Scarsdale Edgemont Family Counseling Service: A Community Resource and Neighbor for Nearly 100 Years
As Scarsdale continues to evolve and grow over time, Scarsdale Edgemont Family Counseling Service (SFCS) remains a vital constant. Since 1920, the agency has been a center for family growth and learning, and offers residents assistance in dealing with both routine issues of daily living and crisis situations they may experience. However, despite its long-term presence, many residents are unaware of the full scope of SFCS’ services.
According to Jay Genova, SFCS director, “Our focus on family, our ability to provide affordable and high-quality counseling services, and our deep understanding of Scarsdale makes us uniquely qualified to serve this community.”
The most visible of its programs, the Youth Services Project, began 32 years ago and has grown into extensive outreach among middle and high school students. A school-based resource, the project now includes leadership programs for young women and men, an excursion/adventure-based counseling program, and parent support groups. SFCS also recently has assumed responsibility for Scarsdale’s Drug and Alcohol Task Force.
SFCS also supports residents on a more personal level through traditional counseling services. With a strong presence in Scarsdale, SFCS offers clients an empathetic perspective; it also provides access to highly trained, skilled therapists for lower cost, due to its non-profit status. “Our history in the community allows us to help clients navigate Scarsdale’s unique culture,” says Genova. “And, we can provide equal, and perhaps better, quality counseling than most therapists. Higher cost doesn’t mean better quality.”
Another critical SFCS program is “Aging in Place,” which provides emotional and social support to Scarsdale’s senior community. Through a myriad of tools, including home visits, referrals, education and local partnerships, the agency helps residents to remain in their homes and connected to friends and neighbors. “Aging can lead people to feel isolated. We work to keep seniors both secure and engaged as long as possible, “ says Genova.”
Completing its “lifecycle” approach to social services, SFCS offers counseling programs for children aged five through 10 via its Child Services work. The agency currently conducts “social skills” therapy groups for these clients, and is looking to provide additional resources that address specific needs, such as helping children navigate divorce.
All these efforts are interconnected, with the goal of promoting healthy families. Explains Genova, “Family is our way of thinking about human problems. We look at people as both individuals and as integral parts of complex, multi-generational systems. “
For nearly a century, SFCS has been a critical resource for Scarsdale residents. And, it relies on community support to maintain quality and access to services. As a non-profit, SFCS is supported via client fees, grants and fundraising, but these often aren’t enough to cover operating costs. “We’ve been here for generations and we want to be here for generations to come,” says Genova. “We’re stable, but not OK without our neighbors.”
In addition to its annual mail campaign, SFCS hosts a spring fundraising gala to generate donations and educate residents about its mission. This year’s gala -- Scarsdale Showcase: It Takes a Village -- will benefit not only SFCS, but the Scarsdale business community as well. Explains Genova, “We‘re concerned about empty storefronts in downtown Scarsdale. When we lose businesses, we lose part of our identity. So, this year, we wanted to promote local merchants.” The event is scheduled for Thursday, May 11 at the Scarsdale Golf Club; tickets are $250 each and include buffet dinner and full bar.
The gala is the latest demonstration of SFCS’ local commitment. Explains Genova, “There may be many therapists with a Scarsdale address, but we are Scarsdale… and plan to stay that way.” To learn more about SFCS visit sfcsinc.org.