Tri-County Youth Services Bureau celebrates 45 years of service to children
Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton to speak at dinner and gala
Empowering young minds and seeking resources for the youth of Southern Maryland has always been the mission of the Tri-County Youth Services Bureau.
On Dec. 3, the organization will celebrate 45 years of serving young people with programs, counseling and additional assistance provided by the bureau’s staff.
The bureau’s 45th anniversary celebration will be held 7 to 11 p.m. at Middleton Hall in Waldorf. The organization’s dinner and gala will have Sen. Thomas “Mac” Middleton (D-Charles) as the guest speaker and will also raise funds to allow the bureau to continue to provide
services to local children, youth and families.
Laurel James, the bureau’s executive director, said Middleton was instrumental since the ear- lier years of the bureau’s work with the community and has been one of the organization’s strongest supporters.
“Through the bureau and its community part- ners, young people are able to become self-efficient and given the tools that they need to be suc- cessful,” James said. “One of the greatest accom- plishments in the past year is partnering with the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland’s youth and young adult program which focuses on moving young people 16-24 who are not in school, not employed, disconnected youth, and getting them ready for adulthood. That was criti- cal. We’ve been able to engage a lot of young people in their schools to serve as youth leaders.”
The Tri-County Youth Services Bureau is a nonprofit, community-based delinquency prevention organization, providing counseling, youth development and family support to children and youth up to age 24 and their families in Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties. The anniversary is a celebration of the thousands of children, youth and families who have sought services at one of the bureau’s offices over the years.
“We will be recognizing the 45 years of history, along with some of the staff by presenting some Length of Service Awards and presenting Sustained Superior Service Awards to staff for their sustained excellent performance,” said Stephen Cricchi, president of the bureau’s board of directors.
James said the organization will also be awarding community partners such as the Tri-County Council with the Community Partnership Award for creating a successful youth and young adult program, along with Project Linus, a group of women located in Charles County who provide one or two dozen knit, crochet and quilt
blankets on a monthly ba- sis for children who may have been abused or have lost a parent or sibling.
The organization has responded to the needs of the community by providing young people with services such as coun- seling, substance abuse assessment and referrals to treatment services, suicide prevention, crisis intervention, community outreach and education, and school-based counsel- ing programs every day.
Cricchi said the orga- nization started off as a group of people just try- ing to help kids and teens, and it grew into what it is today. He said he’s never seen a more committed and passionate group of people in an organization help the youth on a “shoestring budget” and have such great outreach.
Paula Cubbage, sec- retary of the board of directors, said with the recent budget cuts and decreased funding, the bureau has to provide its services with even less resources.
“I see how the bureau is providing vital programs and the children are reaping the benefit of the services that are provided to them, but they lack the resources,” Cubbage said. “The celebration will show how over 45 years the bureau has provided great services to the community and children at large and it will show that we have the children’s best interests at heart. Children seem to be left behind in so many ways ... it’s really great that the organization is still here after 45 years of ups and downs with funding. Funding is the No. 1 challenge that faces the bureau.”
In the last year, the bureau touched the lives of 3,454 individuals — al- though there has been significant reduction in funding for badly needed programs assisting chil- dren and youth. The or- ganization’s goal is to prevent young people from entering the juvenile justice system by providing them with the tools needed to make a successful transition to adulthood.
“We’re catching at-risk youth at a point in their life where we can turn the direction their life is taking,” Cricchi said. “If we can intervene when they’re young and turn them into productive members of society, that’s the gift that keeps on giv- ing for the community and county at large. It’s a way to take folks that have been marginalized or are struggling through issues and turn them into folks that appreciate the need and the value of hard work.”
Tickets to the 45th annual celebration on Saturday are $50. For more information about the event, contact the organization at 301-645-1837 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Participants are photographed during one of the Tri-County Youth Services Bureau’s Youth Power programs in St. Mary’s County. According to Laurel James, executive director of the bureau, this group focuses on wellness and healthy living.
Young people participate in the Charles County Beautification Project during Global Youth Service Day in Charles County. The Tri-County Youth Services Bureau has also adopted Henry Ford Circle in Waldorf, with a minimum cleaning of three days annually. This activity emphasizes civic responsibility through community service.