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Posted Friday, June 22nd, 2018

Roxbury Man Wins “Terri Belske Award” for Leadership, Impact, Kindness

John Robbins, manager of the nonprofit Morris Community Wellness Center, was named Morris County’s Terri Belske Consumer Advocate of the Year last night at the county’s human services consumer forum.

photo of John Robbins and his wife, Barbara

John Robbins and his wife, Barbara

Robbins, of Roxbury, heads the Parsippany-based center that promotes responsibility, recovery and wellness by offering supportive and respite housing, human rights advocacy, and educational and innovative programs. He received the award at the county’s 24th annual “Many Faces of Recovery” event that was held at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum in Morris Township.

“We congratulate John Robbins for his outstanding efforts to help our residents who are most in need of support and who have been able to reach out to his organization for services and programs that make a great difference in their lives,” said Morris County Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo, who participated in the awards program.

The annual awarded is presented to a role model in New Jersey who represents the Morris County community in advocating for the rights of all people with mental illness by:

  • Demonstrating leadership as an advocate for adequate community resources to support individuals in recovery;
  • Showing courage in representing the interests of individuals who have experienced mental illness;
  • Demonstrating kindness and compassion for others in need;
  • Acting as the voice for those who are not in a position to speak out for themselves.
PHOTO OF (l/r) Laurie Becker, Director of the Morris County Division of Community and Behavioral Health Services,m and Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo

(l/r) Laurie Becker, Director of the Morris County Division of Community and Behavioral Health Services, and Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo

The award is given each year in memory of Terri Belske (1962-2016), a lifelong advocate for people with mental illness and their families.

In the nomination letter to the county, Judy Banes, former Northern Region Wellness Center Coordinator, wrote:

John Robbins “has been an advocate for the rights and dignity of others without losing sight of the people involved. During his time as a member, driver, facilitator and (for the last 8 years), manager of the Morris County Wellness Center, John has established professional and personal connections with many Morris County organizations and people that have a positive impact of the Wellness Center and the Members.

“He is an excellent advocate and negotiator who speaks with knowledge and conviction when supporting the center and its members. John is also someone who other Wellness Center managers call when there is a difficult decision to be made; his intelligence and experience have been invaluable to many.Stigma-Free Morris County poster

Barnes noted Robbins’ creativity, willingness to incorporate others’ ideas, keen listening skills, and sense of humor, as oher attributes. She also acknowledged John’s wife, Barbara, who visits the center once a month to give free haircuts.

“Many Faces of Recovery” is an annual public forum for consumers and families of mental health and addiction services in Morris County. During the event, members of the Morris County Mental Health Addiction Services Advisory Board seek feedback and public comment on the services provided in the county, including personal stories of wellness and recovery.

The event was sponsored by the County Board of Freeholders, Department of Human Services, Mental Health Addiction Services Advisory Board and community partners.