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Family Alliance founder, director intends to retire

WOODSTOCK – The county’s only mental health agency geared exclusively to the elderly will lose its director later this year.

Carol Louise started Family Alliance 30 years ago. She will retire in December. From a humble beginning in 1981 with a $1,000 budget, two volunteers and two senior clients, Louise is credited with growing Family Alliance into a leading social service agency recognized statewide and nationally.

The agency rapidly expanded to offer senior counseling programs, support groups, an on-site, adult, day health program and outreach counseling for seniors with chronic mental illness diagnoses. It also provides training in aging, dementia and long-term care options.

“We certainly have a strong seat to fill,” Family Alliance Board President Steven Finzel said.

The board hopes to work quickly to fill Louise’s role, and will look both internally and at outside candidates.

Meanwhile, Louise said she will stay on and help with fundraising.

“We have to be responsive for the future of the agency, knowing the challenges ahead of us,” Finzel said. Those challenges include the financial needs of human service agencies, he said.

Louise recently received the National Adult Day Services Association’s Administrator/Director Award, recognizing her leadership, fiscal stewardship, program development, team building and longevity in the field.

“It’s been a rewarding journey,” Louise said in a news release. “I’ve enjoyed thousands of opportunities to help improve the quality of life for mature adults and their families throughout the region.”

Louise is the latest in a string of social service leaders to announce their departures. Mental Health Board Executive Director Sandy Lewis recently announced her resignation to join Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., and the board’s deputy director, Bob Lesser, and clinical director, Liz Doyle, are retiring.

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