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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.

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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

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

Blue State Coffee Selects The Connection as a Nonprofit Partner

Patrons of 320 Congress Avenue, New Haven, Store Can Help Support The Connection

The 320 Congress Avenue, New Haven, Blue State Coffee has selected The Connection as one of its nonprofit partners for the second half of 2015! Donors and friends who frequent the Yale-New Haven Hospital/Yale School of Medicine area are encouraged to stop by and drop a wooden nickel in The Connection’s donation box. 

Blue State Coffee donates 2% of sales to local non-profit organizations suggested by our customers. The innovative and community spirited restaurant chooses four local non-profit organizations at each of their stores twice a year for a six-month period. Each time a customer makes a purchase he or she may vote for one of the selected non-profits we are supporting at that time. At the end of the six-month donation period, Blue State allocates 2% of sales based on the number of votes each organization has received.

Since their first store opened in July of 2007, Blue State has donated over $535,000 to more than 200 non-profit organizations.

The Connection Receives COA Accreditation

We are pleased to announce that our organization has achieved accreditation through the Council on Accreditation — also known as COA. COA is an independent organization, separate from the government, that ensures all of our programs and services are being delivered at the highest possible standards. Achieving accreditation was not easy; it took us over a year to complete this challenging process. During that time, COA reviewed all aspects of our organization’s programs and services. COA accreditation will provide you with the confidence that our services are among the best in the nation. Please let us know if you have any questions or comments. We are truly excited about this milestone.

Joey Logano’s Racing for Hope Golf Tournament, Dinner & Auction

The Connection and The Joey Logano Foundation invite you to participate in a special day of golf, dinner and auction prizes with the 2015 Daytona 500 Champion Joey Logano. Benefitting The Connection and The Joey Logano Foundation, the event is Thursday, July 16, 2015 at the Quarry Ridge Golf Course and Saint Clements Castle, Portland Connecticut.

» Meet Joey and other local sports stars at the golf event;
» Enjoy a dinner and auction, with emcee Mike Massaro of NBC Sports;
» Get to know Joey at the dinner, as he tells his story on and off the track; and
» Participate in an evening autograph session with Joey. Continue reading

20th Annual Greater New Haven Pizza Fest

Don’t miss The Connection’s 20th Annual Greater New Haven Pizza Fest scheduled for Thursdays and Fridays, June 18-19 and June 25-26 during the International Festival of Arts & Ideas Lunchtime Concerts on the New Haven Green. Enjoy pizza by the slice from Greater New Haven’s finest and most generous pizzerias. Pizza available from noon to 1:30 or until we sell out. Slice of pizza $3.; Italian Ice $2.; Beverage $1. Proceeds to benefit The Connection, a non-profit human services and community development agency. If you would like to donate to pizza fest with a financial sponsorship or by donating pizza, please contact Claire Bien at 203 733-8109 or

The Great Give® 2015

On May 5 and 6, friends of The Connection can help us raise much-needed matching grant funding — from the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and Valley Community Foundation — by making a donation to The Connection during a 36-hour period beginning Tuesday, May 5 at 8:00 a.m. through Wednesday, May 6 at 8:00 p.m.

The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. are providing a matching pool of $50,000. All donations made during the 36-hour period of The Great Give® 2015 to qualified nonprofits will receive a prorated portion of the match pool. (For example, if the match pool is $50,000 and the total amount raised that day is $350,000, then a one dollar donation would become one dollar and fourteen cents.)

Matching grants from the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven will be applied to all donations.

The Great Give® 2015 is part of a national day of local giving celebrating the centennial anniversary of community foundations called Give Local America. We join more than 100 communities in this national day of giving to support local nonprofits. Give Local America is a network of hundreds of local giving events coordinated on a national scale.

We hope that friends of The Connection will give generously during this period. The unrestricted funds raised through the Great Give® will allow The Connection to meet special client and program needs that are not supported by traditional funding sources. Every dollar can make all the difference. We urge you to mark your calendars for The Great Give® 2015 and make your donations go even further.

Cornerstone Society Established

We are pleased to announce that The Connection Board of Directors recently approved the renaming of our Dwight House Group Home to Cornerstone. The program is being renamed to honor the Cornerstone legacy and to ensure that the Cornerstone name remains part of the history of mental health services in the New Haven community.

Cornerstone was conceived in 1967-1968 when Joel Finkle, a New Haven businessman, and Dr. Thomas Detre, a psychiatrist at the Yale School of Medicine, gathered together a small group of community leaders to discuss the need for an intensive aftercare service for mentally ill men and women who had been discharged from public and private psychiatric hospitals. These visionaries, all with ties to the mental health community, included Mary Arnstein, Reverend Edward Dobihal, William F. Farrell, Brad Gesler, Lindy Lee Gold, Ruth Lord, Phyllis McDowell, Robert Oliver, Esq., and Virginia Sperry. Cornerstone, Inc., was officially incorporated on July 17, 1968, and in August 1970, Cornerstone Halfway House opened its doors and began serving 15 adult men and women.

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The Connection Congratulates Joey Logano, Daytona 500 Winner!

Middletown, CT native Joey Logano was the second-youngest driver to ever win the Great American Race. Joey is much more than a great NASCAR driver. Through his Foundation, he’s a passionate supporter of those who need a restart in life. With gratitude, The Connection named its new transitional housing program for homeless adults, Logano Place, in honor of Joey and his commitment to second chances for folks from his hometown state.

Meet Joey in person! Please SAVE THE DATE for Joey Logano’s Racing for Hope Golf Tournament, Dinner & Auction, featuring NBC Sports’ Mike Massaro, on Thursday evening, July 16, 2015. More details will be announced soon.

Joey Logano Gives Back To His Hometown Community Through The Connection

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano, a Middletown, CT native, returned home to kick off the Inaugural Joey Logano Hometown Showdown at On Track Karting in Wallingford on Thursday, September 18, 2014. The night provided an opportunity for fans to test their racing skills against Joey in a fun competition along with other racers while raising money for The Connection. Hundreds of individuals gathered at On Track Karting to get the opportunity to meet Logano, take pictures and ask for autographs.

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Joey Logano Foundation Presents: Hometown Showdown! Inaugural Karting Event to Benefit The Connection

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano will be heading back to his home state of Connecticut to race for a cause at his foundation’s inaugural Hometown Showdown Driven by This friendly go-karting competition is set for Thursday, September 18th from 4:00 – 9:00 p.m. at On Track Karting in Wallingford, CT. The night will provide an opportunity for fans to test their racing skills against Joey and other participants in fun competition, all while raising money for The Connection. Continue reading

The Connection’s Prevention Program Sponsors 4th Annual LEAD Conference

Eighty people, including high-school aged youth and a cadre of adults from eight towns across Connecticut including Clinton, Durham/Middlefield, East Haven, Guilford, Madison, New Haven, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook, gathered at the Clinton Town Hall on June 27, 2014 for the fourth annual Leadership Encourages Asset Development (LEAD) Conference 2014. This year’s theme, “Finding and Using Your Voice,” featured activities that explored coalition building, youth perspectives on decision making, and how adult leaders can express value to youth in their communities. Continue reading

Partnership for Strong Communities Honors Helen Lavin

Helen Lavin, Director of Homeless Outreach and Development at The Connection has been selected as the 2014 recipient of The Partnership for Strong Communities’ Reverend Richard Schuster Advocacy Award. This award is given to an individual who shows a strong commitment to preventing and ending homelessness and working to raise awareness about the needs of individuals and families in danger of becoming homeless. Continue reading

Great Give® 2014

On Tuesday and Wednesday, May 6 and 7, friends of The Connection can help us raise much needed matching grant funding from the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and the Valley Community Foundation by making a donation of $25 or more through the Great Give® 2014 online giving challenge. Only donations made between May 6 at 8:00 a.m. and May 7, at 8:00 p.m., will be eligible for the matching grant funding. Continue reading

State Senator Paul Doyle Visits Connection House, Middletown

When Connecticut State Senator Paul Doyle, who represents the City of Middletown learned that Connection House received $14,000 in funding from the State’s Nonprofit Grant program, he arranged a visit to learn more about the program and agency. He liked what he learned and saw.

“The Connection is a leader in the Middletown community and throughout the state,” said Sen. Doyle. “Over the years this agency has seen tremendous growth, and with this new state funding I look forward to the continued success of The Connection.”

The funds will be used to install backup generators to ensure that the program is able to continue to function in the case of power outage. This short video was taken during Senator Doyle’s visit.

State of Connecticut Awards The Connection $880,250 in Funding

Governor Dannel Malloy’s office announced that The Connection will receive a total of $880,250 in funding from the state’s Nonprofit Grant Program. The Connection’s proposal was one of 81 nonprofit grant proposals funded. The funds will allow The Connection to make energy efficient and other structural renovations at our 48 Howe Street property in New Haven as well as to purchase new stand-by generators for Connection House in Middletown and Pendleton House in New Haven.

Peter Nucci, President and CEO of The Connection states, “The Connection applauds the administration for making this unique grant opportunity available to address program infrastructure needs. This award will provide emergency preparedness support and save our agency and Connecticut tax payers valuable dollars.”

Academy Award Winning Actress Patty Duke is Keynote Speaker at 6th Annual Connecting with Hope Gala

Show business legend Patty Duke, who at age 16 was the youngest person to win an Academy Award for her performance as Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker, will be the keynote speaker at The Connection’s Sixth Annual Connecting with Hope Gala, to be held at the Laurel View Country Club in Hamden on Friday, June 6. Ms. Duke, who suffers from bipolar disorder, has written two New York Times bestselling memoirs: Call Me Anna and A Brilliant Madness, which chronicle her struggles with the illness. For additional information, please click here, or contact Beth Connor at

19th Annual Greater New Haven Pizza Fest

Nearly 500 pizzas from Greater New Haven’s finest and most generous pizzerias will support programs and services of The Connection. This year’s Pizza Fest will be held on Thursdays and Fridays, June 19–20 and June 26–27, from noon to 1:30 p.m. on the New Haven Green during the International Festival of Arts & Ideas free lunchtime concerts. On those four days, music and pizza lovers will have an opportunity to sample some of Greater New Haven’s finest pizzas donated by generous, community-spirited pizza restaurant owners. For more information, contact Claire Bien at

$372,000 Bond Funding for Energy Efficiency Improvements

The Connection has received $372,000 in bond funding from the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS). These funds will be used to purchase a 20 KW cogeneration (cogen) plant for the 48 Howe Street property in New Haven. The 90,000 square foot New Haven landmark, built in 1929 by the YWCA of New Haven, houses a number of Connection programs, including Roger Sherman House, SIERRA Pre-Trial, SIERRA Center, Recovery House, The Connection Lodge, The Connection’s Intervention and Prevention Programs, The Connection Counseling Center, and Elm City Women and Children’s Center.

“The cogen plant will give us the ability to make electricity for the entire building,” says Facilities Director Lou Rogowski. “We will be doing what the utility company does—taking natural gas and converting it to a power source that produces electricity.”

The project includes installation of a 200 KW stand-by generator that will provide electricity needs for the entire facility in the event of grid failure. Should such a disaster occur, it will be possible to relocate clients from other Connection programs to the Howe Street property. The cogen system will also provide enough hot water to serve bathing and laundry needs for the entire building. Water is used to cool the cogen engine and the resulting hot water byproduct will meet all of the building’s hot water needs at no cost. Annual energy savings are projected to be 15 to 20 percent per year.

“We are grateful to DMHAS for awarding these bond funds to The Connection,” said President and CEO Peter Nucci. “This project takes us one step closer to our goal of obtaining LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification for this landmark building.”

Homeless Man’s Family Honors Memory, Donates

On Thursday, December 19, Portland resident Libby Carrier and her sons, Devin, 15, and Liam, 12, went to the Eddy Shelter with Holiday/winter gift bags for every man and woman in residence at the shelter. Each bag contained toiletries and other items including gloves, chemical toe and hand warmers, hats, a bus pass, and a $5 Dunkin’ Donuts gift card that will help them get comfortably through the winter. They also donated blankets and winter coats and jackets. Each bag also contained two stamped postcards so that guests can write to family members to let them know they are safe and sheltered.


The gift bag donations were inspired by the death of Libby’s 39-year-old brother, Conrad Cook, who drowned last August in the Charles River near Waltham, Massachusetts. Conrad Cook was homeless.

“Conrad was absolutely brilliant,” Libby says. “He got a full scholarship to Central Connecticut State University and graduated with highest honors with a degree in philosophy.” But Conrad didn’t know what he wanted to do after he graduated from college and never really found himself. He had his first break from reality when he was 34 years old, shortly after having gone to Cambodia to teach English as a second language.

In August 2012, Conrad was living in a homeless shelter in Waltham, Massachusetts, where Libby had visited him on occasion. Although the precise circumstances of his death are unclear, Libby believes firmly that the death was an accident. When Libby learned that her brother had died, she and her family discussed how to honor his memory—and to raise awareness of the fact and causes of homelessness. The family decided they would donate baskets of essentials for homeless people to help them get through the winter comfortably.

Though the family expected to collect $600 and match the donations dollar for dollar, they were surprised to have collected more than $2400 in monetary donations from extended family and friends. Many people also donated winter jackets, blankets, and other items that will help keep Shelter guests warm this winter. “Conrad’s story really touched a lot of people. It means so much to us to do this—I love the thought that someone would have done this for Conrad.” The Eddy Shelter was chosen because it is the “Mom and Pop” shelter in Middletown. “Most of the agencies that serve homeless people are affiliated with huge, national organizations,” Libby says. “We wanted to donate to something more local.”

“Narrative in the Age of Distraction” Conference

The Connection Institute for Innovative Practice, the research component of The Connection, a statewide human services agency and Wesleyan University co-sponsored an inspirational conference on November 7th and 8th entitled “Narrative in the Age of Distraction.” The conference attracted health care professionals, writers, academics, and students from across the country.

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4th Annual Wicked Good 5K Benefits Local Kids, Adults

More than 400 runners attended The Connection’s fourth annual Wicked Good 5K Road Race and Family Festival on Sunday, October 27, 2013 at Lighthouse Point Park in New Haven. The morning’s activities included the 5K, a Kid’s Fun Run, a costume contest, a myriad of family activities, hot dogs, and more. The winning time of 16:24 was posted by David Demres of New Haven. Continue reading

A Dream Come True: The Kätchen Coley Society

Two women had a dream more than 40 years ago.

But that dream was rooted in reality: they saw the desperation of young men with addictions being released from Connecticut Valley Hospital (CVH) who were failing to reenter society. Not because these men didn’t want to, but because there were no basic supportive services when they needed them most. Continue reading

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