Support Agencies Converge For ‘Need Help’ Event
A number of the agencies and individuals who answer the call when someone in Newtown needs help were introduced and celebrated Friday, October 25, as the Newtown Chamber of Commerce concluded a months-long community outreach initiative tied to the publication of the organization’s first Need Help brochure. The event was hosted by NYA Sports & Fitness, which is also one of the many brochure sponsors.
The chamber project, which launched earlier this year, was aimed at providing a concise and easy-to-manage resource where Newtown residents could go to find contact information for response and human service agencies. Among the agencies listed in the glossy brochure are:
*Newtown Parent Connection (alcohol & drug abuse);
*Kevin’s Community Center (medical clinic);
*Newtown Department of Human Services (Center for Support & Wellness, Newtown Social Services, and Newtown Senior Services);
*Newtown Youth and Family Services (mental health);
*Resiliency Center of Newtown (mental health for those impacted by 12/14) and;
*Women’s Center of Greater Danbury (domestic violence).
Representatives from all those agencies were introduced at the event by Chamber President Scott Anders. The event also welcomed about a dozen of the local businesses and organizations that partnered in supporting both the brochure and the event, and Mr Anders passed a microphone so representatives could also introduce themselves.
In his opening remarks, First Selectman Dan Rosenthal looked around at all the service agency representatives present and remarked how fortunate Newtown is to have “such a deep bench of resources,” to assist residents and families in times of need or crisis.
“This is an important resource to put in front of people,” he said of the Need Help brochure. “I have no evidence on how many towns in Connecticut have done something like this, but I have to believe Newtown is just one of a few.”
The first selectman also remarked how rare it was for such a resource to be generated by the local business community versus coming directly from the municipality or one of its agencies.
Town Human Services Director Natalie Jackson commented that being exposed to the Chamber’s efforts to create the brochure was among the first things she was exposed to when she arrived to fill her newly created post.
“It was so inspiring to see all the [agencies] and the Chamber working together to help connect residents to these resources,” she added.
Kevin’s Community Center clinic Executive Director Michael Ronan said the brochure was another way to promote the free community medical clinic to residents who are uninsured or under-insured.
“We’ve been providing about half a million dollars in medical care annually over the past few years to residents who need it,” he said. Since the clinic started, he said it has tapped medical care expertise from more than 100 provider partners in order to best serve its patients and clients.
Tracey Dolan, of Danbury Hospital’s Crisis Intervention and Mobile Outreach office, reminded attendees that her agency receives a lot of referrals to assist Newtown families through the United Way’s 211 Infoline service, and that the mobile outreach program is available to intervene and support those in crisis daily between 8 am and 10 pm.
Linda Cummins from The Women’s Center, which serves Newtown as its regional domestic violence response agency, said she was happy her organization was able to also provide resources to area schools and has expanded services to include workshops promoting other initiatives, like financial literacy.
Representatives from Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous also attended the Need Help event, and one of the NA spokespeople named Gene reminded attendees that through his group’s good work, “recovery is possible.” Alfredo, from AA, echoed that sentiment, saying that in the greater Newtown/Danbury area alone, his organization hosts more than 200 different meeting opportunities.
Copies of the Need Help brochure are available at The Newtown Bee office, 5 Church Hill Road, while supplies last.