House Budget Includes Additional Funding for Local Young Women’s Recovery Home

From left to right, Pegasus House residents Clara and Stephanie, The Psychological Center CEO Carina Pappalardo and State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen)

From left to right, Pegasus House residents Clara and Stephanie, The Psychological Center CEO Carina Pappalardo and State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen)

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) meets with Pegasus House residents Clara and Stephanie

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) meets with Pegasus House residents Clara and Stephanie

The Massachusetts House of Representatives has included in its Fiscal Year 2017 Budget an amendment, sponsored by State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen), to provide $50,000 for the Pegasus House residential treatment facility in Lawrence.

The facility, operated by The Psychological Center, offers substance abuse treatment for young women between ages 18 and 25. Established in 1985, the facility offers an environment that reinforces a drug and alcohol-free lifestyle. Clients are able to pursue their GED or take college classes at local community colleagues and receive assistance in applying for and maintain a job. The average length of stay is four to six months.

The Psychological Center’s mission is to help individuals across the Merrimack Valley who are experiencing mental health issues, substance or alcohol abuse, addiction or homelessness.

“These funds will help provide critical resources to fight addiction in a time of great need,” said Carina Pappalardo, CEO of The Psychological Center. “In the past 30 days, we have had four graduations at Pegasus House. That is a very successful number. We contribute this to our strong, dedicated staff, effective program model and the ladies’ commitment to maintain a drug and alcohol free lifestyle. Beyond the six months of intensive treatment, the program is reconnecting families, creating happy memories for the ladies and saving lives. There is no better feeling. We are truly grateful for the support of Representative DiZoglio and her recognition of the need for continued services at The Psychological Center. Through education, awareness and treatment at our programs, we will continue to make a visible difference.”

“I found myself here,” said Clara, a current resident of Pegasus House. “This place gives me hope that other places didn’t. The staff here really care”

“This recovery home truly gives a hand up by educating, motivating and assisting recovering young women who require around-the-clock care,” said DiZoglio. “These young women have made a decision to live separate from their friends and family in a facility where they are able to focus solely on treatment and recovery from addiction. This funding will assist in providing the resources they need to succeed.”

On Saturday, August 13, from 8am to noon, The Psychological Center will host the Strike Out Stigma Softball Tournament to raise awareness about addiction, homelessness and mental health disorders. The tournament, in which police and fire departments from local cities and towns will compete, will be held at Burnham Road in Methuen.

DiZoglio Secures $20,000 in Funding for Merrimack Valley Prevention and Substance Abuse Project

Diana Substance Abuse

The Merrimack Valley Prevention and Substance Abuse Project (MVPASAP) was formed in 2013 to bring members of the community together, including experts on drug addiction issues and elected officials, to address substance abuse prevention, education, treatment and recovery.

MVPASAP, which now regularly holds public meetings in Methuen, was launched in response to the heroin epidemic that has ravaged the Merrimack Valley, with record-high numbers of police logs and obituaries noting fatal overdoses of the drug.

Now, the Massachusetts House of Representatives has included in its Fiscal Year 2017 Budget an amendment, sponsored by State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen), for $20,000 in funding toward MVPASAP for resources, programs and community outreach.

“I can’t stress just how much we appreciate the work Representative DiZoglio has done for MVPASAP,” said Methuen resident Phil Lahey, co-founder of MVPASAP. “We have great volunteers who have been doing quite a bit with little to no funding and with these funds, we will be able to give these dedicated people a chance to start putting their ideas into practice, when it comes to awareness, prevention and education.”

“This funding is an absolutely beautiful thing,” said Colleen Lahey, daughter of Phil and a former heroin addict. “Heroin addiction is the most powerful and dangerous disease I have ever dealt with and any funding to go toward addressing this problem is wonderful. Thank you Representative DiZoglio for making it happen.”

“This is a community-wide issue and needs a community-wide solution,” said Anne Whalen, Methuen YMCA Executive Director and MVPASAP Youth Committee Chair. “This funding will enable MVPASAP to provide more awareness and education on substance abuse prevention, and have a greater impact in the Merrimack Valley.”

“We at MVPASAP are working hard to bring awareness and education to people across the Merrimack Valley,” said Al Ruthazer, board member of MVPASAP. “We are also trying to provide resources and information for those with substance abuse challenges and family members. Financial help is so appreciated.”

“Addressing addiction in our communities has been an overriding focus of mine during my time as State Representative,” said DiZoglio, who serves on the legislature’s Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse. “I have had countless conversations with residents in my district and across the Merrimack Valley who have either struggled with substance abuse themselves or have friends or family who have battled addiction. I am so grateful to Phil Lahey for helping to launch this amazing group, as well as House Ways and Means Chairman Brian Dempsey (D-Haverhill) for his support and leadership in helping to fight for these funds.”

DiZoglio Amendment Secures $200,000 for Local Disabled Veterans

The Massachusetts House of Representatives has included in its Fiscal Year 2017 Budget an amendment, sponsored by State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen), for $200,000 in funds to assist the Career Resources Corporation (CRC) in its initiative to help disabled veterans who are seeking employment opportunities.

CRC, which is based in Haverhill, is a non-profit that serves communities across the Merrimack Valley. For 40 years, it has worked to empower individuals with disabilities and other barriers to be successful and self-sufficient.

The organization’s partnership with Valley Works Career Center, the Veterans Northeast Outreach Center and the City of Haverhill Veterans’ Services has provided area veterans with comprehensive support to seek and maintain employment. CRC has also collaborated with the Methuen Home Depot and other local private businesses to identity disabled area veterans in need of employment and hire them for Home Depot jobs.

“Representative DiZoglio has been a steadfast supporter of the veteran’s employment program, successfully advocating for funding for the past three years,” said Brad Howell, CEO of CRC. “Her commitment goes beyond funding as she has facilitated connections with local business that led to veterans and other people with disabilities becoming employed.”

“I felt lost after leaving the military,” said Anthony Reinoso, a veteran who has participated in the CRC program. “Thankfully I was introduced to Career Resources’ Employment Program for Veterans. They helped me explore my options. With their help, I now work two jobs and I could not be happier. I feel as though I am incorporating my military skills into my civilian life and I am serving my country through helping those in need. I have a sense of purpose again, I feel as though I am a solider again. I know how much the program at CRC has positively impacted my life.”

“We must continue to create public-private partnerships, like the ones CRC has successfully made with the local business community in assisting our local disabled veterans,” said DiZoglio. “I have been working together with CRC over the past few years, as they have partnered with local private businesses such as the Home Depot in Methuen, the Whittier Rehabilitation Hospital in Haverhill and the Greater Lowell Food Bank. Thank you to House Ways and Means Chairman Brian Dempsey (D-Haverhill) and the rest of the local Merrimack Valley delegation for supporting this important amendment, which will help hundreds of disabled veterans.”