Family of Woodstock

Topics: Woodstock Festival, Domestic violence, Homelessness Pages: 5 (798 words) Published: July 19, 2015

Family of Woodstock
Katy Norris
BSHS 355
April 27, 2015
Karen Miner
Family of Woodstock

Family of Woodstock, Inc. began as an advocacy group that believes everyone is entitled to their undeniable right to food, clothing, and shelter. The belief of the helper and help having a common ground creates a sense of a world united. The Family of Woodstock organization brought forward a non-judgmental attitude as it reached out as well as opened its arms to those in need. This is stated in their mission statement, “We maintain an attitude which is non-judgmental and non-directive, so that all individuals are encouraged to resolve problems in a way that honors their own diverse cultural and personal choices” (Woodstock). This attitude makes them committed to provide assistance of others while combining resources in a diverse manner to improve the quality of life for those in need at no charge.

The Family of Woodstock Organization is a result of the Community of Woodstock’s view of its homeless and drug problem as not an issue of theirs. This was due to the radical youth of the time migrating to the area, seeking out the legendary site of the most memorable music festival. To prevent further imprisonment of the youth who came to the area to use or deal drugs, Founder Gail Varsi, gave the local police a hot line to contact her. (Gibbons, 10) That number to this day remains the number to the initial walk-in center located in Woodstock, NY. The organizations growth and development came from volunteer work of Gail Varsi, Michael Berg and eight other members of a committee. (Gibbons, 10)

In the fall of 1970, this committee started what is known as “The Soft Landing Machine” which is a group who are specially trained to talk people down from a drug high. (Gibbons, 10) By 1971 Family of Woodstock became an incorporated non-profit organization. That same year in 1971 FAMILY received funding from the Ulster Drug Commission. In 1973 Family of Woodstock, Inc. established an emergency housing facility. In which they paid half the rent at their Sled Hill location. Within in one year that location would be moved to the larger location at 47 Rock City Rd, which served as a child daycare, seeding area and another free store which they had established at their first location. The United Church of Marlborough and Hudson contract the organization and its hotline becomes a county wide asset. By 1981 Family of Woodstock establishes a domestic violence center as well as a hotline which served the state of New York. (Woodstock). The Organization expanded throughout the 80’s to assist not only the homeless but those who had become afflicted with the HIV/AIDS virus. Expanding into the 90’s to service children as well and set up crisis areas at the 1994 and 1999 Woodstock Music Festivals.

In the early 2000’s Family of Woodstock ventured into assisting with mental health care for people of all ages. As well as, the introduction of its Pre-k program. (Woodstock) Family of Woodstock also began to serve as a reentry support group for those who had been incarcerated. (Berg) “Today, the agency services all of Ulster County, running programs such as the only domestic violence shelter in the county, a teen runaway shelter, several homeless shelters, several walk-in centers (still maintaining a “free store” and a food pantry) and case management services for adults and adolescents” (Burger, 2011). Specialization has become a trend in the human services field because many organizations, like Family of Woodstock, Inc., see different issues within their communities. Programs are created by compassionate people who want to help the needy in their communities and want to give back to help make their community a better place. Professionals are beginning to see that there are several populations that are not getting the proper assistance and finding new ways to address their needs. The efforts made by Family of Woodstock, Inc. have shown the world...

References: Berg, M. (mentalhealth/service2.html n.d.). Family of Woodstock. Retrieved from
Burger, W. R. (2011). Human services in contemporary America (8th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning.
Gibbons, A. (10, 08 08). Family of Woodstock turns 40. Retrieved from
Woodstock, F. o. (n.d.). Retrieved 12 2, 2013, from
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