PLAINS TWP. — Family Service Association of Northeastern PA held its 123rd annual meeting on Monday, honoring Medical Oncology Associates and Helen T. O’Brien.
The meeting, held at Holiday Inn Wilkes-Barre East Mountain, also honored employees, volunteers and board members.
• The Community Leader of the Year Award was presented to Medical Oncology Associates for their work providing compassionate care to the residents of NEPA for 41 years.
• The Albert N. Danoff Trustees Humanitarian Award was given to Helen T. O’Brien for her commitment to improve the lives of individuals, children and families in the community.
Michael Zimmerman, chief executive officer at Family Service Association of NEPA (FSA), gave his annual report, citing what he termed “impressive numbers” of the past year.
”Whether the request was for family reunification, trauma reduction, link to resources, parent/child interaction skills, consent for medical treatment for a guardianship consumer, locating a family member to support a child at risk of placement, a young man looking to change his abusive behavior, or a young lady at risk of dropping from school and following a path to crime, we responded simply, we are here to empower you,” Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman said a recent survey of 17,500 adults regarding incidents in their childhood of emotional/physical abuse, sexual abuse, substance abuse by a parent, incarceration of a parent, domestic violence, divorce of parents, and mental illness by a parent produced “staggering” findings.
“The higher the incident rate, the greater the impact on health across the lifespan,” Zimmerman said. “Our people need our help — our community needs our help.”
Zimmerman said the need continues to grow across Luzerne County and Northeastern Pennsylvania.
“We will continue to reunite family members who for various reasons have become alienated through the years,” Zimmerman said. “We will empower families to develop their own plan to assist children at risk for dependency. We will serve as ethical substitute decision makers for those adults who can not make decisions about their well being. We will assist those whose daily burdens have overwhelmed them to the point where they don’t know where to look for resources to address their needs. We will help to reduce the trauma of an abused child, empowering families to guide their most precious members.
”We will work with parents and their children to prepare for school with a joy of learning. We will be there for those who are bullied and feel utter hopelessness, ready to end their young lives .”
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.