
Social justice means that everyone’s human rights are respected and protected. Everyone has equal opportunities. This doesn’t guarantee that society will be perfect and everyone will always be happy. However, everyone will have a fighting chance at the life they want. They aren’t held back by things out of their control like systemic obstacles or discrimination. There isn’t one clear framework for what successful social justice looks like in practice, but that’s why principles like participation are so important. As long as a nation values social justice and remains committed to equality, progress is possible.
Social justice depends on four essential goals: human rights, access, participation, and equity. Social justice can’t be achieved without these four principles.

Program Spotlights


by Debra Long, SNUG & Youth Services Program Coordinator 

SNUG is an evidence-based street outreach program which treats gun violence as a disease by identifying its causes and interrupting its transmission. The program focuses on youth between the ages of 14 and 24 who are at high risk for involvement with gun violence. So far this year, the SNUG team has spent over 190 hours canvasing, have held 17 events, and have mediated over 50 conflicts in the City of Poughkeepsie Community.

Despite the increase in gun violence across New York State, SNUG staff have increased their visibility in target areas and safe passage. Target areas are places where high-risk behaviors are exhibited. For example, target areas often involve increased traffic, gang activity, and shots fired.
Safe Passage is a community program to reduce or prevent violence. Since the start of 2022, the SNUG team has worked to prevent shootings by mediating conflicts with those who are at risk of being shot and/or becoming shooters. This year, one of our new SNUG Outreach workers initiated a Step Dance team for all youth ages 5 through 18. The Step Team has been a highlight for the community. Step team routines are a form of dancing with roots steeped in African American culture. At the same time, our Step Team is all-inclusive, featuring a diverse range of races, genders, and cultural backgrounds shared by the members. Most of all, though, they share a passion for dance. Much like the roots of Hip-Hop and Swing dance, Step Teams come from the tradition of the “gumboot” dances of South Africa. Performed by miners to entertain themselves when not in the mines, it came to the U.S. in 1940 and was adopted by the nascent Black fraternities and sororities at institutions of higher learning. Like all living dance traditions, the Step Team routines changed as new cultural influences affected it. With a team dedicated and passionate about want we do, we are creating a rich tradition of pride, unity, and service. Steppin’ is one of the more positive and energetic dance forms.

New Location: Poughkeepsie Behavioral Health Center

by Shaun Cohen, LMHC, NCC, Community Clinical Services Coordinator

Artist Rendering of the new center

Family Services’ Poughkeepsie Behavioral Health Center is excited to announce we will be moving to a new location this Fall. Family Services is committed to our new center being built with a focus on providing services in a trauma informed environment and design, ensuring the space is comfortable and safe for the communities we serve.
Apart from physical structure, the center has been created to ensure easy access to services. Currently, we have contracted with SunRiver Health to create an onsite Article 28 Community Health Center which will provide primary care support to our clients and the community. The site will also include a pharmacy and several community providers who will have a regular onsite presence at the center. Family Services is working with MHA’s Director of Case Management, Mike Napolitano on the integration of onsite Case Management. Through affiliation with Dan Strang, the Director of the Lexington Center’s Main Street Clinic, we are piloting a rapid referral program with a Peer lead focus.
Through a collaborative care model, the new clinic will combine behavioral health, medical treatment, and case management supports to assure the needs of our clients will be met with ease at the new Poughkeepsie Behavioral Health Center.  

A Look Back

On April 26th CVSS held their annual Visions of Hope and Healing Art Show, and we would like to thank Kathy Peluso and the entire CVSS team for putting on such a incredibly powerful event!
We gathered to see local artists and poets supply beautiful work, and discuss the healing that is taking place. With opening remarks by Family Services’ CEO Brian Doyle, other speakers included Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro & City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Robert Rolison, Presenting the “Champion of Victims’ Rights'” Award, ADA Kristine Whelan & Director of CVSS Kait Rodriques to this years recipient ADA Allison Stuart!


Family Services’ and our incredible partners were thrilled to have Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney at the Family Partnership Center on April 25! Alongside CEO Brian Doyle, they discussed the 1.2M dollar grant Congressman Maloney sponsored towards our Capital Campaign for critical improvements in the FPC. Together we are working towards a better and brighter future, and improving and updating our building for our community. We extend our deepest gratitude to the Congressman for the continued support in helping us serve the community!
Take a look an some of our amazing team members on Wear Demin Day!
The campaign began over 23 years ago after a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court where a rape conviction was overturned because the justices felt that since the victim was wearing tight jeans she must have helped the person who raped her remove her jeans, thereby implying consent. The following day, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim. Peace Over Violence developed the Denim Day campaign in response to this case and the activism surrounding it.
On March 26th we were thrilled to host Stuntmen Aaron Joshua and Joey Spano as they graciously donated their time to Youth Services to teach two free workshops on Combat fighting for film! The kids learned some industry secrets to “fighting” on camera, and got to talk about Black Panther, Spider-Man and Avengers with Aaron, who did stunt work in those films! We hope to plan for their return in the future.

Upcoming Events

Have you dreamed of making history? Of course, we all have. And now we have a chance to be a part of our community’s day of giving – an opportunity to unite our community around causes in which we truly believe and help nonprofit organizations connect to the larger community.

So let’s get ready to give! On May 18, visit and make a donation to us and/or to any of the great participating nonprofit organizations in our community. All giving will end at 11:59PM on May 18, so make sure to get your gift in on time, but don’t worry, we will be sending out reminders in advance!
Join Family Services and Wear Green on May 19 to show support and raise awareness for Mental Health Awareness Month! #EndtheStigma
This year we are proud to honor:
The Rohde Family – The Good Neighbor Award
Jim and Gina Sullivan – The Quality of Life Award
The Rohde and Sullivan families embody the ideals of Family Services and have contributed immensely to our community. We hope you will join us in honoring them and in helping Family Services continue building communities without limits.
Guests will share an elegant evening overlooking the Hudson River as we honor these incredible families at the Grandview in Poughkeepsie. During cocktail hour, guests will enjoy delectable food and drink in the Riverview Cocktail Room, while catching up with friends and shopping our unique auction to benefit the programs of Family Services.  During dinner, we will celebrate our Families of the Year in the beautiful ballroom.

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

Find Us On Social Media

March/April 2022 Newsletter


A Note from Our CEO

Reminding Yourself to be Hopeful

by Brian Doyle


At Family Services we often say that our most important work is helping people to see within themselves the assets and strength to overcome their challenges, to make better their own lives.

Perhaps that is no more true anywhere than in our Behavioral Health Centers. That is the work of our caring professionals – Social Workers, Psychiatrists, Mental Health Counselors, Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, and yes – even those office staff who are most often the first welcoming and warm voice a client encounters.
Family Services’ licensed Behavioral Health Centers are found throughout Ulster and Dutchess Counties: In Poughkeepsie, Beacon, Kingston, Rhinebeck, Dover, Millbrook, Highland, and Ellenville.
There are many reasons for which people are reluctant to seek help for behavioral health ailments. Surely, a shortage of clinicians and transportation barriers are among them, but perhaps the single greatest impediment is the stigma that is still associated with mental illness. If you fall and fracture a wrist, you immediately go to the emergency room. If you are suffering from anxiety, depression, or other hurt to your soul, the presence of stigma may likely force you into isolation, distancing yourself from what or who may be able to help.>In a recent Podcast of “Peter and the Poet Gold”, Kahli Mercik, a devoted Social Worker and Director of Family Services’ Behavioral Health Center in Beacon, thoughtfully articulated how isolation impacts someone who is struggling:
“If you are isolated, you do not have someone to remind you of your greatness, you don’t have someone to remind yourself to be hopeful…….”.

I think it is safe to say at one time or another we have all known what it is to be alone in a state of pain or confusion, and while the help of family and friends can be a great help, it may not always be enough. And that is why the professional staff of Family Services offers treatment to over 5,000 people in a given year. That treatment can take the form of one-to-one counseling or group therapy. It can be in-person, or for those who have transportation or other barriers, it can be in the form of tele-health!

As Kahli reminds us….
“There are so many smart, beautiful, powerful people out there who are struggling with big feelings, big issues, with things that even though their friends and families love them, and want to talk to them, they need professional support for”.
To learn more about the ways Family Services Behavioral Health professionals are there for you or your loved ones, visit our website.
I also think you won’t regret listening to more of what Kahli has to say in the “Peter and the Poet Gold” Podcast.


International Women’s Day

Covid-19 impact on progress

by Casey Hones, Vice President for Operations Cooperate Compliance Officer


International Women’s Day, which fell on March 8th, was first celebrated in 1911, in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. It became more widely internationally recognized by the United Nations in 1975. International Women’s Day (IWD) is a day to celebrate how far women have come in society, politics and in economics. The colors of IWD are purple which signifies justice and dignity, green which symbolizes hope, and white which represents purity.
While women in have made enormous strides since 1975, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about devastating setbacks. The most recent Global Gender Gap Report in 2021 showed that the time needed to close the global gender gap has increased by a generation from 99.5 years to 135.6 years.
Globally, in the past two years, violence against women has increased, women have been forced to leave the workforce in order to care for children home from school and the political landscape has been altered drastically. We’ve seen negative impacts on women’s education as Afghan women have been banned from education and employment, and in healthcare as well, as reproductive rights have been stripped away in many areas of America.
The one thing that the pandemic could not change is the will of women to fight against injustice. In Mexico, women turned metal fencing from the National Palace into memorials for victims of femicide. Polish women protested across the country to fight a near total ban on abortion. All across the world, marches still took place in 2021 and 2022 to celebrate IWD, despite continued concerns around COVID-19.
There have also been numerous milestones surpassed in the areas of leadership and politics. We have elected the first female, first black, and first Asian American Vice President in the United States. Tanzania and Honduras both swore in their first female Presidents. Paid bereavement leave for women who have had miscarriages or stillbirth was passed in New Zealand.
It is clear that while the COVID-19 pandemic has reversed a significant amount of progress made in the last 50 years, women have yet to give up on closing the gender gap by propelling themselves into leadership positions where they will continue to bring their knowledge to all tables and empower those around them.

Program Spotlights

Family Education Program: Enhanced Parenting Time

by Nicole Wong, Director of Family Support Services 

In 2021, the Family Education Program welcomed the Enhanced Parenting Time (EPT) Program to their Ulster County Office. This program enhances the existing services in the Ulster County Family Treatment Court (FTC) by providing specific, curriculum-guided skills for building healthy family relationships and aiding in promoting the family goals of reunification for those involved with FTC.

This program provides critical parenting education and supervised visitation services to families experiencing substance use disorders who are engaged in Ulster County’s Family Treatment Court.

Since the program’s establishment, staff have served 7 parents and 9 children and provided 141 parenting time sessions. Five of the seven families have been able to move to a less restrictive level of care and supervision, which includes two families who were granted home-based visitation. So far, this program has had an incredibly high success rate, however, some of the more meaningful impacts we’ve had with our families have been assisting to establish rituals and mealtimes during visitation and assisting families as they transition home.
These opportunities to work with our families in a new and unique way have been a true gift to us in the Family Education Program. 

Sexual Violence Prevention: A Community Level Approach

by April Bourlier, SVP Regional Coordinator 

The month of April is National Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Month. The CDC has found that about 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men suffer sexual violence at some point in their lives*. Even though the month of April highlights the importance of prevention and support, the reality is that every month the topic of sexual violence gender-based violence should be a community conversation to be had.

The Sexual Violence Prevention (SVP) program at Family Services focuses on the idea that even though sexual violence is a community issue, prevention can also be a community approach. Community-level prevention focuses on influencing factors at the community-level in a way that generates positive change in individuals. The framework of community-level prevention is based on the socio-ecological model, pictured below, that illustrates the complex connection between individual, relationship, community, and societal factors. Our program is designed to work with individuals, community organizations, businesses, schools, stakeholders and policy makers to address harmful social norms, unacceptable behaviors and promote safe spaces within Middle Schools, High Schools, and Nightlife Environments across our Hudson Valley to prevent sexual violence. This focus on community-level is important because it creates broad, meaningful change to sustain prevention efforts over time.
In the coming months, the SVP program is excited to partner with community organizations, bar staff, patrons as well as stakeholders to bring about community change. The SVP staff will be outreaching and conducting Safer Bars trainings with local nightlife establishments, leading focus groups and forming coalitions to gather information from the community, continue our prevention programming in Middle and High School, as well as promote our program success through social media and our regional marketing campaign. Since launching last November, our campaign continues to educate and promote our program and mission with over 300k impressions, and an average engagement increase of 20% monthly.
If you would like to get involved or learn more, please check out our Safer Hudson Valley landing page here
* Source: The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010-2012 State Report.

A Look Back

Report to the Community

On February 24th Family Services hosted our annual Report to the Community Event. Although the event was once again virtual, it provided a wonderful opportunity to share with our friends and supporters, all that was accomplished in 2021 and the strides made across our programs. We featured special messages from our friends at Nuvance Health and Mass Design Group and shared the exiting future of the Family Partnership Center. We look forward to a bright 2022 and all the good things to come in our community – Thank you for your partnership!

To view the recording of Report to the Community, please click here for the video on You Tube.
Want to learn more about all we accomplished together in 2021? 


Thank you to our friends at Ulster Savings Bank who made a generous donation of $10,000 to our Teen Resource Activity Center! We are thrilled to use their generous support to serve middle and high school youth in Poughkeepsie.
Our Teen Resource Activity Center (also known as TRAC) offers teens in caring mentorship and a sense of belonging in a safe place where they develop athletic, creative, academic, and workforce skills. TRAC is open at the Family Partnership Center everyday after school for middle and high school students.

Upcoming Event

If you are a survivor looking for an outlet to express yourself, we would love for you to be part of the Visions of Hope and Healing event. Your art may remain anonymous if you chose, simply state that with your submission.
We look forward to being together, supporting survivors, and working towards healing as we view the powerful work of so many wonderful artists. The final details regarding the event will be available soon!
The Poughkeepsie Library District’s Sadie Peterson Delaney African Roots Library will open its doors in a beautifully renovated space on the 2nd floor the Family Partnership Center during National Library week in April! We are thrilled to welcome the Library as our new FPC partner and look forward to the many programs and resources they will offer our community and clients.

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

Find Us On Social Media