ROXBURY, NJ – Roxbury resident John Robbins, manager of the nonprofit Morris Community Wellness Center, was recently named Morris County’s Terri Belske Consumer Advocate of the Year.
Robbins heads the Parsippany-based center that “promotes responsibility, recovery and wellness by offering supportive and respite housing, human rights advocacy and educational and innovative programs,” said the county in a statement.
He received the award at the county’s 24th annual “Many Faces of Recovery” event at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum in Morris Township.
“We congratulate John Robbins for his outstanding efforts to help our residents who are most in need of support and who have been able to reach out to his organization for services and programs that make a great difference in their lives,” said Morris County Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo, also of Roxbury.
The annual awarded is presented to “a role model in New Jersey who represents the Morris County community in advocating for the rights of all people with mental illness,” said the county. It said award winners show:
• Leadership as an advocate for adequate community resources to support individuals in recovery
• Courage in representing the interests of individuals who have experienced mental illness
• Kindness and compassion for others in need;
• A willingness to act as the voice for those who are not in a position to speak out for themselves.
The award is named after Terri Belske, a lifelong advocate for people with mental illness and their families, who died in 2016, said the county.
Professional and Personal Connections
It said Judy Banes, former Northern Region Wellness Center Coordinator, wrote a nomination letter praising Robbins.
In the letter, Barnes said Robbins “has been an advocate for the rights and dignity of others without losing sight of the people involved. During his time as a member, driver, facilitator and (for the last eight years), manager of the Morris County Wellness Center, John has established professional and personal connections with many Morris County organizations and people that have a positive impact of the Wellness Center and the members.”
Barnes described Robbins as being “an excellent advocate and negotiator who speaks with knowledge and conviction when supporting the center and its members.”
The also said he “is also someone who other Wellness Center managers call when there is a difficult decision to be made; his intelligence and experience have been invaluable to many.”
Barnes noted Robbins’ “creativity, willingness to incorporate others’ ideas, keen listening skills, and sense of humor, among other attributes,” said the county. And she acknowledged John’s wife, Barbara, who visits the center once a month to give free haircuts.