Report outlines NRVCS' impact on local community
A new report is
offering statistical analysis of New River Valley Community Services'
(NRVCS) impact on the communities served by the agency.
According to the January 2012 report, NRVCS generates more than $60 in
additional funding for every $1 of direct local funding the agency
receives. The report also notes that NRVCS served more than 6,400
individuals in Fiscal Year 2011 and provided nearly 600 jobs.
NRVCS is the public provider of behavioral health services for the counties
of Floyd, Giles, Montgomery and Pulaski, as well as the City of Radford.
to download the full report (PDF file).
NRVCS ranks among area's largest employers
New River Valley
Community Services (NRVCS) currently ranks among the largest employers in
the New River Valley according to a report recently published by the New
River Valley Planning District Commission (PDC). Of the area's 50 largest
employers, NRVCS is No. 14 on the list, with a workforce of more than 625
employees (full- and part-time).
the New River Valley's public provider of behavioral health services, is
the largest non-profit human services agency to appear on the list.
Rankings are based on data collected by the Virginia Employment Commission
in the second quarter of 2011. The list includes businesses and industries
with operations in the counties of Floyd, Giles, Montgomery, and Pulaski,
as well as the City of Radford.
goal is to be the provider of choice in Southwest Virginia," explained
Dr. Harvey Barker, NRVCS Executive Director, "but exemplary services
are only possible if you have a quality workforce to provide them. So, we
are equally committed to being the employer of choice in our area."
Founded in 1969, NRVCS is part of a state-wide system
of Community Services Boards and provides a variety of programs in the
areas of mental health, intellectual disabilities, substance use disorders,
and related prevention services. The agency serves children, adults and
families and operates facilities in each of the New River Valley’s five
“There is a great level of need in our community and it is a need that has
steadily increased in recent years,” Barker added. “Our organization has
continued to grow – despite the challenges of the current economy - in an
attempt to address those needs."
"I am continually impressed with the level of
compassion and creativity among our staff," said Barker. "Our
organization’s continued success is a direct result of their collective
efforts to enhance the lives of persons living in the New River Valley.”
Celebrating the launch of Radford Transit
Dr. Harvey Barker, Executive Director of New River Valley Community
Services, offers remarks during a ribbon cutting ceremony held Friday,
August 12 for the new Radford Transit system. The public transit service,
which began operation on August 8, served 350 passengers in its first four
days. To learn more about Radford Transit, click here.
(Photo - M. Wade/NRVCS)
Father shares heartbreak to educate
local parents about bullying, cyberbullying
By Mike Wade, New
River Valley Community Services
John Halligan issued a strong warning for the more than 130
parents and community members who turned out to hear him speak on the
evening of Thursday, April 15 in Christiansburg.
Bullying – whether it
happens in a physical space or cyberspace – should be taken seriously.
Halligan knows first-hand the devastating
impact that bullying can have when it isn’t addressed. He lost his son,
Ryan, to suicide in 2003 after he had been ridiculed and humiliated by
fellow students both in school and online. Ryan Halligan
was just 13 years old at the time of his death.
family’s story has been told numerous times through national media,
including a recent episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show. In the
years that have passed since Ryan’s suicide, John Halligan
has been on a crusade throughout the United States and Canada to build
greater public awareness and education about bullying, cyberbullying
and depression in young people.
“I grew up on Long
Island and when I was a kid if you had a problem with someone you took it
outside and handled it,” Halligan said. “But
today it’s not about throwing punches, it’s about throwing words…And I
don’t know how you defend yourself against a rumor.”
When he first learned
that his son was constantly being picked on, Halligan
said he taught his son the “Karate Kid” method of self-defense. Although
Ryan did eventually defend himself physically, it didn’t stop the bullying
or his slide into a deep depression.
“I should have seen this
train wreck coming,” stated Halligan. “I chalked
up Ryan’s signs of depression up to typical teenage angst.”
“Ryan never really enjoyed school to begin with,” Halligan
continued. “He was in special ed most of his life
and struggled academically…I thought he just needed a pep talk or a hug. He
needed a lot more.”
and his wife, Kelly, didn’t realize prior to Ryan’s tragic death was the
extent of bullying that he was being subjected to online. In hindsight, Halligan said that allowing his son to have a computer
in his bedroom was a “terrible mistake.”
“Every second spent on that stupid computer was a missed opportunity for
that kid to have a conversation with his Mom and Dad,” declared Halligan, who worked for IBM for more than 20 years.
“…And we never thought to ask, ‘Is my son communicating with someone we
Because he had insisted
that his children use a single password for any online accounts, Halligan was able to gain full access to Ryan’s
computer – including saved files and a number of online chats. Since there
was no suicide note, Halligan explained that
technology was his only way of putting together the pieces of the puzzle
surrounding Ryan’s death.
“Once I logged on, I was
stunned by what I saw,” said Halligan. “And I was
amazed by how open other kids were in telling me what happened that
eventually led Ryan to take his own life – the same kids that I had sat
down face-to-face with to get answers…It was obvious that they were much
more willing to be open with me online.”
Halligan noted that the level of comfort
youth find in communicating through technology can make cyberbullying
even more dangerous than bullying in a physical manner.
“No muscles are needed
to send someone a harassing e-mail or text message,” Halligan
added. “So a lot more kids participate electronically in this type of
behavior and they’re starting as early as elementary school…The age of
innocence tragically keeps getting lower and lower in our society.”
Halligan encouraged audience members to be
involved in their child’s activity online and that if they aren’t already
doing so, to become familiar with social networking sites like Facebook and
Twitter. He also addressed the issue of “sexting” – sending sexually
explicit pictures and videos to others.
“The internet is fast becoming your resume and you’ve got to protect your
reputation,” he said. “Be proactive and have a conversation with your kids
about this stuff…In today’s world when kids make mistakes, they can turn
out to be kind of big because of technology. If you do something stupid,
post it online and then decide later to go back and delete it, someone
could have already saved it onto their hard drive and then use it against
Halligan, who helped pass two bullying bills
through the state legislature in his home state of Vermont, urged those in
attendance to not be bystanders when bullying occurs – something he says is
as equally as important for adults as it is children.
For more information on
the Halligan family story, visit www.ryanpatrickhalligan.org.