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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


WYFCS celebrating 40 years with banquet

(Oct. 1, 2015) Forty years ago, Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services opened its doors with the goal of expanding mental health services on the Eastern Shore.
On Sunday, the Berlin-based nonprofit will hold its annual celebration with a look back at all the work during the previous year, as well as a glimpse at the previous four decades.
“[WYFCS] was started back in 1975 by community members who were concerned about mental health and resources here in Worcester County,” said CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Director Brigitte Southworth, who has been with the organization for 10 years. “It started with just mental health counseling, and they worked a lot with juvenile delinquents and youth.”
Today the organization has expanded to include CASA, as well as the Berlin Youth Club, the Family Connections Program and SAGES and SABERS, helping at-risk adolescent girls and boys.
“It’s grown a tremendous amount,” Southworth said. “We have six strong programs, and last year we served more than 1,000 people.”
Southworth added that, despite its name, the nonprofit also serves senior citizens in the county.
“We don’t just work with children – we work with people of all ages,” Southworth said. “Along with ‘youth and family’ we offer services for our elderly, especially with the Family Connections program that works with a lot of individuals who are over 50.”
Programs of the nonprofit receives financial support from the town of Berlin, the town of Ocean City, the Worcester County Commissioners, and local, state and federal grants.
During the annual event Southworth said WYFCS would announce new board members, as well as review its latest operational numbers and unveil a new program.
“This year we’re also collaborating with Peninsula Regional Medical Center, who are opening up a beds for youth program for mental health,” she said. “They’re coming, just so we can show our support for each other.”
The program will be based in Salisbury.
Southworth noted that the majority or WYFCS programs exclusively serve Worcester County, although mental health counseling often extends outside county lines, occasionally as far as Delaware and Virginia.
The annual celebration will run from 3-5 p.m. at the Francis Scott Key’s Shipwreck Cove at 12806 Ocean Gateway in West Ocean City. The event is free and open to the public, and light fare and a cash bar will be provided.
“We want to educate everyone about the wonderful things we’re doing here and how we’ve grown,” Southworth said. “All of our programs serve so many people in the area and we just want to get the word out and talk about the need for more mental health services here on the shore.”
For more information, or to donate to WYFCS, call 410-641-4598 or visit