Family Service of Greater New Orleans June Newsletter

McClain honors retiring United Way CEO

McClain honors retiring United Way CEO

From left to right: Rep. Wesley Bishop, Ron McClain, Gary Ostroske

FSGNO President/CEO Ron McClain accompanied a busload of United Way staff and board members on a trip to the state capitol in Baton Rouge to honor retiring UWSELA President and CEO Gary Ostroske who has led United Way for 25 years. Ostroske officially retires July 1 when current COO Michael Williamson will succeed him.

The Louisiana State Senate prepared a resolution honoring Ostroske, which was read aloud and then presented to Ostroske by Sen. Karen Carter Peterson.

Many have affectionately referred to United Way’s leader as the “big guy” because of his stature and his all-important job marshalling necessary resources to meet the significant health and human service needs of 1.3 million residents of seven Southeast Louisiana parishes.

Some of Ostroske’s most difficult challenges have been Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Isaac and the BP oil spill. He is most proud of his accomplishments with early childhood development. Hear him speak in Baton Rouge.

Family Service is a proud partner agency of the United Way.

Gary and Mary Ann Ostroke

Gary and Mary Ann Ostroske

FSGNO is counseling Mother’s Day victims

Family Service staff collaborated with social workers at local hospitals, law enforcement officials and victim advocates to connect survivors of the May 12th Mother’s Day shooting in the Treme with free, trauma-focused counseling through the agency’s Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement Victims of Criminal Acts (VOCA) grant.

The agency was also able to directly connect affected individuals to financial support through “The 19 Fund,” monies raised at a Tipitina’s benefit concert on May 23 organized by Tipitina’s Foundation, Gambit’s Foundation, Silence is Violence and United Way.

“Our hearts are with all the families impacted by the shooting at the second-line parade,” said Clinical Director Rebecca Garside.

United Way’s Sr. VP Mary Ambrose interviewed Ron McClain on WBOK-AM about the importance of counseling in violence prevention. Listen to the show.

FSGNO to screen 'Shell Shocked'

Family Service will present a free showing of “Shell Shocked” in the first-floor public room of the United Way building in July, date and time TBA.

Director John Richie and producer Jonathan Jahnke were inspired to make the documentary while volunteering in New Orleans four years ago with a high school film production project. Every child they encountered had been exposed to gun violence.

Shell Shocked

“Richie’s film argues for more preventative programs to keep children on productive paths, rather than pouring resources into incarceration, where the root social problems are often exacerbated or ignored,” according to the Times-Picayune.

“I would say a gun is way easier to get than a textbook down here,” one teen said in the film “Shell Shocked.”

Crisis counselors from Family Service will be on hand for a discussion after the film.

For more information about the film, go to


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