FSA Awards Michael and Caroline Cusamano With the Mary Alice O’Connor Vision Award

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

In early October the Family Service Agency awarded Michael and Caroline Cusumano in their 2017 Vision Awards ceremony. During the night, the FSA honored the Mary Alice O’Connor 2015 Vision Award Recipients and celebrated the emotional support, psychological, and social well-being of Burbank’s youth.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

The Family Service Agency was founded in 1953 by a Burbank Unified School District School Psychologist and a group of community leaders. Currently, the FSA operates in 20 school campuses, including 19 BUSD schools and one private school.

The agency specializes in therapy, but also offers individual youth and adult therapy sessions, couples therapy, and family therapy. The agency also maintains a Veteran’s Group, a Depression and Anxiety Group, a Battered Women’s Survivor Group, and a Teen/Parent Substance Abuse group.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

The agency also offers comprehensive free services for foster, homeless, and high-risk youth and their families. This includes a 24-hour comprehensive support program aimed at servicing adult and child survivors of domestic abuse. 99% of their staff holds 4-year degrees, with 92% holding advanced degrees, and 96% providing direct client care.

FSA currently operates 3 long-term transitional shelters for battered women and children, homeless families, and emancipated youth and young adults respectively. Their estimated value of care stands at $4.9 million dollars (2015-2016 fiscal year), regardless of their actual budget being $1.4 million dollars. The FSA has also served 4,794 clients.

After the ceremony, I had a chance to speak with Michael Cusmano about the award and the Family Service Agency.

Interview with Michael Cusmano

After the event, I had a chance to speak to Michael Cusmano about the award and what the public can do to help.

First off, congratulations to you and Caroline on your award. Obviously, the work put into maintaining emotional, psychological, and social well-being support never ends. Having impacted so many lives up until this point, what can you and Caroline say about what this award means to the both of you? 

This recognition is especially meaningful to us because it is in honor of Mary Alice O’Connor, and she was such inspirational leader for so many people here in Burbank. It is an honor to caring on her legacy.

How can citizens of Burbank, previously unaware of the FSA, help the FSA in pursuit of their mission in helping our citizens? 

The most direct way that people can help FSA execute their mission is by making donations directly to the organization; they are a 501c3 non-profit and all gifts are 100% tax deductible.

What inspired you and Caroline to start helping? And what continues to inspire the both of you? 

Caroline and I have been involved in charitable and community work for decades, and we were initially inspired by the community work and commitment that my parents and grandmother demonstrated as we were growing up;  After that, it’s the impact of the work that continues to inspire us. When you see how your participation in the community can make a difference, change lives, it inspires to do more, and more.

Proceeds from the event went to FSA’s Burbank School-Based Counseling Program and FSA’s Residential Youth Counseling Program.

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