Tag Archives: Family Service Agency

Art Auction To Benefit Family Service Agency Set For Tonight

Third art auction at Cartoon Network will benefit Family Service Agency’s art therapy program for kids who have been victims of abuse. Some of Burbank’s top fine artists and animators have donated works of art to the event.

An auction of artworks from Burbank’s top fine artists and animators this Friday night will raise funds for a therapy program that focuses on young victims of abuse.

This is the third art auction to benefit Family Service Agency’s Healing Arts therapy program at Cartoon Network in Burbank. A silent auction and wine and cheese reception begins at 5:30 p.m. in the lobby area on the first floor. Dinner on the animation studio’s rooftop follows at 7:30 p.m.House (3)

Three artists, who are also authors, will receive the Spotlight Award during the evening and will be signing their books that will be sold at the event. They are Alice Asmar, who paints in acrylics, oils, pen and ink and pastels; Nancy Rae, who creates Chinese brush paintings; and Tom Warburton, animator, producer, writer and designer, best known for creating the animated television series “Codename: Kids Next Door.”

Each will receive a plaque as a thank you from Family Service Agency, said Zita Lefebvre, who is co-chairing the event with Marsha Ramos.

Warburton has created an 18-foot art piece that will be displayed at the event and has donated an original work for the auction that is featured in his book.

There will be about 149 works up for auction, Lefebvre said. There will be works of artists from the Creative Arts Center and lots of photography.Brain Cell (3)

The art of Nelson De La Nuez, of Burbank, will be up for auction. His work has been categorized as an eclectic mix of contemporary, wickedly satirical, pop and surreal.

“I like the sense of humor of his paintings,” Lefebvre said.

Many local animators have donated pen and ink or colored pencil drawings. They have been very generous in donating their work for the auction, Lefebvre said.

Nickelodeon animator and producer Eric Robles, of Burbank, has donated an original piece of art to the auction.

“We also have one-of-a-kind toys donated from SpongeBob SquarePants, signed comic books and posters and art from Pen Ward, who has a hit show on Cartoon Network and lives in Burbank,” Lefebvre said.

“It was amazing how easily these people volunteered art after I told them a little bit about the art therapy program at Family Service Agency,” Lefebvre said.

“It is an amazing program to help people who have such deep pain they cannot verbalize it,” she said.

Some of those who are in the program are kids who have been sexually molested.

“They can’t talk about it and have been told not to talk about it — no body would believe it,” Lefebvre said. “As they sit and draw it during a therapy session, it gives the therapist a handle on how to move forward and treat them. It’s an unbelievable tool for the therapist to help these kids to start a healing process.”

For more information, visit www.familyserviceagencyofburbank.org.

Family Service Agency Wants You to ‘Imagine a City’

UPDATED Tuesday Sept.30, 2014

The Family Service Agency has been there for the Burbank community since 1953, and it’s the time of year the community can return the favor, by supporting its annual “Imagine a City” Dinner, Dance and Auction set for Saturday, Oct. 4, at Providence High School.

The agency’s purpose has been to promote mental wellness and keep families and individuals emotionally strong through “Counseling — Preventing — Educating — Advocating”.

( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Family Service counselors work with families and individuals at the agency’s office on Burbank Boulevard as well as those living in the three residential treatment facilities in town. Counselors also work with students at all Burbank school campuses.

“Last year our school-based counseling program provided services to over 1,400 students on all 18 Burbank Unified School District campuses — over 12,000 hours of care,” said Executive Director Laurie Bleick.

These youngsters are suffering silently with such issues as suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety, isolation and alienation, substance abuse, grief and loss, anger and family violence and child abuse.

The Burbank Police Department’s Mental Health Evaluation Team “highly recommends” the agency to those in need in the community, said Burbank Police Officer Kristiana Sanchez.

( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“The agency has been instrumental in being an additional resource that we are able to provide to families and various clients within the community that we recommend they utilize as a resource in additional support in whatever they are going through,” she said.

Family Service Agency has also been extremely helpful in providing counseling services when major crises happen, such as the traffic accidents that killed three Burroughs graduates on Sept. 12 and the five area high school graduates who died one year ago this Sunday, Sanchez added.

“The agency counselors were available to students on site at the schools because not only was the community affected but a lot of the students went to school with those kids, and the agency was able to provide support for the students and for the families — for everyone who was affected by that as well as just recently where the three [young adults] passed earlier this month in that car accident [in Santa Clarita] on Sept. 12,” she said.

Not only has the agency been a huge support for different organizations within the community but specifically for the Police Department.

“We highly recommend them to students and families that need additional support and the agency has always come through and been extremely supportive and a great resource for those community members,” she said.

The agency was “wonderful” in providing counseling to high school students and teachers after three Burroughs graduates were killed in the traffic accident on Sept. 12, said Burbank schools Superintendent Jan Britz.

“Our students in our high schools don’t know how they are supposed to act in this kind of situation, so agency counselors are good about giving them coping skills, walking through the tragedy, bringing out some of their feelings and just helping them to deal with the way that they feel — and letting them know that it’s OK, that everybody is not going to respond in the same way.”

As those killed on Sept. 12 were recent graduates, many of the students and teachers knew them, Britz said, which made it especially difficult for them.

The objective now, she added, is to keep searching for what can be done to prevent these kinds of tragedies.

The agency counselors are on the high school campuses daily, but if a situation arises and a counselor is not already on site, the agency sends someone over, Britz said.

“The thing about grieving is sometimes it doesn’t always hit you right afterwards,” she said.

Another segment of the community receiving counseling at the agency is military veterans returning to civilian life.

Once a week, between five to eight veterans meet with a facilitator to talk about what’s happening in their lives now or what happened during their service.

“The topics vary. They are spontaneous,” said one Burbank veteran, who requested anonymity.

Participants are those who served from Desert Storm through Vietnam and younger veterans  who have just been discharged. They talk about family issues and relationships.

“It’s very uplifting!” the veteran added. “We are going on our third year. Family Service Agency was good enough to open their doors to us. It’s a wonderful program.”

Counselors also make visits to the Family Service Agency’s transitional homes serving youth in Burbank, said Executive Director Bleick.

“One of the homes supports survivors of domestic violence,” she said. “Another one serves homeless youth and young adults, and the other one is for homeless families.”

During the agency’s fundraiser, guests will enjoy dinner and have the opportunity to bid on silent and live auction items. In addition, agency officials will present the Mary Alice O’Connor Vision Award. The honor is named for one of Burbank’s top volunteers of all time who was a founding member of the Family Service Agency. This year, the award will be presented to three generations of the Clarke, Vargas Machuca and Vander Borght family.

It’s a great opportunity to congratulate the honorees as well as hear about the agency’s success stories and see how the programs have grown over the years. Last year, agency officials displayed beautiful drawings made by youth in the art therapy program. They were touching and poignant but filled with hope.

For reservations, contact the agency at (818) 845-7671.

If you or anybody in Burbank needs to talk to someone, or have thoughts of depression, anxiety, thoughts of hurting yourself or others or are a victim of domestic violence and abuse, call 818-845-7671


family service agency

Annual Care Walk Of Burbank Benefits Family Service Agency

The Family Service Agency of Burbank (FSAB) conducts its seventh annual Care Walk of Burbank on Saturday, May 10, through beautiful Johnny Carson Park. Activities commence at 7:30 a.m. and the Walk starts at 8:00 a.m. There will be refreshments, including a free pancake breakfast, exhibitors, t-shirts and gift bags for all registrants.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

All proceeds from the event benefit its no-cost, school-based counseling program. Through this program, each Burbank Unified School District campus has a counselor on-site during school hours.

The Family Service Agency of Burbank addresses the social, emotional and mental health of the community. By participating in the Walk, people can help the FSAB provide no-cost clinical and psycho-educational care for Burbank’s youth. Directly, the child is positively affected by the counseling. Indirectly, families, teachers, school administrators, peers and the community-at-large are affected.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

This year, the CareWalk is dedicated to Jeri Buliavac. She is a long time resident and a hairstylist in Burbank. As she battles her personal journey to fight her cancer, she unselfishly continues to be an active supporter and friend to FSAB, “Where No One Walks Alone.”

Registration is now available and people can register as an individual, team and/or sponsor. Kids, adults and seniors can participate.

For information, call FSAB at 818-845-7671 or visit their website: www.carewalkofburbank.org

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Family Service Agency’s Annual Gala Honors Six

The jubilant air that usually envelopes Family Service Agency’s annual gala had a tinge of sadness Saturday night in the Providence High School gym.

Several references were made to the car crash last weekend that took the lives of five youths and left one injured.

In his invocation, Pastor Ross Purdy asked the audience to remember the victims and families with a moment of silent prayer, adding that Family Service Agency’s purpose is to provide help to people in crisis.

But board officers, employees and supporters found there was much to celebrate with this being the agency’s 60th anniversary.

(Photo b y Ross A. Benson)

Mary Alice O”Connor (Photo b y Ross A. Benson)

Four individuals and two businesses were presented with the Mary Alice O’Connor Vision Awards. O’Connor, a tireless volunteer with numerous charitable organizations, often was referred to as Burbank’s Fairy Godmother because her likeness was the model for the character in the Disney animated feature “Cinderella.” O’Connor died in 2010 but her legacy included being a founding member of Family Service Agency when it began in 1953.

O’Connor was someone who made miracles happen, said past Vision Award recipient Mary Alvord, a former city manager. She and several other women knew that some people did not live happily ever after. And they created the agency, which provides help for victims of domestic violence as well as counseling for families, individuals and students on all levels in the school district and many other programs.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“As one of the original Women of Vision honored by her, I can only say how truly grateful I am that my life was touched, enriched and changed forever by the bibbidi-bobbidy-boo magic that she did so well and that she used to make miracles happen throughout this entire community,” Alvord said.

Those honored for their vision in support of the vital work of the agency were Burbank Police Captain Michael Albanese, Burbank School Board member Dave Kemp, Pastor Ross Purdy, Cartoon Network and Burbank Healthcare Foundation. A special surprise was the addition of mistress of ceremonies Anja Reinke receiving the Vision Award.

The agency needs corporations and every individual in the room to help it do its critical work every day, Executive Director Laurie Bleick said.

(Photo  by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“Please know that we can’t do it without you,” she said.

Capt. Albanese was recognized for helping with the agency’s work with domestic violence and mental health services, Bleick said.

“Our domestic violence program has never worked more closely with the police department since (former) Chief David Newsham, who is extraordinary, than we are now, and much of that goes to this man’s vision and not just the vision but the action taken behind that and that takes courage, intelligence and that takes an undying passion every day,” she said.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Dave Kemp was honored for giving 48 years to students in the Burbank Unified School District. He has been a teacher, coach, athletic director at Burbank High School and is in his third term as a member of the Board of Education.

Kemp was humbled by the honor, and said his success was attributed to a great team around him.

“First of all I’d like to acknowledge my wife Judy,” Kemp said. “She has been a great support throughout the almost 50 years I have been with the school district. It’s been a grand journey for me. I am blessed to work with the people who serve on the board and we have so many wonderful teachers and staff who work with the children on a daily basis. This community is one of the most caring groups of people. When things go wrong, we have a lot of people step up and want to solve problems.”

Bruce Osgood, Ross Purdy and wife Kathy. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Bruce Osgood, Ross Purdy and wife Kathy. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Pastor Ross Purdy received the honor, Bleick said, for being available whenever she calls and for his spiritual leadership.

“No matter what your faith is, he reminds us everyday that we have a mission and we should not get distracted by the noise and there is a lot of noise in our lives,” she said. “And this is the man that I turn to and when I get in that noisy place, Ross is the man that gives me that clear picture to remind us who we are, what our work is and what we need to focus on.”

Zita Lefebvre of Cartoon Network with the Butler (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Zita Lefebvre of Cartoon Network with the Ragsdale Madison (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Representing Cartoon Network, Zita Lefebvre was recognized for being a constant support to Bleick and introducing new friends to the agency. Burbank Healthcare Foundation’s Geri Hernandez accepted her company’s honor. The foundation has lent its support to the agency for all its milestones, especially in securing a $50,000 grant to establish the domestic violence program years ago, Bleick said.

The surprise of the evening was Anja Reinke receiving a Vision Award.

Executive Director of Family Service Agency Laurie Bleick and FSA Treasure Anja Reinke. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Executive Director of Family Service Agency Laurie Bleick and FSA Treasure Anja Reinke. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Alvord presented the honor and thanked Reinke for her longtime support and especially for coming up with the Care Walk fundraiser.

The evening included a buffet-style dinner, silent and live auction and dancing. Everyone sang “Happy Birthday” and each table had a cake in honor of the agency’s 60th anniversary and Bleick’s birthday.


(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

President of Family Service Agency Bruce Osgood, Burbank Police Officers Association Board Member Todd Burns, and Police Chief Scott LaChasse. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

President of Family Service Agency Bruce Osgood, Burbank Police Officers Association Board Member Todd Burns, and Police Chief Scott LaChasse. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Vision Award Recipients Anja Reinke and Capt. Michael Albanese. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Vision Award Recipients Anja Reinke and Capt. Michael Albanese. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

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Family Service Agency’s Annual Care Walk

The Family Service Agency of Burbank (a 501C.3 non-profit organization) is commemorating its 60th year of service and invites you to sponsor and/or participate in the annual Care Walk event which will be held at Johnny Carson Park on Saturday, April 27. Activities commence at 7:30 a.m. and the Walk starts at 8:00 a.m. There will be refreshments, including a pancake breakfast, exhibitors, t-shirts and gift bags for the participants.

Individual registration fees are $20 for youth and seniors and $30 for adults. Team fees are $175 for youth and seniors and $275 for adults (teams are composed of not more than 10
individuals). Sponsorship levels are $1,000, $2,500, $5,000 and $10,000 but all donations are gratefully accepted. All proceeds will benefit the Family Service Agency of Burbank’s no-cost school-based Youth Counseling Program.

Why should you consider participating in this enjoyable and rewarding event?

• Over 1,250 Burbank Unified School District students of all ages receive no-cost, on-site counseling through this program.
• School Administrators believe in the counseling services. One Administrator states: “Many of our BUSD students experience trauma, death of a parent, physical, sexual or emotional abuse, divorce, substance abuse, foster placement, suicide feelings, depression, poverty and homelessness, anxiety and peer or family relations which requires the professional mental health care found with the staff of FSA to cope and overcome.” Another School Administrator states “Traditionally, and increasingly more often due to economic times, our student population is in dire need of counseling to address topics such as depression, anger in family relationships, social skills, conflict resolution, and problem solving skills. This support (provided by FSA) is crucial and has been such a tremendous support these past years.”
• Students believe in the services as evidenced by these comments; “This year my friend gave up. Hung himself. I get it. Wish I didn’t. Wish he had told someone…told me… . I would have got him the help I get from my counselor. I get it. Wish I didn’t.” Another student states,” Counseling has helped me to understand that my choices have consequences. I am learning that the best way to have a good life is to make good choices. Sounds simple, but when others around you aren’t, it really isn’t so simple.” Another student in the counseling program shares “I found out this year that my Mom has a brain tumor. No Dad, just her and me. My heart aches so much at times that it’s just uncontrollable. It’s good to have a counselor to lean on when my life gets overwhelming which feels like everyday these days.”

The mission of the Burbank Unified School District’s School Based Counseling Program is to provide all of our community’s youth (K-12) with access to no-cost quality clinical and psycho-educational care. You can help! For more information or to get involved, call the Family Service Agency at (818) 845-7671 or go to our web site www.Carewalkofburbank.org. Help us to ensure that no one needs to walk alone.

Viacom Gives Family Service Agency a Helping Hand

By Joyce Rudolph


Employees of Viacom celebrated a day of giving back to the community by adding their creative touches to Linden House, a transitional facility for young adults run by the Family Service Agency of Burbank.

Alexis Block, left, and Rory Patterson prepare the water feature for the zen garden in the front yard of Linden House. (Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

It is an annual event that brings together employees from the companies under the Viacom umbrella, including Nickelodeon Animation Studio in Burbank and Nickelodeon Games in Glendale, VH1 and Comedy Central, according to Carson Smith, human resources manager at Nickelodeon in Burbank. The cost of materials is covered by Viacom.

“One day a year we go out in the community and do something good,” Smith said. “It is an opportunity to reach out in the community, where we work and many of us live, to help.”

So on April 20, a team of more than 25 employees got an early start at 7:30 a.m. to work their magic in several locations at Linden House.

Working on the mural in the exercise room at Linden House are from left Emily Asaro, Kim Neebe and George Nachev. (Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

Emily Asaro, a production assistant who works on “Dora the Explorer”, was working on a mural on the walls in the garage, which will become a workout and social area.

“One of our painters George Nachev designed it,” she said. “It’s an abstract design.”

Story board artist Ysty Veluz liked the colors in the design — olive, gray blue and flesh tones with white intersecting lines.

“The color scheme is not too loud,” she said. “The design is dynamic with muted colors. I think it’s appropriate for the age group.”

In the front yard Alexis Block and Rory Patterson were installing a water feature — a big orange ball that would become a water fountain. A few feet away Mardine Pouryousef, Eric Swanborg and David Wigforss were building a wooden bench.

Ysty Veluz paints the mural in the workout room at Linden House. (Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

Linden House is a partnership between the Family Service Agency and the Burbank Housing Corp., according to Judith Arandes, executive director of the city’s housing corporation.

“We buy neglected properties and we rehabilitate them,” she said. “As a nonprofit we get good loans from the City of Burbank and that enables us to keep the rents low and rent them to lower income families.”

Seven years ago, the corporation started a partnership with the Family Service Agency to create living spaces for special needs populations. The first project was CARE Cottages, which provides housing for women and children who were victims of domestic violence. The second joint venture was Home Front Project, a residential program for homeless families.

Linden House is a transitional home for young adults, ages 14 to 24, who are homeless, at risk of being homeless and/or have aged out of the foster care system. Over their two years at Linden House, they receive counseling through Family Service Agency, and are given the tools to become self-sufficient.

George Nachev paints the abstract design he created for the workout room of Linden House. (Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

Within six months of moving in, they must have found a part-time job and be in school full time or in some career/job training program, said Laurie Bleick, executive director of the Family Service Agency.

“These young adults are survivors and they can teach us something about getting through the day,” Bleick said. “We want them to take a moment and breathe in a safe environment where they can think beyond tomorrow, that they can start planning for a year from now … 20 years from now and think about what they want from their lives and be able to construct a life that is beyond survival.”

Each participant in the program has their own individualized treatment plan. They have a therapist through Family Service Agency and participate in support groups. Most of them are utilizing some form of art therapy or non-verbal ways of communicating the traumas they have experienced before coming to Linden House. They all complete a financial planning class, life skills class, and participate in communal activities.

“We are now moving the kids toward coming up with a project every year that they will give back to the community, and they will begin to learn not just receiving but giving back, and they are excited about that,” Bleick said. “So, Linden House is not just about individual treatment but about building community.”

Building a bench with slatted cover are from left, Mardine Pouryousef, Eric Swanborg and David Wigforss. (Photo by Joyce Rudolph)