A lot of history has been written since 1913. Back then, two World Wars were in the future, not the past. Babe Ruth had yet to make his Major League debut. Women had yet to earn the right to vote.
In the southwest corner of Nassau County, a group of residents were adding their own chapter to the local history books, a chapter that is still being written 100 years later. The Relief Association of Lawrence was formed to help meet the needs of the poor. Today, that organization is known as the Peninsula Counseling Center, which provides a wide array of mental health services and substance abuse programs to the community.
PCC’s 100th anniversary year promises to be a big deal, say leaders of the organization who are in the midst of planning a series of events. Executive Director John Kastan said there will be some of the same events from the past but with a special twist, like the annual A Tasteful Evening fundraiser, and perhaps some new activities.
Kastan said that planning for the 100th anniversary celebration was delayed because of Hurricane Sandy. In the wake of the storm, PCC had to focus its efforts on helping staff and clients who were affected by it.
One of the goals for the anniversary year, Kastan said, will be to build new relationships and create new channels of revenue for PCC, which has faced numerous funding cuts in recent years. Yet these cuts have come at a time when Kastan said more people are turning to organization for help. “The need for the kinds of services that we provide are greater than ever,” he said.
Audrey Goodman, the community relations coordinator, said it is hard to describe in just a few sentences what PCC is all about. The services it offers are very wide-ranging, she explained. “We handle a lot here,” she said. “I don’t think anyone can really fathom how much goes on here.”
PCC employs about 100 people and serves more than 2,500 clients from the Five Towns, Valley Stream, southeast Queens and other surrounding communities. Its annual budget tops $7 million.
The organization was based in the Five Towns for most of its existence until moving to its new headquarters in Valley Stream in 2008. It has satellite locations in Hewlett and Roosevelt.