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Counseling services open in new space in Hightstown

With a snip of the scissors, I.C.A.R.E. of East Windsor-Hightstown and Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County opened a new satellite office in Hightstown last week.

Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes and mayors Janice S. Mironov of East Windsor and Larry Quattrone of Hightstown cut the ribbon at the new office at 133 S. Main St. on Sept. 26.

The location on South Main Street, next to the First Baptist Church, replaces the counseling services office in the former YMCA building at 230 Mercer St. The building was sold and the Family Guidance Center, which had provided counseling services, folded. Jewish Family & Children’s Service stepped in immediately to fill the void.

Jewish Family & Children’s Service will provide supportive services aimed at teenagers and young adults who are struggling with mental health concerns. It will help people in need of stabilization and education to work their way through those challenges. It will also offer referral services for substance abuse and acute mental health crises.

I.C.A.R.E. of East Windsor-Hightstown – Initiative for Counseling, Addiction, Renewal and Education – grew out of residents’ concerns about youth death by suicide and also drug and alcohol substance abuse, said David Coates, who is the president of the nonprofit group’s board of directors.

I.C.A.R.E. had arranged to provide counseling services through the Family Guidance Center. The group was disappointed when the YMCA building was sold and the Family Guidance Center closed, but there are many people who made it possible to find a new home and a new provider to offer counseling services, Coates said at the Sept. 26 ribbon cutting ceremony.

Coates pointed to Bruce Wood, pastor of the First Baptist Church, which is renting the office space to the counseling service, and to architect Lee Stults for drawing up plans for the new office on short notice. He also praised contractor Joseph Mannino.

“When we had questions or concerns, Mayor Mironov had people we could call. I definitely don’t think we would be here, if not for her help. I went to Mayor Quattrone and he encouraged us from Day One, and that matters,” Coates said.

Coates also praised Mercer County officials who saw the need for counseling services. Mercer County is funding a grant to pay for Jewish Family & Children’s Service through 2019.

“We are so excited to offer services. We want to give help and hope. I know you put your heart and soul into this, and you can expect the same from us,” said Michelle Napell, the executive director of Jewish Family & Children’s Services.

Hughes credited Mironov and Quattrone with putting “extra effort into making sure this (new office) gets done.” It is a reflection of a caring community, which is reflected by the mayors and governing bodies of both towns, he said.

“It is a great partnership between the towns and the county, and it will continue for a long time to come,” Hughes said.

Mironov said Coates has been the glue that helped facilitate the counseling services, and also told attendees she wanted to thank each and every one for bringing counseling services to the community.

“This is really a God-send. The provider will perform in a spectacular fashion,” Mironov said.

Quattrone said he saw the need for counseling services and thanked everyone for their efforts.

“Call me and I will try to satisfy any need you have,” he told the group.

Jewish Family & Children’s Service has office hours Monday through Thursday from 2-7 p.m. To make an appointment or for more information, call 609-987-8100.

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