At its 127th Annual Meeting, Family Centers honored several volunteers whose contributions improved the lives of thousands of children and families across Fairfield County. The event was held Thursday, Oct. 25 at First Presbyterian Church in Greenwich.
In recognition of its contributions in opening Family Centers’ Federally Qualified Health Center in Greenwich, the board of Family Centers Health Care (FCHC) was presented with the 2018 Helen Gratz Rockefeller Outstanding Volunteerism Award. Traditionally reserved for a current or former member of Family Centers’ Board of Directors, the award is the agency’s highest volunteer honor. This year marks the first time a group has won the award.
Since 2016, the FCHC board has worked tirelessly to establish the health center as a reliable medical home for lower-income families. Aside from embracing the difficult task of deciphering the many government requirements associated with Federally Qualified Health Centers, the Board provided the leadership necessary to formulate policies and procedures.
The FCHC Board is comprised of community leaders, local residents and consumers of the health center. Members include: Reuben Mark, Chairman; Lourdes Falcon, Vice Chairman/Secretary; Dr. Alan Barry; Nancy Brown; Gerhard Peter; and The Rev. David Van Dyke.
Mike Wheeler, a longtime tutor with Family Centers’ Literacy Volunteers program, was also named the 2018 Anne Firestone Ball Family Champion. Over the past eight years, Wheeler helped hundreds of immigrant adults learn English so they could improve their overall self-sufficiency. Wheeler’s unique teaching style has resonated with his students, as he routinely incorporates the music of “Hamilton” to enhance the lessons of his English Civics class. For his efforts, Wheeler has earned his students’ respect while inspiring them to strive for continuous growth. For many, he’s more than a teacher – he’s an advocate, motivator and friend.
Isabel Kalb, a junior at Greenwich Academy, was awarded the Outstanding Youth Volunteer Award. Sponsored by JP Morgan, the award recognizes a student who has displayed a commitment to community service. For the past two years, Kalb has volunteered with Family Centers’ Early Care and Education program. Understanding the connection between early literacy and future academic success, Kalb worked with Family Centers’ teachers to develop a reading curriculum that was implemented across the agency’s three sites in Greenwich.
Family Centers’ Board of Directors also honored CEO Bob Arnold for his 40 years of service to the organization. Arnold started at Family Centers as a social worker in 1978, and quickly rose to the position of CEO in 1982 – a position he still holds.
During his time at Family Centers, Arnold has facilitated a number of strategic mergers and oversaw program development to make the agency the trusted community resource it is today. In recognition of his anniversary, the Board presented him with a performance road bicycle.
Family Centers’ Annual Meeting was a celebration of the organization’s accomplishments over the past year, and was attended by Family Centers’ Board of Directors, Senior Advisors, staff and supporters.
Family Centers is a private, nonprofit organization offering education and human services to children, adults and families in Fairfield County. More than 200 professionals and 4,000 trained volunteers work together to provide a wide range of responsive, innovative programs. A United Way, Community Fund of Darien and New Canaan Community Foundation partner agency, Family Centers is a member of the Connecticut Council of Family Service Agencies and the Alliance for Children and Families and is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The agency is licensed by the State of Connecticut Departments of Public Health and Children and Families. Visit www.familycenters.org for additional information.