What impact have you had?
VCS has had an enormous impact on the delivery of mental health services in Rockland County. Hundreds of people each year who could not otherwise afford counseling are served at VCS. Our use of professionally trained volunteers allows us to offer services that are either free (funded by grants) or on a very generous sliding scale ( a few dollars per week). In addition, about 75 volunteers per year take our highly acclaimed counselor training class, which enhances their interpersonal and professional skills. Since 1970, VCS has trained thousands of volunteers. Many of them have gone on to become mental health professionals, while others have become more effective in both the home and workplace. Volunteers work with a wide range of issues including: youth at risk, homebound elderly, parents with childrearing problems, abused woman, couples with relationship issues, and clients with low level depression and anxiety. Our counselors have good success with engaging, supporting and facilitating change in our clients.
VCS works in close collaboration with many community agencies and has embraced a social justice mission along with our counseling goals. We train counselors in areas of sexism, racism and homophobia and take leadership in the county around the issues. We also have helped to organize services for the county's burgeoning immigrant populations. This makes our services relevant to diverse communities.
Mental health services in Rockland is more available, more affordable and more relevant to diverse communities. 74-90 volunteers per year are trained and up to 650 people will receive affordable mental health services.
What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.
Please address each year separately, if possible. (300 words or less.) VCS would need to add professional hours in order to increase our capacity to train and supervise additional volunteers. We need more volunteers to accommodate the growing numbers of clients who needs our services due to the economic recession, growing numbers of people out of work, increased stress on families and cutbacks of counseling staff at the county and state funded agencies. Our current clinical staff is at capacity and we had to dismiss two part time clinical staff people in the last year due to funding cutbacks.
What would prevent your project from being a success?
Increasing funding cuts would result in staff cuts. Although we work with a large cadre of volunteers who donate their services, the success of VCS has always rested on the high level professional training and supervision which supports our volunteers. We can not maintain an effective volunteer pool without sufficient professional staff.