BATAVIA – The Friends of TriCity Family Services hosted its 25th Annual Silver Linings Benefit and Auction fundraiser Saturday with a packed crowd of nearly 500 supporters at the Lincoln Inn Banquets in Batavia.
The annual event raises funds for the agency, which provides affordable counseling and other mental health services for children, teens and families, and never denies services based on an inability to pay. TriCity Family Services is in its 47th year.
"We are a family-centered mental health and wellness center," said Jim DiCiaula of St. Charles, president of the TriCity Family Services board. "What's important to me is the fact that we are reaching out, trying to reach our children and teens to identify mental health issues early in the journey, so that we really can help them ... and their families really adapt and not have to struggle as much as they can if you identify it early."
DiCiaula said mental health is on a spectrum and when people talk about mental health – they're thinking about it on the far end – when it really should be on the front end.
"It's common cold or the flu and we want to help them in the early stages to really make them viable human beings," DiCiaula said.
The fact that so many people attended and that the tickets sold out are important to note, DiCiaula said, reflecting several things that happened over the last year.
"We've really built awareness in the community about mental health and wellness. I was the co-chair of the [St. Charles] District 303 Mental Health Program. We partnered this year to really bring the awareness in our community and getting out there and talking to people about mental health and wellness," DiCiaula said.
"I think this means there's a lot more [people who] would be here if they actually knew. They're responding to the call that we need to reach our kids and you don't have to walk alone."
The agency also presented three Golden Heart Awards to longtime philanthropic supporters Judy and Dudley Burgess, the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley and the Congregational Church of Batavia.
The award is given to individuals or couples, a company or foundation and a community group or organization, to recognize champions of compassionate, accessible mental health care in the Geneva, Batavia and St. Charles communities.