BERLIN — It was an emotional night at the Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services (WYFCS) annual review Friday, as a ceremony was dedicated to former Assistant and Clinical Director Carolyn Cordial, who passed away in April.
It was a time of reflection for WYFCS with Director Teresa Fields reminding everyone in attendance that the organization had lost a giant with Cordial’s passing.
“Tonight we honor and celebrate a dear friend and colleague, Carolyn Cordial. Although I could talk all night about the things she has accomplished, I think that all of us in this room know what she has done for the community, what she has meant to all of us at Worcester Youth and Family and the positive difference she’s made in the lives of many, many people,” Fields said. “I’ve spent almost every day of my life with her for the past 15 years and I can truly say she’s the most intelligent, caring person I’ve ever known.”
The work Cordial had accomplished for WYFCS over the last decade and a half is immeasurable, according to Fields.
“She lived and breathed the CASA [Court Appointed Special Advocate] program for many years. It was a program near and dear to her hear,” said Fields of Cordial. “She spent every day of her life, whether she was working or not, advocating for abused and neglected kids.”
Besides CASA, Fields recalled that Cordial “played a huge role” in building many of WYFCS’ outreach and counseling programs, as well as being instrumental in the group’s fundraising efforts.
“In her own words, [Cordial] said that she wanted to build a place where people could go where they could feel safe, where they wouldn’t be judged and where they could get help for whatever they needed,” said Fields. “She held a very special place in her heart for those who were struggling and those who were suffering, especially children and animals.”
Cordial’s memory was also honored by friends Hannah Saulsbury and Jaime McDonald, who performed the song “Home,” by Phillip Phillips, a favorite of Cordial’s. Her daughter, Ally Cordial, then dedicated “The Starfish Poem,” to her mother. In the poem, an old man spends his time on the beach, tossing stranded starfish back into the ocean. When asked what difference he was making, with the beach full of stranded starfish, the old man explained that, even if he couldn’t save every starfish, his actions still meant something to each that he did save.
Though it was a somber event, Fields was able to announce some good news. The Carolyn
Cordial Living Legacy Fund, which WYFCS began over the summer, reached a milestone only hours before the annual review took place.
“This is a fund that will go on to support the agency’s programs into perpetuity,” Fields said
. “We started this endowment fund in June with an initial contribution and I’m happy to say, as of two hours ago, we reached our $10,000 mark.”
Fields reported a number of other statistics for the past year at the review. Administration underwent a $40,000 technology upgrade thanks to a grant from the Mary Humphreys Foundation. W
YFCS counselors provided 6,788 hours of therapy to 462 clients while the 44 volunteers associated
with CASA provided 6,336 hours of advocating for 66 abused and neglected children over the last year, with five of those children being successfully adopted.
The Family Connections program celebrated its 10 year anniversary and assisted 485 economically challenged families last year. The Strengthening Adolescent Girls w
ith Education and Support (SAGES) program also hit the decade mark this year and provided over 1,500 activities, service projects, counseling sessions and field trips to the 33 girls who took part.
WYFCS’ newest major undertaking, the Berlin Youth Club helped dozens of kids through 50 enrichment activities and 75 field trips.