BERLIN – Three community members will be recognized in January for their contributions to a local nonprofit.
On Jan. 15, Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services (WYFCS) will honor Gee Williams, Robin Walter and Adriano “Bubba” Almony at the nonprofit’s 45th Annual Celebration.
“We will take time to celebrate what we have been able to accomplish despite the pandemic, and honor those who have helped make it possible,” a statement from WYFCS reads. “Every year we dedicate a ‘Sun Award’ to people and organizations in the community who have contributed to Worcester Youth in significant ways. This year three people will be given a Sun Award for their contributions to WYFCS and the community they serve: Gee Williams, Robin Walter, and Adriano “Bubba” Almony.”
In an interview this week, WYFCS Director Jennifer Leggour said award recipients were selected based on nominations from nonprofit board members and staff. The honorees will be recognized during the virtual celebration, which will be held using the videoconferencing platform Zoom.
“We’re excited,” she said of this year’s event. “Change can be good, different is ok.”
This year, Williams – Berlin’s mayor from 2008 to 2020 – will be honored as an “Outstanding Supporter.” Under his leadership, Williams supported town funding for WYFCS Youth Programs and has been a leading influence with the Berlin Youth Club.
He will be joined in recognition by Walter, who will receive this year’s “Outstanding Contributor” award. In her role as WYFCS board president from July 2019 to July 2020, Walter assisted with fundraising, agency planning and staff support, in addition to developing the agency’s most recent strategic plan.
Almony – a celebrity bodyguard and Stephen Decatur High School alumnus – will also be recognized as this year’s “Distinguished Advocate,” promoting the organization’s mission through social media and podcasts and leading Youth Programs presentations about bullying and mentorship.
“Worcester Youth and Family is proud of how community members have shown their support to the agency and the people of our community,” a statement reads. “People have been truly generous, with their time and many forms of support of our programs and our mission. We could not do any of what we do without all of you.”
This month’s Annual Celebration will also highlight the agency’s accomplishments in 2020.
Despite the pandemic, Leggour said the nonprofit continued to offer counseling services through secure video chats and youth and family programs through virtual platforms. WYFCS was also able to train roughly 40 volunteers for its CASA program and 35 volunteers for its new youth mentoring program.
“We were very fortunate to have remote capabilities …,” she said. “We went virtual with everything.”
Those virtual capabilities, Leggour noted, allowed WYFCS to provide vital services to community members throughout the year.
“I think everyone was struck with the feeling of being isolated …,” she said. “We saw an increase in substance abuse and family conflict, and clinically speaking we were able to reach out and help people.”
WYFCS said this year’s Annual Celebration will focus on what was gained rather than what was lost. Leggour added that a link to the Annual Celebration will be posted on the organization’s website and social media pages. The event will begin at noon on Jan. 15.
“Anyone is welcome to watch,” she said.