Family Counseling Services (FCS) is pleased to announce that Nathan Cottrell of the Homer Central School District has been selected as the recipient of the 2016 Richard Shay Human Services Award. The award, which also includes a $1,000 scholarship, was created in 2001 by the FCS Board of Directors in honor of FCS founder and former Cortland County Family Court Judge Richard Shay.
Cottrell exemplifies the characteristics of Judge Shay through his dedication to school and community, recognition of the importance of family, and his commitment to volunteer leadership. Throughout his high school years, Cottrell was actively involved in multiple sports, Link Crew, National Honor Society, and other clubs and school programs. Outside of school he volunteers at his church, helping with everything from spaghetti dinners to holiday food distributions, and also coaches in the summer youth lacrosse program.
Homer Social Studies teacher Joe Cortese recruited Nate for the district’s Link Crew and for the Cortland County Youth Leadership activity. “Nate is utterly fearless when it comes to interacting with others,” shared Cortese. “He’s the most natural leader I’ve seen in a long, long while over my 24 teaching years.”
Cottrell has been accepted into Montclair State University where he will work toward a bachelor’s degree in Family and Child Studies, ultimately planning a career in elementary education. His volunteer experience coaching youth sports helped direct his career path. “I enjoy helping children,” shared Cottrell. “When I was choosing what to do after I graduate high school, my mind always went back to all the volunteering I did and how that made me feel.”
Each year the Richard Shay Human Services Award is given to a student who has been actively involved in school and community service as exemplified by Judge Shay. Applicants should demonstrate a commitment to a career in human services, counseling, law, criminal justice or a related field. Each year the award is presented to a graduating Cortland County high school senior who will attend college starting in the upcoming fall.
Family Counseling Services is a non-profit organization serving both Cortland and Madison Counties. FCS was established in 1970 as a volunteer family counseling service based in Cortland, NY. It has since evolved into a professional organization that offers mental health, chemical dependency, and school-based counseling, as well as prevention services through its prevention division, Cortland Prevention Resources.