The history of human services agencies is tied to a famous event in America’s history know as, “Woodstock”. In 1969, Woodstock was a musical moment in music history that lasted three days. This event hosted 32 musical performances performed outdoors and attracted an audience of over 400,000 young people. Even though this event was held an hour away from the town known as Woodstock, the name stuck, and the town became famous overnight. Because of this sudden fame this once quiet little town became overwhelmed with young people searching for a new life and escape from the world they were living. With the arrival of all the young people, the town began to notice that there was a problem. These young people were hitchhiking in and out of the town, sleeping on benches, camping in parking lots, and looking for food and clothing. One resident by the name of Gail Varsi decided that something needed to be done about this. Gail Varsi started to notice that there were many young people who needed food, clothing, and shelter.
So Gail opened her home and the use of her phone to people who needed help. Gail began organizing clothing exchanges, food drives. With the assistance from some local businesses, Gail also raised money to cover the costs to send some of the people back to where they were from (Burger, 2011). This is how the Family of Woodstock, Inc all started. To this day, the phone number that Gail had in 1969 is still the same number of the first walk-in center in Woodstock, NY. The Family of Woodstock, Inc’s missions is to provide access to crisis intervention, support services, prevention, and information to help individuals and families in need (Gibbons, 2010). The Family of Woodstock, Inc has evolved over the years and will continue to grow because of one person’s values, and beliefs to help people in need. This organization started out helping young people meet their basic needs and has evolved into teen runaway shelter, domestic violence shelter, homeless shelters, and several walk-in centers for adults and adolescents (Burger, 2011).
The community and the organization continued to develop new programs like the MidWay Program. This program was designed to help young adults and teenagers find places to stay. The young adults were not considered runaways but needed help because of other problems such as sexual assault, victims of domestic violence, substance abuse, or had parents who could not take care of them. Even though, some of them were 18 and considered an adult, they did not have the skills to live on their own. The midway Program offered them a safe place to stay for up to twenty-four months. During their stay, the teens and young adults were taught daily living skills to live on their own. Some of the skills they learned while they were there was laundry, budgeting, cooking, relationship, and communication skills (Burger, 2011).
This program was designed to teach them how to live out on their own. There were several case managers to help them get the help that they needed. The Family of Woodstock, Inc has emerged in many other areas in the helping field such as assisting with mental health care for all ages. Family of Woodstock has also created support groups for people who have been incarcerated. Today this agency provides services all over Ulster County, and has programs such as domestic violence shelters, walk-in centers, and teen runaway shelters (Burger, 2011). Because of the different issues
Since that famous event in 1969 known as Woodstock our society has evolved and changed in many ways and will continue to change. Because of one person and the help of the community this person was able to organize and develop programs to meet the needs of individuals in the community. Professionals in the helping field are beginning to find that there are many populations that need assistance and are finding new ways to meet their needs. The Family of Woodstock, Inc is the perfect example of how communities and people who care can make a difference.
Burger, W. R. (2011). Human services in contemporary America. Cengage learning.
The Family of Woodstock. (2009-2015). Retrieved from