I remember how my teenage pride swelled the first time a friend confided in me for emotional support. Before long, my phone was clogged nightly as friends tapped my unearthed talent to lament breakups, or collapse under academic expectation. Because therapy was in the shadows then, and often thought of as a crutch for the “sick” or the “weak,” parents never sought therapists to bridge communication gaps. Because I valued being valued, I cared little about why friends never confided in their parents, or why I withheld my deepest self from mine. Thirty-years later, my passion is my profession, and a career in social work led me to Nutley Family Service Bureau (NFSB) where I strive to foster familial functioning, and where crisis is never in short supply.

When Nutley Superintendent of Schools, Julie Glazer, asked NFSB for assistance in response to an Instagram threat against schools, our agency offered free counseling to interested families. Although our clients span multiple counties, our roots remain entrenched in Nutley, and we prioritized the call to ease tension, assuage fears, and open dialogue we hoped would wipe away necessity for copycat behavior committed by teens desperate for elevated social status, or just crying for attention.

Although we offer psychotherapy to individuals, couples, and groups, our steadfast focus remains on optimal family functioning, as family is the foundation of community. Through strengthened communication we hope to strengthen marriage and bond parents with children in a way sure to promote individual growth within a family collective. We believe our mission to connect families reduces reliance on substances used to numb the pain of isolation, and mitigates dangerous use of social media to seek attention.

As proud as we are of our food pantry’s exponential growth, we remain equally proud of the other way we feed families. We are gifted in the art of connection, and be it through psychotherapy, case management, or crisis intervention, we avail ourselves to Nutley families every day because we love what we do, and we are proud to be connected to so vibrant a community.