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'Bravest First' Program Provides Counseling Services to NJ Veterans, Military and Their Families


WESTFIELD, NJ -- In an effort to continue raising awareness about the amazing work nonprofits are doing in our community, the Greater Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce (GWACC) would like to highlight Bravest First, a program developed by Youth & Family Counseling Service (YFCS). Bravest First was created in 2015 to support the critical counseling needs of New Jersey’s veterans, military members and their immediate families. 

Based on 2012 data from the Department of Veterans Affairs, the number of veteran suicides averages 22 per day. In light of these staggering numbers, YFCS recognized the need for mental health care services to support the New Jersey military community. The Bravest First program is a free service provided through the generous donations of individuals and companies to YFCS.

“We know how important it is to have affordable access to mental health care services, especially when it comes to our bravest,” said Carol M. Pedro, LPC, Executive Director of YFCS. “By partnering with organizations like Bonds of Courage as well as the GWACC, we are able to increase awareness about this free service we offer to the veteran and military community of New Jersey.”

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The YFCS is a non-profit social service agency and one of the very few regional counseling centers offering professional "family systems" based psychological counseling, prevention, education, crisis intervention and supportive services to all income levels. Since its establishment in 1918, YFCS has served over 50,000 people—empowering and restoring countless lives in the community.

“We are delighted to be working with nonprofit organizations like YFCS,” said Stephanie Branna, Board Member and Chair of the GWACC Nonprofit Committee. “It is important to support our veterans and military in all capacities including mental health care, which is why the GWACC is committed to raising awareness about free programs like Bravest First.”

For nearly 100 years, the Youth & Family Counseling Service has promoted the mental health and well-being of youth, families and the larger community in Union County and surrounding areas through the provision of high-quality, affordable counseling services. For more information about YFCS and the Bravest First program, call (908) 233-2042 or visit

About the Greater Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce
The GWACC has 500 members serving five communities in Union County: Fanwood, Garwood, Mountainside, Scotch Plains and Westfield.

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Scotch Plains/Fanwood

Sinai or Sanctuary?



And in the beginning, G‑d was homeless, and so G‑d asked His people to set Him up with some digs. Where does it say that? Well, nowhere, actually. But it does say that G‑d instructed Moses to tell the people, “They shall make for Me a Sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.”

Now the question is, was G‑d really homeless? ...

Former Cranford Mayor Endorses Nick Scutari for Democratic Chair

February 17, 2018

Dear Editor:

Having Senator Scutari lead the (Democratic) party would certainly put Cranford in a good position for resolving the issues we face such as gun control, flood mitigation and public safety.

Union County is made up of urban and suburban communities, that we need to protect. The stronger our communities are, the stronger the diversity and our being connected will be.

Senator ...

Being Alone on Valentine’s Day

February 13, 2018

Valentine’s Day is a day filled with Hallmark cards, chocolate covered strawberries, red roses and special dining.  It’s a day to express our love and affection to those close to us.  Some of us have expectations that this day will be blissful, we may even receive that diamond ring that represents engagement or marriage.

Valentine’s Day can be a wonderful time if ...

Girls Basketball: Union Catholic Will Play In Game To Support Childhood Cancer

February 18, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- The Union Catholic varsity girls basketball team is honored to be playing in the Gold-Out game at Bernards High School for the third straight year, a game that will raise money and awareness for Childhood Cancer.

The event, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 24 at 2 p.m, is called the “Gold-Out’’ game because gold is the awareness color for Childhood Cancer.

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