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We’re Here to Help!

At The Connection, the health and wellness of our communities, clients and staff is our first priority. The Connection is proudly continuing to provide essential services to some of the most vulnerable members of our community though this Coronavirus crisis.

Just as COVID-19 is impacting everyone, our staff and agency leadership are adjusting daily and working around the clock to safely continue helping people who struggle with homelessness, mental illness, substance use, community justice rehabilitation.

We want to do everything we can to keep our clients, staff, and community healthy, safe and informed during this incredibly challenging time. If you are looking for assistance, we invite you to use the list of resources available below. We’ll update these as different resources become available so check back frequently.

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Notice of Program Changes

At The Connection, the health and wellness of our communities, clients and staff is our first priority. We wanted to share some information about the proactive precautions we are taking to minimize risk at our organization.

All our locations are following enhanced cleaning and sanitation protocols. We have also made the decision to make the following changes that will impact program participants.

All Center for Behavioral Health Outpatient Groups are postponed at this time. Individual treatment sessions are continuing to ensure quality care for our clients. Please contact the Center for Behavioral Health directly to make an appointment at 855-435-7955.

All Michael Perlin Alcohol education classes and evaluations are postponed at this time. Program participants will be notified when program activities resume. You can contact Program Director Ryan Murphy, at 203-747-1657 with any questions or concerns.

Training programs have been postponed until mid-April. When we can reschedule sessions, we will contact registrants to provide updated information. Please contact Nikita Josyln, Training and Staff Development Specialist with any further questions. She can be reached at 860-343-5500 x. 2110.

We thank you in advance for your cooperation in this effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. We will continue to provide the best care possible to our clients as this situation unfolds.

A Message From Our CEO

At The Connection, the health and wellness of our communities, clients and staff is our first priority. We wanted to share some information about the proactive precautions we are taking to minimize risk at our organization.

All of our locations are following enhanced cleaning and sanitation protocols. We have made the decision to reschedule all large gatherings such as community meetings, training programs and other events through the end of March with plans to re-evaluate at that time. We have also made the decision to limit approved external visitors to our programs and offices. We thank you in advance for your cooperation in this effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.

We will continue to provide the best care possible to our clients as this situation unfolds.

The Connection’s Institute for Innovative Practice Provides Evidence that Peer Mentorship Reduces Risk to Reoffend

For over a decade, community-based organizations have called for the expansion of peer-based services in the criminal justice system, as it has become common practice in the behavioral health field. However, efforts to employ peer mentors for individuals reentering society after periods of incarceration have been stalled in part because of a lack of evidence that peer mentorship reduces the risk that people will reoffend.

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Postponed: The Connection Announces Third Annual Golf Tournament

Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns, The Connection is taking the precautionary measure of postponing this event until further notice.

The Connection is excited to announce that registration is now open for our 3rd Annual Community Links Golf Tournament!

Get your foursome together and join us on Monday, June 1, 2020 at the spectacular Great River Golf Club for a day of food, fun, and friendly competition. There will be chances to win awesome prizes and support a great cause. The event kicks off with breakfast and registration at 9:30 am, with an 11:00 am shotgun start. End your day with a complimentary cocktail hour and dinner with silent auction after the round.

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The Connection Training Sessions, Spring/Summer 2020 Courses Now Enrolling

Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns, The Connection is taking the precautionary measure of postponing all Connection training sessions through mid-April. When we are able to reschedule sessions, we will contact registrants to provide updated information. Thank you for your understanding as we take the measure necessary to ensure the well-being of our participants and staff. 

The Connection provides quality training and professional development designed to promote excellence in the human services field. Our Spring/Summer catalog is now available and enrollment is open for all sessions.

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Announcing: Mental Health First Aid Courses for First Responders

Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns, The Connection is taking the precautionary measure of postponing all Connection training sessions through mid-April. When we are able to reschedule sessions, we will contact registrants to provide updated information. Thank you for your understanding as we take the measure necessary to ensure the well-being of our participants and staff.

Beginning on January 1, 2020, the state of Connecticut will require those applying for certification as an EMT and paramedic to complete Mental Health First Aid training.  In response to this community need, The Connection has added specialized sections of Mental Health First Aid, tailored specifically to the needs of first responders to our Spring Catalog.

The first section of Mental Health First Aid for Fire & EMS will take place on February 21, 2020. This 8-hour course will be focused on the unique experiences and needs of firefighters, EMS personnel, and family members of first responders. Click here to register.

The first section of Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety will take place on March 6, 2020. This 8-hour course will be focused on the concerns and needs of public safety personnel including law enforcement officers, corrections officers, and 911 dispatchers. Click here to register.

These courses are valuable resources that can make a difference not only in the communities in which personnel serve, but also their coworkers’ and families’ lives. To register and read more about the courses visit our 2020 Spring Training Catalog.

Additionally, if you are a first responder and would like to offer these courses to your team, please contact us. Our trainer can come to your location to deliver the program when it is convenient for your schedule. We can partner with you to offer a course that is specific to your community needs. Contact Nikita Joslyn (click to email: nljoslyn@theconnectioninc.org) or by phone at 860-343-5500 ext. 2110.

Why Individual Giving is So Important to Nonprofits

by Sarah Dudzic, Director of Philanthropy

As a fundraiser, I’m often asked why we are always soliciting donations, when we have State contracts and grants that fund our programs. The truth is, to sustain our operations, provide the high-quality services our clients deserve, and have the flexibility to respond to community needs, we incur expenses that are simply not covered by grants and contracts.

In the for-profit world, customers purchase goods and services, and management can determine the best way to re-invest those profits to keep the business running. However, in the non-profit sector, most grants come with a set of rules or guidelines that define how the dollars can be spent. It’s not surprising to hear that government contracts typically cover little more than basic operations – staffing, minimal supplies, and occasionally a portion of the costs to keep the lights on. Non-profits are businesses too, and unrestricted donations allow us to be innovative, provide high quality services, and sustain our work when other resources are unavailable. Unrestricted giving allows non-profit organizations to make mission-driven decisions, unfettered by the values and guidelines set forth by other organizations and institutions.

For most of the people we work with and 40% of all Americans, a $400 emergency expense would put them on the road to financial ruin and a path to homelessness.

At The Connection, we help people who are struggling with homelessness, addiction, mental health, and other issues. Individual donations allow us to help people and families in ways that funders and program designers might not have considered. For example, some programs at The Connection have grants or contracts that allow us to help with costs such as rent, security deposit, or utilities arrears. When we have unrestricted funds to support the program, we can sometimes prevent homelessness, by addressing a client’s unique challenges, such as acquiring critical documents like a State I.D., social security card, or birth certificate, fixing a vehicle so the client can maintain employment, or assisting with past balances so a family can rent a safe and stable apartment.

Want to help?

Charitable giving is a personal act of generosity and kindness — so it’s important to give to the causes, organizations, and programs that are most meaningful to you! If you are uncomfortable with unrestricted giving but you’d like to understand more about its value, I’m happy to help! Contact me, Sarah Dudzic, Director of Philanthropy, to talk about opportunities to match your interests to our good work. Together, with our state and philanthropic funders, we are making a difference in Middletown, New Haven, Bridgeport, and across Connecticut!

Ready to give?

Every dollar matters! A meaningful gift to you is a meaningful gift to us.

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Top 10 Reasons to Give to The Connection

by Sarah Dudzic, Director of Philanthropy

As we end the year, please take a moment to consider a donation to The Connection. I am always filled with gratitude at this time of year – for the good health of my family and friends, for having a place I call home, and for the good fortune of having grown up in a family that somehow always had “enough.” This year, I am particularly grateful to be part of the good work that The Connection does – from placing children in foster care and helping people avoid homelessness, to supporting individuals in recovery – The Connection changes lives!

And if you’re still not sure whether you should give, here are ten more reasons:

10
We keep children and families safe, with our supportive housing, foster care and reunification services.


9
Each year, we help 12,000 people, who would otherwise be homeless, and/or suffering
without help for their mental health, addiction, and other needs.


8
We make communities safer by helping people who re-entering their communities
after incarceration learn vocational and other life skills.


7
We are responding to the opioid crisis by treating individuals and educating the community.


6
We change the lives of families by helping pregnant and parenting moms
become sober, learn parenting skills, and find stable housing.


5
We offer shelter and programming to homeless youth,
90% of whom exit the program to stable housing and employment.


4
We innovate! Our Institute for Innovative Practice does research, evaluation, and consulting
to improve the social determinants of health in communities statewide.


3
Government contracts and grant funds don’t cover all our costs,
which means we rely on individual contributions to help us fill that gap.


2
Donations to The Connection are tax deductible.
Give to us, and Uncle Sam gives you a break!


1
Every dollar matters! A meaningful gift to you is a meaningful gift to us.

DONATE NOW

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The Connection Institute for Innovative Practice Director’s Book Receives
National Attention

The Connection Institute Co-Director Charles Barber recently published a book, Citizen Outlaw: One Man’s Journey from Gang Leader to Peacekeeper. The nonfiction book follows the journey of William Outlaw from housing project youth, to drug kingpin, to prisoner in the most notorious Federal correctional institutions across the country, and finally as an award-winning community advocate and violence interrupter on the same streets in New Haven that he once terrorized. Citizen Outlaw addresses challenges that The Connection’s programs address on a daily basis: issues of mass incarceration, the difficulties of reentering society, employment for returning citizens, and the role of peer mentors in reducing recidivism.

Citizen Outlaw has been featured in the national media, including The New York Times, The Today Show, and C-SPAN’s Book TV, and locally on Connecticut Public Radio. In the book, Barber cites the Institute’s study on the impact of peer mentors in turning lives around and enhancing public safety, soon to be published in the journal Criminal Justice and Behavior.

 

Top Photo: Charles Barber and William Outlaw, Wesleyan University, 2018

 

The Connection Training Sessions, Fall/Winter 2019–2020 Courses Now Enrolling

The Connection provides quality training and professional development designed to promote excellence in the human services field. Our Fall/Winter catalog is now available and enrollment is open for all sessions.

Click the cover image below to browse the full training catalog — which includes important information about our policies and registration, and also includes descriptions and presenter information. To register, click on the course titles below and select a training date.

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A Middletown Works Update

Did you know that out of all the families living in Middletown (10,570 families) almost half (43%) are single parents? And that one-third of those families are living at or below the Federal Poverty Level? Middletown Works wants to change this!

Middletown Works is a Working Cities Challenge Initiative of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. It is a movement of people, businesses and organizations working together to lift up Middletown’s single parent families living in poverty. The initiative is led by The Connection, Middlesex United Way, and the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology (CCAT).

Our 10-year goal is to increase prosperity and reduce poverty among Middletown’s single parent families. Over the past year, we have expanded our partnerships, and have been exploring a pilot workforce program with Middlesex Health. Each month we offer Community Cafes, which are designed to bring together a variety of people in our city to get to know each other. Continue reading

Spring–Summer 2019 Grant Announcements

The Connection was one of five agencies in the State awarded a $205,346 Women’s REACH Grant from the Connecticut Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services (DMHAS). Under the auspices of this grant, women with lived experience of substance use will serve as Peer Navigators, reaching out to and working with women who are struggling with addictions in order to bring them into services and facilitate their ability to find recovery and live clean and sober lives. The Connection’s Women’s REACH Peer Navigators will focus on DMHAS Region 2, which includes New Haven and Middlesex Counties, with work concentrated in the cities of New Haven, Meriden, and Middletown.

Near and Far Aid, a Fairfield-County based foundation has awarded a $7,500 grant to support the HomeWorks program, an innovative partnership between The Connection, Bridgeport ABCD Early Learning, and Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago that seeks to address deep housing insecurity in young families. Funds will be used to identify those ABCD Early Learning families who are at risk for homelessness and to support the work of The Connection’s Housing Navigator in helping to ensure that identified families at risk for homelessness will receive the resources and support they need to find and maintain stable housing. Safe and stable housing has been shown to be inextricably linked to an individual and family’s ability to achieve economic stability. Family mobility and literal homelessness increase school absence, limit classroom engagement, and reduce school achievement. Children who experience crowding, doubling up, utility shutoffs, and related problems have poorer outcomes than peers and are at increased risk for child welfare involvement.

The Blum Shapiro Foundation has awarded $1,800 to The Connection’s Hallie House program for Women and Girls to help support a variety of wellness-related programming and an array of activities that will help build our clients’ resilience and self-esteem, reduce stress, enhance focus, and provide them with the knowledge and skills they will need to succeed in managing their recoveries and making a life in the community. Hallie House, established in Middletown in 1991, serves pregnant or parenting women 18 and older struggling to overcome addictions by providing case management, quality clinical services and individualized treatment in a warm, supportive environment. The program has a capacity of eight mothers and up to seven children at any time.

The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut’s Southeast General Grant program has provided a $5,000 grant to Mother’s Retreat, established in 1995 to serve pregnant or parenting women 18 and older struggling to overcome addictions by providing case management, quality clinical services and individualized treatment in a warm, supportive environment. Funds will be used to support a variety of needs not funded through State contracts, including but not limited to opioid treatment education and an array of experiential, educational, community-building, therapeutic, outreach, and social activities Trauma-Informed Gender-Responsive Care, and Parenting while in Recovery trainings.

The Liberty Bank Foundation has awarded a three-year, $15,000 grant to the Eddy Shelter of Middlesex County to help support basic program needs for guests. These items include food, transportation costs, identification/birth certificate fees, interview and work-related clothing, and other necessary expenses not funded through State and other funding sources. The Eddy Shelter is the only homeless shelter for adult men and women in Middlesex County and is a place of last resort for some of our guests, many of whom suffer from chronic mental illness and addictions or are dually diagnosed. Upon admission, every Shelter guest is assigned a case manager with whom he or she works to secure access to health care, including mental health services; entitlements such as social security and social security disability insurance; access to housing; and assistance with accessing educational and vocational programs, and assistance with searching for and securing jobs. The goal is to help guests move toward independence and full reintegration into the community.

The Joey Logano Foundation has awarded a $30,000 grant to support the needs of the Connecting Children and Families (CCF) program. CCF is a licensed, therapeutic foster care program that supports foster parents caring for Department of Children and Families (DCF)- involved children who are at risk of being placed in long-term residential psychiatric settings. The CCF program is designed to provide a clinical intervention for children and youth ages 6–18 in the foster care system who have severe trauma, emotional, or behavioral health needs. Through participation in the program, foster parents become part of a team that includes CCF staff and other parents, all of whom work closely with one another and are focused on helping the therapeutic needs of the child or children placed in their care. The Joey Logano Foundation invests in organizations offering second chances to children and young adults during times of crisis and works to inspire others to live a life of generosity.


The Workers Compensation Trust has awarded $10,280 in funding to support The Connection’s Safety Committee as it seeks to bring resources, education and awareness to current and future staff about the importance of making establishing and maintaining universal health and safety standards and care. Funds will be used purchase and distribute a variety of agency program-related safety items not directly funded by state contracts including first aid kits, universal precaution kits, folding carts to reduce staff lifting-related injuries, Narcan kits, and safety signs and documents.

The Workers’ Compensation Trust is a comprehensive workers’ compensation insurance program designed to meet the unique needs of the Connecticut healthcare and human service industries. The Trust was formed in 1981 for the sole purpose of providing a cost-effective alternative to the traditional insurance market for healthcare and human service employers in the State. Membership consists of over 450 employers representing over 60,000 employees in the healthcare industry.

April 2019 Funding Announcement

The Eddy Shelter received a $5,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County to support client and programmatic needs. These funds were drawn from the Howard and Yvonne McAuliffe Fund, the Chuck and Rachel Wiltsie Fund, and the Elizabeth Swaim Middletown Fund. We are truly grateful for this vitally necessary support. Grant dollars will be used to purchase food and provide for other basic needs, including fees to replace photo IDs and birth certificates, transportation, and interview and work clothing for Shelter guests.

The Eddy Shelter, Middlesex County’s only homeless shelter for adult men and women, provides a warm bed and hot shower for more than 125 guests each year. Guests receive temporary shelter and case management services to assist in securing access to health care, including mental health services; Social Security; and access to housing, educational and vocational programs, and employment. The goal is to help guests move toward independence and full reintegration into the community.

Cultivating Resilience Conference

Thank you to all our guests who attended the conference, Cultivating Resilience, on October 21, 2019 at the Wesleyan University campus in Middletown. The event featured keynote addresses from Tonier Cain, former team leader for the National Center for Trauma Informed Care, and Dr. John Woodall, Founder and Director of the Unity Project, as well as a choice of workshops that dug deeper into the science and practice of building resilience. The conference was designed for case managers, social workers, clinicians, and other service providers.

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2019 CFA Society Hartford Corporate 5K

Join us after work with your friends, family and co-workers for the CFA Society Hartford Corporate 5K benefitting The Connection!

The race starts at 6:20 pm on Thursday, August 1st in Bushnell Park features live entertainment, a post-race cookout and celebration, computerized race results and awards.

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Supportive Housing for Families Needs Landlords Like You.

The Supportive Housing for Families Program helps families thrive by finding homes in safe, nurturing neighborhoods and providing the support necessary for achieving economic independence, developing healthy relationships and a stable and caring home environment.

The program assists parents with reuniting with children who have been placed in foster care or prevents the placement of children in foster care by providing access to a stable home and intensive case management. For more than 20 years, the program has helped thousands of families stay together with its community-based approach.

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The Connection Announces Second Annual Golf Tournament

COUNTIES OF FAIRFIELD, NEW HAVEN, AND MIDDLETOWN, CT

The Connection is proud to announce the Second Annual Golf Tournament taking place on Monday, June 24, 2019 at H. Smith Richardson Golf Course in Fairfield. Golfers will enjoy an exciting day of golf on a beautifully maintained public course that will include 18 holes of golf with cart, lunch, dinner, complimentary drinks sponsored by Kieran’s Place, hole-in-one prizes that include a car and a trip to Ireland and a silent auction! 

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Creating Positive Change

The Connection partnered with an outside consulting firm to develop a strategic plan to guide the organization for 2018–2021. The Connection’s strategic plan, Creating Positive Change, represents the shared aspirations of the agency’s leadership, staff and Boards of Directors.

Established in 1972, The Connection has grown to be a state leader in the provision of housing, case management, and treatment services for the homeless, mentally ill, substance users, for the preservation of families, and individuals restarting their lives after incarceration. Our mission is to be responsive to our clients, our staff and our communities with quality, cost effective services that address these important societal and community safety concerns. We strive to do great work and seek to continually strengthen the agency’s program profile and infrastructure.

As a private, nonprofit organization, our work is evolving with changes in the external landscape. The Connection’s vision to be the most trusted provider in the communities we serve is more important than ever. To do this, it is imperative that we adapt our programs, improve our financial sustainability, and partner with others in the communities we serve. It’s always been our mission to improve the lives and promote the well-being of every person who seeks our services. But as populations shift, technology advances, and new societal concerns continue to emerge, we’re facing new challenges every day.


Click here to read a summary of the vision, values and goals we developed for our agency to meet these challenges in the coming three years.

March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month

March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month, designed to help raise awareness of the prevention, treatment, and recovery services available for those adversely affected by gambling. Gambling doesn’t only impact the problem gambler themselves, family members are often caught up in the storm. In the interest of better understanding of the consequences of problem gambling, family member Annemarie has shared her very personal story with us.

Problem Gambling and How it Affected My Life

I grew up in a family that was plagued with alcoholism, drug abuse, problem gambling and many other mental health issues. At the time, I wasn’t aware that any of these issues were problems as I was too young to understand what was really happening. As I grew up into my teenage years, I began to understand that there was something wrong with all of this. It’s very hard when it’s your family members, you love them and you know that something is not quite right. As I entered my early twenties, I knew that it was completely dysfunctional and came to the realization that nothing was going to change. The only thing that I could do was to remove myself from the dysfunctional environment in an effort to move on to a healthier life for myself.

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Thursday Is Giving Day

The Connection would like you to MARK YOUR CALENDAR! This Thursday, February 28th is Giving DAY at The Connection powered by The Fairfield County Community Foundation. To learn more about The Connection and services, please go to The Connection’s link below and meet James who is featured in a short video!

As Brené Brown wrote:

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship”.

This truly defines our work at The Connection with James and so many others. The connections made with our clients are critically important, particularly to those who are disconnected and have lost their place. With your support, we can continue to do the work to re-engage and bring sustenance and strength to those in need.

Thank you for being our connection as Brené defined above and for your consideration of this request to support The Connection’s Giving Day on Thursday!

With gratitude,
Lisa DeMatteis-Lepore
The Connection – Chief Executive Officer

Visit our Giving Day profile to make your gift at fcgives.org/organizations/the-connection

In Memoriam, Honoring Dr. Edward Friedman

Since Katchen Coley founded The Connection in 1972, the agency has since grown to a staff of more than 400 and operates 45 programs. Her innovative vision of community based progams would not have come to fruition without the support of Dr. Edward Friedman, who died on January 30, 2019 at the age of 94.

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2019 Funding Announcements

Many thanks to our community partners! The Connection has received a total of $10,079 in grant funding in recent months. We are truly grateful for this support—we can’t do it without you!

The Connection has received a total of $5,079 in Neighborhood Assistance Act donations from Avangrid/United Illuminating ($4,579) and L. Suzio Concrete Co. ($500). These funds have been made available under the auspices of Energy Conservation portion of the State of Connecticut’s Neighborhood Assistance Act Tax Credit Program (NAA). The NAA is designed to provide funding for municipal and tax-exempt organizations by providing a corporation business tax credit for businesses that make cash contributions to these organizations. Dollars received will be applied toward continuing our work in removing outdated and inefficient gas-powered HVAC system units at The Connection’s Park Street Residence in New Haven and replacing them with high-efficiency electric heating and cooling units.

The Park Street Residence provides single room occupancy housing and case management services for 13 adults with chronic mental illness or a dual diagnosis of mental illness and addictions. Staff are on duty 24 hours a day to provide support and counseling to residents who are among the most vulnerable members of the New Haven Community. Energy savings will benefit both the agency and the residents who pay their own utilities.

The Eddy Shelter recently received a total of $5,000 in grant funding to support client and programmatic needs. Funds will be used to purchase food and provide for other basic needs, including fees to replace photo IDs and birth certificates, transportation, and interview and work clothing for Shelter guests.

The Eddy Shelter, Middlesex County’s only homeless shelter for adult men and women, provides a warm bed and hot shower for hundreds of guests each year. Guests receive temporary shelter and case management services. Typical areas of need addressed are vocational support, substance abuse treatment, medical and mental healthcare, and assistance with connections to community resources. The goal is to help guests move toward independence and full reintegration into the community.

New episode! The Connection’s WTIC Podcast: “David shares His Story”

Ann Baldwin, CEO of Baldwin Media and Lisa DeMatteis-Lepore, CEO of The Connection, sit down with Roger Sherman House graduate David. David shares his story, tells us how he is doing today, and talks about the special connection he has with a staff member who inspired him and helped him rejoin society after incarceration.

Stream or download the full podcast episode at WTIC.

Read more in David’s Stories of Courage profile.

Subscribe to The Connection podcast.

Connecticut Agencies Receive $6.5 Million in Federal Grant Funding to Combat Youth Homelessness — U.S. Senator Chris Murphy Meets with Agencies Putting the Dollars to Work

(Photo, Pictured From Left to Right: Lisa DeMatteis-Lepore, CEO, The Connection; Senator Chris Murphy; Mary Ann (Mimi) Haley, Deputy Director, Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness; Steve Dilella, Director, Department of Housing)

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (January 7, 2019) – Before a packed house of various agencies tackling the issue of youth homelessness in Connecticut, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy held a round table discussion today at The Connection in Middletown to hear from various stakeholders on how federal funds will be utilized to address the growing concern of youth homelessness in our state.

Due in great part to the efforts of Senator Murphy, Connecticut was the recipient of $6.5 million in federal grant funding for new youth homelessness programs. Senator Murphy opened the discussion by saying,

“When dollars are sent to Connecticut, they know that the dollars will be used wisely. The real success is not what is done in 6 months, it is what we do to address youth homelessness in 6 years that matters.”

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2018 Funding Announcements

Many thanks to our community partners! The Connection has received a total of $62,000 in grant funding in recent months. We are truly grateful for this support—we can’t do it without you!

The Fairfield County Community Foundation has awarded a $35,000 grant to support Home Works, a new initiative that seeks to address deep housing insecurity in young families. During the initial phase of the project, funding will be used to help support the efforts of a part-time Family Navigator who will work with Bridgeport ABCD Early Learning (Head Start) and the Opening Doors Fairfield County Coordinated Access Network to identify vulnerable families.


The Family Navigator will develop, identify, and access community resources, including safe and stable housing and rental assistance; and to coordinate all housing activities for the parents. The goal is to help ensure that families who are at risk for homelessness will receive the resources and support they need to find and maintain stable housing.

 Home Works is a partnership between The Connection, Bridgeport ABCD Early Learning, and Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago that seeks to address deep housing insecurity in young families. Safe and stable housing has been shown to be inextricably linked to an individual and family’s ability to achieve economic stability. Family mobility and literal homelessness increase school absence, limit classroom engagement, and reduce school achievement. Children who experience crowding, doubling up, utility shutoffs, and related problems have poorer outcomes than peers and are at increased risk for child welfare involvement.

The Watkinson Prisoners Aid Society has awarded The Connection a $5,000 grant to offer Financial Literacy training to clients of The Connection’s Community Justice programs. Clients will learn about budgeting and the importance of good credit, repairing credit scores, building or rebuilding their credit, and establishing financial goals. Financial Literacy is vitally important for everyone who seeks to live independently. Financial Literacy can help foster self-esteem, build familial relationships, establish independence, and reduce the chances of reoffending. 


The Connection’s community justice services assist men and women who have been incarcerated acquire the education, skills and resources needed to return to the community after prison as a productive and valued citizen. Our positive support, state-of-the-art rehabilitation and supervisory services and innovative housing options have proven to be what many people need to rewrite their stories.

The Chelsea Groton Foundation has awarded a $2,000 grant to the Connection’s Mother’s Retreat program to provide life skills and quality of life enhancements that will supplement the client experience at the program. These enhancements include Wellness programming and equipment; community building events for clients, their families, and program alumni; and professional development for program staff.

Mother’s Retreat, located in Groton, is a residential treatment facility for pregnant and parenting women who desire to live a clean and sober life. The program provides quality clinical services and individualized treatment in a warm, supportive, homelike setting. All clients participate in a personal recovery plan as well as individual and group therapy. Program staff, community, and natural supports provide the resources and guidance clients need to create, develop, and strengthen healthy relationships and build a recovery community.

The Connection has received a $20,000 grant from the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven to help support three New Haven-based programs: Norton Court, Pendleton, and Outreach & Engagement. Funds will be used to supply food and toiletries along with other basic client needs at all three programs. In addition, the funding will address critical physical plant needs for the Whalley Avenue building that provides staff offices, meeting and group spaces, a food pantry, and shower and laundry facilities that our homeless Outreach & Engagement clients are able to utilize.

The Norton Court, Pendleton and Outreach & Engagement programs provide transitional housing, permanent supportive housing, homeless outreach, case management, and outpatient clinical services to many of the most vulnerable members of the New Haven community. Many of the clients have complex behavioral health needs, including multiple or prolonged hospitalizations and homelessness. Program staff work diligently to provide wrap-around and skill-building services that are unique to each individual. The skill building component is essential to supporting client goals of increasing autonomy and graduating to independent living.

Give and Give Back

Blaine, a graduate of The Connection’s Roger Sherman House prison release program, works for the City of New Haven, and recently opened his own cleaning business, McKay’s Custom Clean.

Blaine was ready to reclaim his life when he came to the program. “They gave me structure,” he says. Upon graduation, Blaine was offered a job with the City’s Traffic and Parking Department. That job allowed him to give back to his community.

“I have a tremendous support system. I know I have to do something bigger, to help give something back,” he says.

We hope you will keep success stories like Blaine’s in mind as you plan your giving for the end of 2018. You can make an online donation to the agency by clicking the link below.

Donate Now!

Meaningful Connections: Exploring Engagement in Human Services is Theme of 2018 Connection Agency Conference

The Connection has finalized the schedule for its 2018 annual conference on Meaningful Connections: Exploring Engagement in Human Services. The conference will take place Monday, October 22, at the Wesleyan University campus in Middletown.

The conference will feature multiple breakout sessions on topics related to engagement, including Engaging Mandated Clients; Emotionally Intelligent Engagement for Professionals; Engaging Clients in Advocacy; Making Data Engaging; Supervisory Engagement; and Engaging Equity with Heart-Knowing, led by Niyonou Spann.

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The Connection Golf 2018 — First Annual Fundraiser Tournament

Middletown and Fairfield, CT. The Connection is proud to announce the First Annual Golf Tournament taking place on Monday, September 24, 2018 at H. Smith Richardson Golf Course in Fairfield. Golfers will enjoy an exciting day of golf on a beautifully maintained public course that will include 18 holes of golf with cart, continental breakfast, lunch and dinner sponsored by Kieran’s Place, and hole-in-one prizes that include a car and a trip to Ireland!

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Joey Logano Foundation Awards $30,000 Grant to The Connection’s Connecting Children and Families Therapeutic Foster Care Program

Middletown, CT. The Joey Logano Foundation has awarded The Connection’s Connecting Children and Families therapeutic foster care program $30,000 in funding to support program services and foster family recruitment efforts.

“The Joey Logano Foundation has been a wonderful resource for The Connection since we first partnered with them in 2014,” said Lisa DeMatteis-Lepore, CEO of The Connection. “Their generous support has allowed us to make a real difference in the lives of so many Connection clients and their families.”

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Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut Awards $9,000 to The Connection’s Mother’s Retreat Program

Funds will support expansion of Groton-based substance use treatment program for pregnant or parenting women as part of The Connection’s response to growing opioid crisis.

Middletown and Groton, CT. The Connection’s Mother’s Retreat program will increase the number of clients served each year with a $9,000 grant awarded by The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut. This funding will support the agency’s continued response to the growing opioid crisis.

“We are delighted that the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut has chosen to support this program expansion,” said The Connection’s CEO Lisa DeMatteis-Lepore. “These funds will help ensure that every woman who enters the Mother’s Retreat program feels welcome, safe, and fully equipped to begin the process of rebuilding her life.”

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CFA Society Hartford Corporate 5K

Join us after work with your friends, family and co-workers for the CFA Society Hartford Corporate 5K benefitting The Connection! The race starts at 6:20 pm on Thursday, August 2nd in Bushnell Park features live entertainment, a post-race cookout and celebration, computerized race results and awards.

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Not just a place to live: From homelessness to citizenship

Twenty years ago, Jim lived under a highway bridge in New Haven, Connecticut. He was in his 50s and had once been in the Army. A New Haven mental health outreach team found him one morning sleeping under the bridge. His neon yellow sneakers stuck out from underneath his blankets. Read on to find out more about Jim, and how his story is connected to the Citizenship research projects at the Institute for Innovative Practice.

Connecting criminal justice, mental health, and family support for better delivery of human services

The Connection’s uniquely flexible and cross-disciplinary service approach has been featured in a special World Health Organization-curated issue of the International Journal of Public Health. The article explores the elements of the institutional culture at The Connection, and outlines the role that The Connection Institute for Innovative Practice plays in integrating research practice and advocacy. The article was authored by Bandy Lee in collaboration with the Institute staff. Click to read the full piece.

Transform Lives Today

In the 45 years since The Connection opened its doors, the agency has touched the lives of tens of thousands of men, women and families struggling with homelessness, mental health conditions, and addictions. Their success has been made possible through our partnerships with individuals, organizations, and institutions throughout the state who are invested in the principles of our core mission: building safe, healthy, caring communities and inspiring people to reach their full potential as productive and valued citizens.

Willie Miller, a client of The Connection’s Milestone permanent supportive housing program in Bridgeport, is one of our successes. Last June, Willie received the Reaching Home Campaign’s Carol Walter Supportive Housing Tenant Award, given each year to two supportive housing tenants in the state who show commitment to supportive housing advocacy, leadership, and making their community a better place.

Willie’s path to Milestone and the Carol Walter award was long and difficult. After losing his mother at age 14, he stopped going to school and began drinking, using and dealing drugs. Willie spent many years on the streets and many more years in prison. “I spent 56 years of my life in addiction. I missed out on an awful lot, but I didn’t know how to ask for help,” he says.

For a time, Willie’s only shelter was a cardboard box nestled against a building in downtown Bridgeport. Soon after the City of Bridgeport’s Homeless Outreach Team found Willie, he met Helen McAlinden, Director of The Connection’s supportive housing program at Milestone. Willie applied for an apartment, and when the building opened its doors in the spring of 2016, became the program’s first resident.

Today Willie is an active and passionate volunteer working with recovery organizations in Connecticut. “When you’re thinking of doing the next right thing, you don’t worry about doing something wrong,” he says.

We hope you will keep success stories like Willie’s in mind as you plan your giving for the end of 2017. You can make an online donation to the agency by clicking the link below.

Donate Now!

2017 Connection Agency Conference

Addictive Disorders: Innovative Approaches ♦ Reclaimed Lives — 2017 Connection Agency Conference to be held Monday and Tuesday, October 23 and 24 at Wesleyan University

Middletown, CT
The Connection has finalized the schedule for its 2017 annual conference on Addictive Disorders: Innovative Approaches ♦ Reclaimed Lives, to be held on Monday, October 23 and Tuesday, October 24 on the Wesleyan University campus in Middletown.

The Keynote speaker for the conference is Kathleen F. Maurer, MD, MPH, MBA, Director of Health and Addiction Services and Medical Director of the Connecticut Department of Correction. Dr. Maurer was recently awarded the Coalition of Correctional Health Authorities national award for Leadership in Correctional Healthcare. She is board-certified in internal medicine, occupational and environmental medicine, and addiction medicine.  Dr. Maurer earned the MD and MPH degrees from Yale University School of Medicine and an MBA from the University of Connecticut. Continue reading

Driving Hope Home 2017 Golf Tournament

The Connection and The Joey Logano Foundation invite you to Driving Hope Home, the annual Joey Logano Foundation (JLF) charity event in Connecticut. The special day will feature a golf tournament, dinner, VIP dinner, car show, live and silent auctions, and raffle on July 13, 2017 at the Southington Country Club and Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville, Conn. The Middletown, Connecticut native and 2015 Daytona 500 Champion Joey Logano returns home each year to meet fans and play golf with attendees at this annual fundraiser. Continue reading

The Connection’s Brand New Radio Show is Here!

Co-hosted by Ann Baldwin and our very own CEO Lisa Dematteis-Lepore, the two talk about various programs offered by The Connection as well as some obstacles people in our state face when trying to access the right services for behavioral health issues.

Tune in to WTIC Newstalk 1080, each week on Sundays at 5:30am; or catch the broadcasts online over at CBS Connecticut, where you can subscribe to or download podcasts of the shows.

Lisa DeMatteis-Lepore Selected as The Connection’s CEO

The Connection today announced that Lisa DeMatteis-Lepore is named Chief Executive Officer of the organization.

The Boards of The Connection, Inc. and The Connection Fund, Inc. selected Ms. DeMatteis-Lepore as The Connection’s Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Peter Nucci, who retired in 2016. This appointment is made after the Board’s Search Committee conducted a national search through a professional executive recruitment firm. After extensive interviews and review of several candidates from across the country, “it was decided last night by all Board members from both Boards that Lisa DeMatteis-Lepore was the best person to lead this agency, and both Boards voted unanimously to elect her as CEO of the Connection”, said Gloster Aaron, Board Chair, The Connection, Inc.

Ms. DeMatteis-Lepore, who previously served as the agency’s Chief Operating Officer and Interim CEO, has more than 25 years of service to all areas of the agency and is an accomplished, results-oriented leader with proven success in the strategic development and growth to the organization. She was the force behind the growth of the agency’s Family Support Services, which comprises the largest service sector of The Connection.

Introducing Lisa DeMatteis-Lepore, Our Interim CEO

The Connection’s Boards of Directors have appointed Lisa DeMatteis-Lepore Interim Chief Executive Officer. Lisa, who previously served as the agency’s Chief Operating Officer, has more than 25 years of service to all areas of the agency and is an accomplished, results-oriented leader with proven success in the strategic development and growth to the organization. She was the force behind the growth of the agency’s Family Support Services, which comprise the largest service sector of The Connection.

I look forward to hearing from you! Contact me directly at 860-343-5500 x1302 or at lisa@theconnectioninc.org.

Re-Entry Assisted Community Housing (REACH) Receives Outstanding Criminal Justice Program Award for the Northeast Region

The Connection, one of Connecticut’s largest nonprofit human service and community development agencies, today announced The National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA) honored the Re-Entry Assisted Community Housing (REACH) program with its Outstanding Criminal Justice Program Award for the Northeast Region in recognition of their work in reducing recidivism.  The award is given out annually to five criminal justice programs that merit recognition for providing effective services to address crime-related issues in their communities. This year’s awards were given out at the National Forum on Criminal Justice on August 9th, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Continue reading

Department of Housing Awards The Connection $2.75 Million 
to Create Affordable Rental Housing in New London

Former St. Mary Star of the Sea Elementary School will be converted to 20 apartments

The State of Connecticut has awarded The Connection up to $2.75 million to rehabilitate and convert the historic St. Mary Star of the Sea elementary school in the heart of New London to 20 units of affordable rental apartments. The rehabilitation of the school built in 1899, will preserve the building’s historic character. The project is within walking distance of many New London amenities, including transit, shopping, restaurants, employment centers, and medical facilities.The award is part of nearly $28 million in funding directed toward affordable housing projects in eight communities throughout the state that will create, rehabilitate or preserve approximately 200 units of affordable housing that focus on expanding access to transit-oriented development, creating new veteran’s housing units, and adding supportive housing for those who are living with disabilities. A portion of the apartments will be set aside to provide housing for chronically homeless individuals. The funding was made available under the state’s Competitive Housing Assistance for Multifamily Properties (CHAMP) program.  Continue reading

Senator Chris Murphy Visits The Connection on Five-City Tour to Gather Information about Heroin Addiction

On Monday, March 28, Senator Chris Murphy stopped at The Connection’s 48 Howe Street facility in New Haven to meet with clients of The Connection’s addiction recovery programs, which include Recovery House and Elm City Women and Children’s Center in New Haven, Hallie House in Middletown, and Mother’s Retreat in Groton. His visit was part of a five-city, statewide tour to gather information about heroin addiction, which claimed the lives of 415 people in Connecticut last year.
 
“We have an epidemic in this country and we are closing our eyes to it by failing to provide emergency funding,” Murphy said. “We spent (an estimated) $4 billion making sure that Ebola didn’t become an epidemic in the United States. We’re living in an epidemic of heroin deaths and we won’t appropriate a single dime for it.”

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Governor’s Nonprofit Grants Program Awards The Connection $908,851

Funds will be used for facilities upgrades at 48 Howe Street, New Haven, and upgrades to telephone and IT systems at agency locations throughout the state.

The State of Connecticut has awarded The Connection $908,851 in funding from the Governor’s Nonprofit Grant Program. These funds will be used to support upgrades to The Connection’s 48 Howe Street, New Haven, property and to upgrade telephone and Information Technology systems at agency program and administrative sites throughout the state.

The five-floor, 90,000-square-foot 48 Howe Street property, built in 1929 by the YWCA, is on the National Register of Historic Places and is home to eight Connection programs that provide transitional housing and case management services to hundreds of adults and 20 children each year. The $460,391 Howe Street renovations project will allow the agency to install 11 commercial grade stainless steel showers to replace current showers and tubs and restore 173 individual window sections that are original to the building. Installation of water-tight energy efficient screened replacements will improve air quality and reduce utility costs by at least 20 percent. 


HUD Secretary Julian Castro, Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and other Dignitaries Celebrate Grand Opening of Milestone Supportive Housing Project

The Connection will provide case management services to residents in need at Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust’s newest affordable housing development

    
On Friday, January 15, Federal, state, and local officials gathered at 1803 Stratford Avenue in Bridgeport to celebrate the grand opening of the Milestone Apartments, a new, 30-unit permanent supportive housing development designed for low-income adults with special needs and with a particular preference for veterans in Bridgeport’s East End. 

Built by affordable housing developer Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust (BNT), Milestone will help revitalize the neighborhood. The first floor of the complex has 9,000 square feet of commercial space that will be home to a new early learning center operated by Action for Bridgeport Community Development, Inc. (ABCD).
 The project was financed by a grant approved from the Interagency Committee on Supportive Housing under the state’s Permanent Supportive Housing Initiative for the City of Bridgeport HOME funds, financing from Corporation for Supportive Housing, LISC, and Wells Fargo Bank. BNT has a long-standing relationship with the City of Bridgeport and has a direct grassroots connection with the East End Neighborhood Revitalization Zone (NRZ), civic groups and the various governmental entities in the City.

milestone-insetPhoto: HUD Secretary Julian Castro with Director of Housing Development Betsy Cronin, and Director of Homeless Outreach Helen Lavin McAlinden

(Ribbon cutting photo) Front row, from left: Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust Board Vice President Kim Bianca Williams, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, State Representative Jim Hines, U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal, HUD Secretary Julian Castro, Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust Executive Director Liz Torres, Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, and Department of Housing Commissioner Yvonne Klein.

First Ever Spa Day at Eddy a Great Success!

Thirteen guests of Eddy Shelter and Logano Place receive professional haircuts, manicures, massages, and more!

On Wednesday, December 23, 13 guests of the Eddy Shelter participated in the first-ever Spa Day at Eddy. Participants received chair massages, manicures, haircuts and styling, and makeup applications donated by community volunteers and staff. Many of the guests had never had a professional haircut, professional massage, or manicure and were thrilled to have the opportunity to be pampered in that way. The Spa Day was inspired by a larger event held at Ascencia Homeless Shelter in Glendale, California.


Many, many thanks to Libby Carrier, owner of Main Street Massage in Portland, for donating the massages. Thanks also to Susan Ardolino of Reflections Hair Studio for donating shampoo and conditioners, capes and curling irons for the day, Sarah Wiliarty and helpers who donated $50 toward the purchase of gift bag items, and Stephanie Huffman, owner, and Corinne Gingras, manager/stylist of Echo Salon in Guilford, who donated hair products for the goody bags.

Many staff contributed to making the day memorable and fun. Special thanks to Grants Manager Denice Calabrese, who had been a professional hairdresser and still maintains her license. Denice had a full schedule of 13 haircuts and was busy the entire day. Thanks also to Mackenzie Tyson and Lee Anne Borkowski for organizing the day’s events and taking photographs and videos; Nadia Karachristos and Mackenzie Tyson for donating their manicuring skills; Nicole Bajek for applying makeup to all the women participants; Claire Bien for logo design and photography; and Beth Connor, Lisa Hansen, and Nanci Jutras provided general assistance.

Community Foundation for Greater New Haven Awards 
The Connection $15,000 Grant for Culinary Arts Program

The Connection has received a $15,000 grant from the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven to develop a culinary arts program to prepare clients for living wage jobs in the community. Funding will be used to build a demonstration kitchen, to be located at The Connection’s 48 Howe Street, New Haven property.  Our intention in Year One is to expand a modest food preparation program developed by The Connection’s Executive Chef, Craig Langdon, to a more extensive 12-week program that will provide interested clients in all of our New Haven programs with culinary arts instruction.

Interested and qualified graduates of The Connection’s Culinary Arts program will be encouraged to move on to the Connecticut Center for Arts and Technology’s (ConnCAT) significantly more rigorous, 10-month Culinary Arts program. 

The Culinary Arts Program is part of a larger effort to develop a robust workforce development program for clients in all Connection programs that will prepare them to seek and secure living-wage jobs in the community.

Winter Grove Apartments Open Doors to Low-Income Elderly

Two former guests of Eddy Shelter now occupy two of Winter Grove’s eleven
Supportive Housing Units

On Thursday, November 5, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., Winter Grove, an apartment complex for low-income elderly in Southington, held an open house to celebrate the most recent development by NeighborWorks® New Horizons. The Connection is providing on-site counseling services to Winter Grove residents



Pictured clockwise from above left are: The first supportive housing resident of Winter Grove in front of the complex; Steve DiLello, Department of Housing; Bob, the second supportive housing resident of Winter grove with Alison Brinkmann, Founder and CEO of Simply Sharing, a nonprofit that receives furniture and other household items and donates them to people in need; a group shot with (from left) Steve DiLello, Maris Wacs, Martina Hutley, case manager, Eddy Shelter, The Connection; Bob, Mackenzie Tyson, program manager, Eddy Shelter; Sarah Fox, Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness; Alison Brinkmann; Dawn Parker, Project Manager, The Connection; Helen Lavin, Program Director of Homeless Outreach & Development, The Connection.

Joey Logano Comes Home to Host Local Fundraiser

Always one to go fast, Joey Logano proved he can push the limits on anything with four wheels — even if it is a golf cart.

The 2015 Racing for Hope event held on July 16th in Portland, CT was a partnership between The Joey Logano Foundation and The Connection. The event hosted 96 golfers at Quarry Ridge Golf Course along with 310 dinner guests at Saint Clements Castle. Attendees were able to celebrate Joey’s racing roots while supporting work of two charities working to make a positive impact in the community.

Family and friends from the community spent the day with the driver of the #22 Shell Penzoil Ford as he worked his way through the course, occasionally taking a swing. At dinner, guests listened as he and emcee Mike Massaro traded racing stories on the stage. Proceeds from the event will benefit Logano Place, a transitional housing program for homeless adults run by The Connection. Continue reading

Contact Us

Main Office
100 Roscommon Dr, Ste. 203
Middletown CT 06457
(860) 343-5500

Fraud Alert Line: To report a concern or fraudulent activity, please call 1-855-868-5656. All calls will be handled anonymously and in a timely manner.

For easy access to our services call our Toll-free Helpline at (855)Help955 — (855)435-7955 anytime during business hours. A trained staff member will assist you with your questions and will guide you to the appropriate Connection service.

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