A day of celebration showcased the grand opening of the newly renovated and repurposed Ellsworth Youth & Family Center at 20 Cedar Street in Worcester, MA, in honor of the Ellsworth family’s legacy of support to our community’s youth . This historic grand building was the former home of the Ellsworth Child & Family Counseling Center of Children’s Friend. This well-respected clinic moved along with the clinical operations of YOU, Inc., and Family Services of Central Massachusetts in September 2021, to join the Seven Hills Behavioral Health system of care now serving children, youth, and adults throughout central Massachusetts. This shift has strengthened the reach and scope of vital psychiatry, counseling, and therapeutic groups at a time when our community is seeing the most need for mental health services.
The bright and spacious facility is now home to the Worcester Family Resource Center (WFRC), the Worcester Community Connections Coalition (WCCC), both supported by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services and the Department of Children and Families. It also includes two other programs that are part of the WFRC: the Arts and Music Police Partnership (AMMP) and The Carriage House (THC) Grief Support Center, which is located in its own designated building on the Ellsworth campus. The Dynamy John S. Laws Academy also calls Ellsworth home, hosting first-generation college-bound students on their journey to higher education.
People of all ages, incomes, and abilities are welcomed and staff promotes caring connections with each other and the community. At the FRS, the family resource specialists and staff help parents, children, and families succeed in life through access to emotional support and practical assistance with health, safety, education, and employment. The WCCC works collaboratively with the WFRC to develop and sustain a community infrastructure that mobilizes and aligns effective, collective responses to the identified needs of families with the goal of preventing child abuse and neglect. The Carriage House Grief Support Center provides support groups and a safe welcoming space at no cost to children and families who have lost an immediate family member. The Ellsworth Center campus also hosts programs that add to the mission of strengthening children, youth, and families and partner with the wider community to secure supports and services where they are needed most.
Seven Hills Vice President Anne Fine expanded on the Ellsworth Center vision, “Having a warm and welcoming environment for kids and families to get an array of needed supports and services is at the heart of building a healthy community and drives our work at the Ellsworth Center. Our staff focuses on health-related social needs (HRSN), from education support, to access to basic needs, referral to housing and health care, and on-site support groups—we will continue to expand to provide to the needs of our Worcester community.”
The open house on September 21 included speakers from the programs, including Eric Batista, Acting City Manager of Worcester, who spoke about the impact of the programs as a former staff member of YOU, Inc. mentoring youth. The program’s final speaker was Dynamy JSL Academy Scholar, Jaaliyah Torres, Worcester Technical High School class of 2023. “I am thankful for this big open welcoming space where we can have 1:1 advising, and groups and community meetings—it’s amazing. I am so grateful for my advisors who have taught me so much about myself. I now know that I want to pursue a career in youth work and outreach, and I appreciate this opportunity from everyone from Dynamy JSL Academy.”