North Shore Veterans Counseling Services, Inc
The North Shore Veterans' Counseling Services, Inc. was
address a need amongst veterans living north of Boston, Massachusetts.
In 1985, a group of veterans, predominately from the Lynn area, gathered in a
meeting to discuss the necessity of a location for Vietnam Veterans to turn,
to address issues they were experiencing.
Those issues included, the need for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder counseling
for combat veterans, as well as support services in the areas of the
veteran's readjustment to society and civilian life, and in the areas of
substance abuse, housing, employment, and education.
It was also determined that many veterans of the Vietnam War could be in need
of discharge upgrading, and assistance in seeking military service
documentation, and the filing of service connected disability claims for
compensation form the Department of Veterans' Affairs.
Thus the Veterans Outreach Center was conceived, and opened in the basement
of a Lynn public library.
The veteran's turned to Vietnam War combat veteran, David F. Pye to serve as
Executive Director of the newly formed agency. David, as the former Director
of the state Office of the Commissioner of Veteran's Services Job Training
and Placement Division, knew the inner workings of state government, and
likewise brought years of experience to the agency in advocacy for veterans.
During David's ten plus years as Executive Director, the agency established
itself as a premier counseling and assistance center, saw increases in state
funding for operational expenses, and expanded its service radius to included
veterans of all eras and their families, in a thirty-five city and town area.
By 1988, the agency had been fully incorporated and was granted a federal tax
exempt number. The agency was also granted a Certificate of Exemption from
the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, and was approved by the Commonwealth
of Massachusetts Attorney General's office, as a public charity and received
an account number.
In 1990, it was decided to relocate the agency from Lynn and put it at
location on the corner of Cabot and Broadway Streets in Beverly. The
site was perfect. It sits across the street from the city hall, and also to
its right is the Registry of Motor Vehicles. At the end of Broadway, which
also borders Rantoul Street, is the United States Post Office. There is a bus
stop outside the agency and down by the Post Office a commuter train that
runs from Boston to throughout the North shore. The new location, also made
the agency more accessible to veterans living in the Cape Ann area as well.
During and after the Gulf War, the agency led the way with support for the
families of those men and women called to arms, as well as for the veterans
when they returned.
In 1995, David decided to retire. By October of that year, the Board of
Directors had selected Michael F. S. King, a Marine Corps Vietnam era veteran
to serve as the new Executive Director. Michael had headed up a similar
operation in the western part of Massachusetts during the late 80's.
Michael immediately expanded both the staff and the operational hours. The
agency would now be open two evenings a week as well as on Saturdays to meet
the needs of those veterans normally working in the daytime when the agency
The agency became very visible in the community with press coverage of its
efforts and with Michael hosting a weekly cable access show. Starting in the
fall of 1999, Michael has agreed to do a weekly column for the Salem Evening
News which will give the agency yet another opportunity to transmit
information to north shore veterans.
The staff of the agency are always on the go. Outreach has remained a key
element from the start. Whether it is hitting the streets, home visits, or
speaking at Council's on Aging meetings, school assemblies, to community
groups, even entering state and county correctional facilities to meet with
groups of incarcerated veterans, the course that was set so many years ago
has been continued. And now, plans are in development to move the agency into
transitional housing for American military veterans.
During the five years of this administration, the state funding has
risen from $79,500.00 to $125.000.00 for the Outreach Center's operations,
which has allowed an increase in support services being supplied to the
client base, and now includes, evening programs on Monday (Relapse Prevention
Skills Program 1 & 2), Tuesday (Anger Management Program), and Wednesday
(Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Program). Participation in the Anger
Management and Relapse Prevention Skills Program 1 & 2 are offered, as a
community service, to non-veterans who are referred to the agency by a
Probation Department, the state Department of Parole, the Court Clinic, and
the state Registry of Motor Vehicles.
In December of 2000, the Center established direct support services for women
veterans. The Executive Director established a monthly Group meeting, held on
Saturday's, for women who have served in the United States military. At the
first meeting, 17 women veterans attended, and discussions were held
regarding their benefits and rights as veterans. More than 25 women veterans
have stated their intention to attend upcoming monthly meetings at the
Also, in December of 2000, the Agency will be filing a Response to a state
Request for Proposals, to purchase 9.2 acres of land, and a existing four
story building, on the Danvers State Hospital site. If the Agency's proposal
is accepted, it will call for the development of 9 transitional housing
single room occupancy units, 8 single room occupancy units for veterans with
mental illness, 6 studio apartments for veterans, and 1,080 square feet of
counseling and training offices, all to be built in the existing building. A
second building would be constructed, a Hospice Care Facility, in which 10-15
terminally ill veterans would receive medical care.
For the first time, a second state contract, for $10,000.00, was issued to
the Agency, to work directly with Incarcerated Veterans, within one year of
release review, to assist these veterans in preparing for employment,
housing, medical, and counseling support services, which, if the Incarcerated
Veteran follows the discharge Plan outlined by the Agency, will give the
veteran, upon release from the correctional facility, a better opportunity to
remain free and live their live as a useful member of society.
These support services are offered, along with the long standing services the
Agency has offered, in the areas of: Housing and Employment, Training and
Education, Family Counseling, HIV/AIDS Support Services, Adjustment
Counseling, Veterans Benefits & Advocacy, Medical Support, Social Security
assistance, Veterans Administration assistance, Service Documentation and
Discharge Upgrading Requests, service connected and non-service connected
disability claims, and referrals to other service agency's.
With the untimely death of Michael King in
2001, Lynn M. Moran who then was the Associate Director became the first woman
to take the reins at the agency. The Agency has since moved to better
quarters at the Cummings Center
on Rte 62 in Beverly a short walk from train station or Beverly Center and convenient to rte's 1A/128.
With new conflicts the U.S. is
involved in around the world the NSVCS recognizes that besides the traditional
men and women and their spouses that the children are also in need of our
attention as a Counseling Agency in addition to our Family Counseling program.
In 1985, veterans recognized a need. And the North Shore Veterans Counseling
Services, Inc. has addressed that need now for twenty years, and
looks forward to continuing to do so right into the next century.