Family Centers honors volunteers at 125th Annual Meeting

At its 125th Annual Meeting, Family Centers honored three volunteers whose contributions improved the lives of hundreds of children and families across Fairfield County. The event was held Tuesday, Nov. 1 at First Presbyterian Church in Greenwich. 

Molly Byrne, of Greenwich, was given the 2016 Helen Gratz Rockefeller Outstanding Volunteerism Award.  The award is presented annually to a current or former member of Family Centers’ Board of Directors, and is the agency’s highest honor for volunteer work.

Byrne joined the Family Centers’ Board of Directors in 2000 and has served as a champion for the agency’s programs that support young families and children. In addition to hosting two successful benefits, Byrne’s generosity has helped Family Centers expand its service delivery network.  Most recently, she provided the funding necessary to open Family Centers Health Care – a full medical, dental and mental health clinic serving Greenwich’s public housing and Section 8 residents.  Byrne currently serves as a Senior Advisor to the agency.  

Donald Case, D.M.D of Stamford, was also named the 2016 Anne Firestone Ball Family Champion.  For more than 20 years, Dr. Case and his late partner, Dr. Clifford Evans, have worked closely with Family Centers’ School Based Health Centers to give uninsured youth the dental services they need.  Over that time, Dr. Case has performed hundreds of emergency dental procedures at no cost to the Health Centers’ students or their families.  

In addition to his work with Family Centers, Dr. Case also founded the Dental Center of Stamford to ensure the city’s residents has access to quality dental care.  He also has served on the Board of Community Health Centers of Connecticut and Silver Source in Stamford.    

Maggy Wolanske, a junior at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich, was awarded the inaugural Outstanding Youth Volunteer Award.  Sponsored by JP Morgan, the award recognizes a student who has displayed a commitment to community service.   

Over the past four years, Wolanske has volunteered at Family Centers’ Grauer Preschool in Greenwich.  In addition to reading to the students and helping the teachers with classroom activities, Wolanske served as the school’s photographer and documented its yearly activities.  Every June, she would compile her photos into a special yearbook that was distributed to each family during the school’s graduation ceremony.

Family Centers’ Annual Meeting was a celebration of the organization’s 125th anniversary, and was attended by Family Centers’ Board of Directors, Senior Advisors, staff and supporters.

Family Centers is a private, nonprofit organization offering education and human services to children, adults and families in Fairfield County. More than 200 professionals and 3,500 trained volunteers work together to provide a wide range of responsive, innovative programs. A United Way, Community Fund of Darien and New Canaan Community Foundation partner agency, Family Centers is a member of the Connecticut Council of Family Service Agencies and the Alliance for Children and Families and is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The agency is licensed by the State of Connecticut Departments of Public Health and Children and Families. Visit familycenters.org for additional information.

Family Centers’ Board Chairman Tom Ashforth, Molly Byrne, Dr. Donald Case and Maggy Wolanske.

Family Centers’ Board Chairman Tom Ashforth, Molly Byrne, Dr. Donald Case and Maggy Wolanske.

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