Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services, Inc.
Counsel + Empower + Strengthen + Advocate + Enlighten = Wellness
April 2019

Happy April! Welcome to our newsletter and thank you for supporting Worcester Youth and Family! 

In This Issue
Ahoy! It's the Eleventh Annual Pirate Party to benefit the children of Worcester County. A great cause to "Keep Children Afloat!" Don't miss the Summer Kickoff Party of the season! Pirate attire is highly encouraged but not required.

$49 entrance fee will get you free grub and 1 drink ticket
All admission includes live music and a rip roarin time!

Try yer luck at me Gold Bar Treasure for a chance to win great prizes! There will also be a 50/50 raffle & silent auction.
What's happening at WYFCS?
On Thursday, March 6th, SAGES and SABERS experienced the culture of student life through a student lead guided tour at Salisbury University. They even got to meet Sammy Sea Gull! Thank you Salisbury University!
WYFCS sends a huge thanks to Junior Achievement of the Eastern Shore for inviting our SABERS and SAGES to the JA Inspire event! Our youth enjoyed interacting and engaging with the many businesses in attendance, who did a great job inspiring the youth!

It was a day filled with exploration of potential career paths, physical activity, and a little corn hole to top it off!
SAGES and SABERS spent the afternoon on Thursday, March 14th at Wor-Wic Community College learning about the various programs currently offered to students, where students can get academic help such as tutoring and how students work with their advisors and the financial department to best meet their academic and financial needs. Participants were also educated on the upcoming improvements to the college in addition to how community college differs from universities. Visiting the campus and taking a tour was a part of our college and career readiness initiative through the support of Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore. We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to provide educational experiences to our youth
WYFCS sends a huge thank you to the folks of Stevenson United Methodist Church for sponsoring our Bus Stop Snack Shack, our SABERS/ SAGES kiddos, and all the wonderful volunteers who pitched in to help at Cannery Villiage on Friday, March 15th!

With the help of our community partners at Stevenson UMC , we were able to kick off the weekend with pizza, snacks, books, take home bags filled with goodies, toiletries and tons of love for our youth and families at Cannery Village! It truly was a fantastic team effort!

Thanks Cannery Village for such a warm welcome! What a great way to end our work week connecting with the youth in their community!
From One of Our Therapists
National Autism Awareness Month
By: Dr. Jennifer Leggour, Psy.D.
April is Autism Awareness Month, and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a condition that affects one in every 68 children in the United States. What were previously known as Autistic Disorder, Asperger's Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder are all now ASD.
Symptoms of ASD typically present in early developmental periods. If your baby or child is demonstrating a combination of these "red flags," it may be time for you to consult his/her pediatrician:
Social Interaction:
*              Avoids eye contact
*              Lack of warm, joyful expressions
*              Does not share interest or enjoyment
*              Does not respond to name
Communication Skills:
*              Lack of showing gestures
*              Lack of coordination or understanding of nonverbal communication
*              Repeats words or phrases over and over
Repetitive Behaviors & Restricted Interests:
*              Repetitive movements with objects
*              Repetitive movements of body, arms, hands, or fingers (flapping, rocking, spinning)
*              Obsessive interests

Autism Spectrum Disorder is not a condition that a child or adult will "out grow" in his or her lifetime. However, it is a condition that is very treatable with early intervention. If you are a parent, teacher, or close friend of an individual with ASD, below are some strategies for you to keep in mind:
*              Visual aids- help the individual feel prepared and know what is going to occur next
*              Communication- teach different ways to communicate needs (social stories)
*              Structure- increases predictability and independence
*              Minimize distractions- including sounds, smells, and lights

Worcester Youth & Family has clinicians on staff who treat high functioning ASD, following a diagnosis by a hospital or other medical team. Most insurances are accepted. (410)641-4598.

Volunteer Spotlight
Sharon Fitzgerald 
Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)

DUTIES: Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA's) are trained to advocate for children in the child welfare system. A CASA develops a relationship with the child he/she advocates for and follows the child's case to ensure the child receives needed services. The goal is seeing the child placed in a safe, permanent home.

PERSONAL BACKGROUND: Until 2014, Sharon was a resident of northern Baltimore County and taught middle school for the Carroll County Public School system for 20 years. Throughout her career, she encountered very diverse children, families, and situations. Although an advocate for all children, Sharon always found herself drawn to those in need of additional support, academically as well as emotionally.
Sharon has been married for 40 years this May, and she and her husband have one daughter. In 2014, her husband convinced her to retire so that they could move to the Eastern Shore in order to enjoy their transition into their retirement years, but more obviously so that he could pursue his kite boarding hobby! Admittedly, it was a difficult change for Sharon, but she has found her niche, by becoming a CASA volunteer.

BEST PART OF YOUR VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE: Advocating for children in need has always been my mode of operation and knowing that I am making a difference in the lives of children is the most gratifying experience. Meeting and getting to know the children and watching their growth over time when placed within an environment that helps them thrive-seeing them be successful, happy, and enjoying the life they deserve, providing hope, and ultimately the reality of a better future for them is the best part of my volunteer experience. 

BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU HAVE FACED: Although I do understand the necessity, I think one of the biggest challenges is dealing with the timetable involved and all the protocols involved in dealing with the court and related agencies. 

WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE OTHERS TO KNOW: First, in becoming a CASA, you're not alone. Initially, you receive in-depth training and, subsequently, continued support throughout your case(s). The CASA team is there to guide you, so never hesitate to address any questions or concerns with them. You don't have to figure it out on your own!
Second, please know that the time and energy you expend in being an advocate for these children is extremely important and helpful. Do your best to develop relationships with the children and with all collaterals involved and maintain contact with them. Be persistent.

CASA PROGRAM STAFF STATEMENT ABOUT SHARON: Sharon is a passionate, reliable and dedicated CASA volunteer. She communicates regularly with staff and works collaboratively with interested parties toward meeting the best interests of the children she represents. She is an organized and excellent reporter of critical information to the court. She serves her position with a pleasant calmness and openness and takes an unbiased approach to her investigative work and reporting. Sharon cares deeply for the children she represents but maintains appropriate boundaries. In her time as a CASA volunteer, Sharon's case has been dealt many difficult situations, all of which she has handled and overcome with grace. She truly goes above and beyond in advocating for the children she serves. We are so very fortunate to have Sharon on the Lower Shore CASA team!
April 12 - Second Friday Art Stroll
Stroll downtown Berlin from 12-5pm and check out thefeatured artists and musicians in the stores and streets.

April 16 - Dine & Donate at Fins for WYFCS
Join us Tuesday, April 16th at Fins Ale House and Raw Bar in Berlin! From 4-8:30pm, Fins will donate 20% of total sales to WYFCS. Thank you Fins for the support!

April 18 - WYFCS Bus Stop Snack Shack
WYFCS' Bus Stop Snack Shack will set up at Byrd Park in Snow Hill. Join us as we hand out snacks and reading materials to children as they get off the bus. Thank you Makemie Memorial Presbyterian Church for sponsoring this months snack shack!

April 19 - Good Friday
WYFCS Office Closed

April 20 - Spring Celebration
Join us at the Spring Celebration in downtown Berlin! The day will be filled with themed games and crafts, a moon bounce, face-painting, story time and more. All games and crafts are FREE. There will also be an Easter Egg Hunt. Don't forget to make your reservation for the Pancake Breakfast with Peter Rabbit. Sitting times will be at 8:30am, 9:15am and 10:30am. To make reservations call the chamber at 410-641-4775.  For more information please contact Jess at chamberinfo@berlinchamber.org.

April 27 - Ocean City Island to Island Half Marathon & 5K
This year is the 15th anniversary of the Island to Island Marathon and 5K hosted by OC Tri Running. Half Marathon runners will run from Assateague Island to Ocean City. Post party begins once you cross the finish line! Join us for the most fun and entertaining post race party of the year with food, refreshments, live music and award ceremony. For more information and to register, visit www.octrirunning.com. Proceeds benefit WYFCS.

April 27 - Comcast Cares Berlin Park Clean Up
Comcast is partnering with the Town of Berlin Maryland and sponsoring a clean-up event on April 27th to benefit the community and Worcester Youth and Family! Volunteers will take part in cleaning up Stephen Decatur Park, Dr. William Henry Park and Berlin Falls Park. To register, visit www.comcastinthecommunity.com and search Berlin Clean-Up Day or sign up day of at Stephen Decatur Park at 8:30am. 
 WYFCS Employment Opportunities
Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services is expanding its practice and has openings described below. Please email cover letter and/or resume to shine@gowoyo.org.

Licensed Counselor/Therapist
Our outpatient clinic is seeking an innovative and enthusiastic clinician to provide mental health counseling to youth, adults and families. Candidates must be a licensed psychologist, LCSW-C or LCPC.

To make a donation to Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services, click here

You can
..Protect a child from child abuse
..De-stigmatize mental health
..Empower the neglected
..Strengthen a family
..Improve a community
..Feel good about your day!

We often need volunteers to help with our programs. Some of the volunteer opportunities are short term such as helping with fundraisers and community events while others require more of a time commitment.
To learn about WYFCS volunteer opportunities, you can visit Get Connected by United Way or call the office at 410-641-4598

Thank you for your support! 
Worcester Youth & Family | 410-641-4598 | shine@gowoyo.org | www.gowoyo.org
124 N. Main Street Berlin, MD 21811