Help Support Family Continuity's Winter Wish

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Craig Maxim of Family Continuity Photo Credit: Deb Gauthier

NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. — With the mission to strengthen and support local families, Whitinsville's Family Continuity is one of 39 organizations hoping to increase their ability to give back to their community with the help of Main Street Connect's Winter Wish List, and with just a daily vote readers can help them along in their endeavor.

For over 25 years the private, non-profit mental health and social services agency has served Eastern and Central Massachusetts from its hub offices in Beverly/Peabody, Lawrence, Plymouth, Hyannis as well as Whitinsville/Worcester. Locally its serves most of the Blackstone Valley and sections of Worcester County by providing outpatient counseling, and other community outreach services.

At the heart of Family Continuity's mission is the goal of supporting family success in all communities. And for them, the definition of family extends from the traditional family unit to a senior that is living alone — "from all socio-economic backgrounds and every walk of life," siad Craig Maxim, site director for the Whitinsville clinic of Family Continuity.

In addition to having a psychiatrist and nurse practitioner on staff, Family Continuity also offers family counseling, a variety of groups including social skills groups for children and adolescents, adult anger management, and does work with the department of youth services.

Moreover, in order to find effective solutions to the issues facing local families, the agency has recently developed a close-knit working relationship with the community.

"We're also involved in a community development task force in a local coalition, which really got off the ground last year," said Maxim.

The coalition was formed after a series of local tragedies shook the community last year, when a local student committed suicide just before the start of the school year, and a young man killed his brother.

The Coalition is a group of organizations, students, and families, including Northbridge Public Schools, the Northbridge Association of Churches (NAC), Family Continuity of Whitinsville, the Whitin Community Center, Whitinsville Christian School, Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and the district attorney.

"Working with the community in the development of the coalition has been rewarding," said Maxim, explaining how the community has responded and assisted in finding the solutions "to some of the difficulties and critical issues that have been identified in the area."

In line with this effort, the agency hopes to open up a family resource center in downtown Whitinsville in order to help families that are in crisis.

"What we're finding is that a lot of folks that are coming in our doors don't necessarily need counseling, but they might need connections with food pantries or fuel assistance or other types of services," said Maxim. "So we're in the process of trying to get something up along those lines."

The grassroots endeavor, however, is in need of funding, and a potential $5,000 from the Winter Wish List contest could have a great impact on their abilty to get the effort up and running.

While there is money from some state contracts, Maxim says most of the funding comes from third party reimbursements from insurance.

"That's our major source of revenue," he explained.

Some of the things in need, according to Maxim, include equipment and supplies, as well as a personal computer for people applying for jobs.

The coalition is also involved in organizing a young people's self-help AA meeting in Whitinsville.

Currently, young people who look for such a resource go out to a similar group in Framingham, and the coalition seeks to create their own group with the help of local volunteers.

"I see that as something that's been successful in utilizing community resources and folks in the community to come up with solutions to some of the pressing issues that are affecting people."

For more information on Family Continuity, visit http://www.familycontinuity.org/.

For more information on the coalition, visit http://www.northbridgecoalition.com/.

Until Jan. 15, readers can still cast their votes for the many participating non-profits daily -- and make sure you share the link with other fans of your favorite group! Voters must be registered and logged onto the site to vote.

Here’s a refresher on how the promotion works:
All 501(c)(3) organizations based in – and serving – our territory covered by a Main Street Connect news site will be able to register and rally their supporters to vote for their organization until January 15, 2012. The organization that has received the most votes by January 15 will receive $5,000. Five runner-up organizations will each earn $500.

You can come back and vote once every day for your favorite organization in Winter Wish List. You can even vote for a different organization every day.

If you are an official representative of a 501(c)(3) organization and would like to participate in Winter's Wish List, you still have time to register here.

We hope you will take part in this great opportunity to benefit the wonderful organizations that serve our community.  If you have any questions, please email WWL@MainStreetConnect.us

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