By Joyce DeWallace, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – The Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services (SYFS) Board of Directors and co-executive directors Annamaria Chittim and Justin Mussler met recently to discuss plans for the 2017 fundraiser, which has been named, “Sparkle of Hope – An Evening in Support of Mental Health.”
“We’re hoping to create a fun, festive evening that showcases the work and needs of the community around mental health,” said Mussler. “We hope people come and socialize in support of a truly worthwhile community organization.”
Mussler is new to the job, taking on his current responsibilities this fall for operations and development. Before that, he was the project director for SYFS’s youth mental health first aid program. His prior experience includes 18 years in the field of mental health. He joins Chittim, a licensed mental health clinician, as co-executive director, who directs the clinical services aspects of the organization. She has worked for SYFS for over 10 years in various capacities and has almost 20 years of experience in the field.
“We want to provide the community with more evidence-based education, particularly around mental health,” he said. “The more familiar our residents are with proven practices that are designed to support those who are struggling, the stronger our community will become. There are methods, treatments and approaches that get results.”
The organization focuses on three areas in its work within the community. They provide free case management services, clinical services with counseling for residents of Shrewsbury and surrounding towns, and educational programs, such as after school, summer, in-school, and youth mental health first aid training for adults who interact with adolescents.
“There’s a natural growth process when you’re helping people. We want to continue to help as many people as possible and continue that,” explained Mussler.
The annual event raises a significant portion of the agency’s funding and is open to the public. Board member Mike Gregory will serve as the honorary chair of the evening. The staff is collecting impact stories that will be showcased by posters and videos on the perimeter of the room. The presenting sponsor again is the Grossman Development Group, a local real estate firm specializing in retail and mixed-use development, redevelopment and acquisition, whose generosity has helped SYFS grow.
The Sparkle of Hope affair will feature a live auction and many silent auction items.
“We have received four club section concert tickets to country music superstar Kenny Chesney’s only stadium show in the United States in 2017 at the Gillette Stadium and four tickets to the Justin Bieber concert at Gillette,” Mussler said. “These tickets are so hard to get, and we are so excited to be able to have them in our auction.”
Platinum seats at a Mohegan Sun performance featuring Tim McGraw and Faith Hill will be part of the auction, along with trips, dining opportunities, unique experiences, sports packages and gift baskets.
Dinner will be provided by Struck Catering. Tickets are $100 and tables of 10 may be reserved. They are available at www.syfs-ma.org or by email to [email protected]. Anyone interested in volunteering or donating can contact Mussler at [email protected].