Our nonprofit is evolving to serve community needs: column

5:44 PM, Sep. 13, 2013  |  Comments
Todd Werner
Todd Werner
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As communities change and evolve, those who serve the community must adapt and change as well. This certainly is exemplified in the history of Family Counseling Services.

This local nonprofit agency began in 1914 as Federated Charities of Wausau. Its purpose was to provide direct service to the poor and dependent of Wausau and Marathon County. In the early stages, the scope of the work included monetary and material relief, counseling services to individuals and families, arranging child care in state institutions, employment services health services. It supported a free bed at a local hospital for those unable to meet hospital expenses until the beginning of present-day insurance programs.

In 1921, the agency began a children's infirmary which served as temporary housing for disaster victims, children who had been discharged from medical centers but whose homes were inadequate for recuperating, children awaiting court action, unwed mothers or daycare for working mothers.

The organization changed its name to Family Counseling Services in 1955. And it has served the community well by offering a variety of services for children, adults and families. Through the generous support of local endowments, private donations and The United Way of Marathon County, it has been able to provide quality and affordable mental health and alcohol and drug services to the residents of Marathon County.

Change was once again a part of Family Counseling's history in March of this year. It merged into another local nonprofit agency known as Peaceful Solutions Counseling.

Peaceful Solutions Counseling has been providing a variety of mental health services to children, adults and families since 2007. They include counseling for individuals, couples and families facing challenges such as depression, anxiety, abuse or trauma and families who are facing a divorce. Peaceful Solutions Counseling also provides the only certified batterers treatment program in Marathon County.

We believe this merger between Family Counseling Services and Peaceful Solutions Counseling is a natural outgrowth of trying to meet the ever-changing and complex needs of our community. As many know, there is an increasing demand for basic needs, along with affordable and high-quality mental health and substance abuse treatment services in our community. Both agencies shared a common vision and purpose, and as a result of this merger we know that we will be better equipped to respond to these growing needs, now and in the future.

Our community has a wonderful capacity to work cooperatively together to meet the needs of our most vulnerable citizens, and we are proud to be a part of that. We are also excited about what the future holds for this new expanded agency and the ability to continue to rise up and meet the challenges.

At the end of this month, staff from both offices will find their new home at 741 N. 1st St. in downtown Wausau..

We would like to thank everyone for their continued support, and look forward to the future. The best is yet to come!

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If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

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