news from the executive office

Washington County FSC’s 20th

The Washington County Family Support Center threw a huge party on Friday, November 13, to celebrate its 20th anniversary. Founders, funders, and friends turned out in large numbers, including participants from now and then – babies who are now approaching 20, in college or good jobs, and parents who are approaching 40+ or approaching 40, launched on a career, raising happy, successful children – every one of us grateful.

It takes three major ingredients to make a successful Family Support Center (FSC), which Washington County has always been (and more — an EXEMPLARY FSC ).

1. First and perhaps most importantly, it takes great leadership on the front line. Washington County has been blessed by leadership from Center Directors, in succession, Wendy Weiner, Karen Christof, and now Dori Yorks, each a talented, dedicated, creative leader, highly effective with staff, participants, sponsoring agency, community-based organizations and local residents.

MFN staff with FSC director Dori Yorks.

MFN staff with FSC director Dori Yorks, lower right.

2. Second, a successful FSC needs a great sponsoring agency that commits itself to backing the program, no matter what it takes. From the beginning, the Washington County Department of Social Services has been the founder and lead supporter of this FSC, sparing nothing in the way of resources and encouragement. From the beginning, the guiding light has been the Director of the local DSS, Dave Engles, who coincidentally is retiring this year. He started the FSC and, in the early years, was supported by Carol Springer (now Carol Lourie), who still carries the mission forward as head of a nonprofit created to raise money to enhance and expand the ongoing operations of the FSC.

3. Third, a results-oriented, thriving FSC needs a community that believes in it and contributes to its success. In Washington County, the FSC has greatly benefitted from the full backing of the County Commissioners who have always provided space and occupancy costs for the FSC. The leadership of the County Council has never waivered in its support and points to the FSC often as one of the County’s success stories. Another outstanding contributor has been the Washington County School Board who has contributed substantially to the development of the FSC’s adult education program, providing resources for instruction and transportation so that GED graduates can cross the stage with their high school peers.

Congratulations to the staff of the Washington County Family Support Center, to the DSS, and to the Washington County community on your 20 years of service to the very young children and their parents who have grown up in your County – you have made all the difference.