Written By Lisa Breslin

When Lynn Davis started as an intern at the Carroll County Youth Service Bureau (CCYSB) in the 1980s, she joined four other employees who bustled around a 1,600-square foot office above Frisco Pub in Westminster.

Space was so limited in the three-room office that the employees had to check when a room was available for private counseling sessions. And they had to ask the then-director George Giese for permission to buy markers.

Now, with a budget that tops $2 million, CCYSB is on the cusp of launching a $500,000 capital campaign to help fund a new 20,000-square foot facility near the Route 32 and Kate Wagner Road intersection in Westminster. Lynn Davis, who started as an intern, is now executive director and thrilled to be a part of what she describes as “a forward moving train.”

CCYSB has already garnered more than $4 million for the capital project, a total which includes $800,000 from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. The Weinberg gift is the largest sum of money secured from the foundation by a nonprofit agency in the county. CCYSB’s new facility will bear the Weinberg name.

When Stan Goldman, program director for the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, called to share the news about the award, Davis put him on speakerphone. Gary Honeman, CCYSB’s assistant director, Dr. Judith Milliken, medical director and clinic psychiatrist, and Davis huddled within listening range.

“This is part of my job I love,” Goldman said. “At 10:10 a.m., the board of trustees agreed to award $800,000 to the Carroll County Youth Services Bureau.”

The Weinberg foundation has only been giving money to mental health agencies for two years, Davis said. The award to CCYSB is the second highest gift to mental health agencies, second only to Shepherd Pratt Hospital in Baltimore.

According to Davis, each turning point for CCYSB has been marked by generous support and partnerships with nonprofit agencies and organizations in the county. In 2006, the Carroll County Commissioners donated a 1.9 acre parcel of land for new facility.

“The county has always been a catalyst for our growth,” Davis said. “They [the county commissioners] believed in us enough to give us the land – and that spurred us to really embrace the project.”

CCYSB’s mission is to provide excellent mental health services to children and families through prevention, intervention and treatment services. During the 2006 fiscal year, CCYSB served 688 families, 1064 children and 793 adults, according to the organization’s recent annual report. Children and families received counseling services related to alcohol abuse, spousal violence, behavioral problems, suicidal ideation, legal problems, child abuse, separation and divorce issues.

“Maryland is lucky to have such dedicated professionals serving our most vulnerable of populations,” said Department of Juvenile Services Secretary Donald W. DeVore. “For three and a half decades, CCYSB has been supporting the Carroll County community with quality individual and family interventions.”

CCYSB has 15 different grant-funded programs that target such areas as violence assessment and alternative educational support and placement for elementary-age school children with behavioral issues too difficult to be managed in the mainstream classroom.

Approximately 90 percent of the people working for the CCYSB began as interns, the way Davis did. And today, thanks to a strong graduate and undergraduate internship training program, the organization has nine interns from all over Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Davis credits Giese for CCYSB’s continual exploration and exponential growth.

“Our current staff can certainly take credit, but he really took the agency to new places,” Davis said. “We picked up where a great man left off.”

Giese, who is currently the director of Carroll County Department of Social Services, still marvels over CCYSB’s growth. He echoed Davis’ sentiments about the agency’s willingness to dream big and do what it takes to make each dream a reality.

“The agency has always grown and explored different avenues,” Giese said. “They have formed a great team there and the fact that they have gotten so much funding and are launching the campaign for a new facility speaks volumes for the bureau and for Lynn Davis’ leadership.”

For more information about Carroll County Youth Services Bureau, visit www.ccysb.org – L.M.B.