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Parent Connection Receives $10,000 AT&T Grant



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Newtown Parent Connection (NPC) has received an educational grant of $10,000 from AT&T.

The announcement of the grant was made on October 16 by NPC Founder Dorrie Carolan; Harry Carey, director of external affairs, AT&T; Newtown First Selectman Daniel Rosenthal, and State Senator Tony Hwang. The four sat down at NPC’s headquarters to discuss the grant early that Tuesday afternoon, having just returned from Fairfield, where they visited a second location that will be utilized by NPC.

The grant, Mr Carey explained, is a way for the large corporation to feel a vested interested in the communities it serves and where its employees also reside.

“We want to be in touch with our customers,” Mr Carey explained. “We live here, too, and we’re looking for organizations that make an impact. It’s very easy to talk about certain problems that affect people, but to really be close to the people who are suffering and need help is really at the heart of what this grant is.

“You’ve done great work,” he continued, addressing Ms Carolan. “The extension into Fairfield just kind of highlights the extent of the problem through all our communities, and we want to be part of that solution.”

The AT&T grant, Ms Carolan said in October, will be split. Half of that funding will be used to support NPC’s Hope & Support group, in Fairfield, for the next 12 months.

“I’m hoping to really make connections with people and get to meet the therapists in the area, get to the guidance counselors in the schools, so that they know we’re there and they can make referrals to the agency,” she said.

Lower Fairfield County advancement will also include a collaboration with Fairfield Cares and Bridgeport Hospital, Ms Carolan mentioned. The outcome for the latter partnership, said Ms Carolan, would be to have paperwork filed for each doctor in the hospital on what the procedure is for prescribing opiates.

“That’s what was done in Danbury and Norwalk hospitals,” she said. Doctors are now keeping track of when opiates are prescribed, for what injuries or reasons, what assessment was done before a prescription was given, and even the dosage and number of pills prescribed to a patient, she explained.

The second half of the AT&T grant will also fund the launch of a program in the Newtown school district called Kids in Crisis Teen Talk, she said. The goal of this program, according to information shared by Ms Carolan, is to provide critical mental health support and resources to help adolescents navigate difficult circumstances, avoid reaching crisis points, manage crises during and beyond school hours, achieve academic success, and optimize their chances of achieving safe, productive adult lives. The primary objective is that all students receive needed support services when required and when they can best use them.

Sen Hwang was “ecstatic,” he said via press release, “that AT&T has decided to give this generous grant to such a worthy local charity.

“Dorrie Carolan and the Newtown Parent Connection are really on the front lines fighting the opiate epidemic in our state. I can’t think of a better recipient for these valuable funds. All the money will go to efficient use right here in the community,” the senator’s statement continued.

The afternoon of the announcement, the Senator said he felt it was key to recognize the work done by Newtown Parent Connection in the community.

“We were just in Fairfield, because the branching out of the important work that Dorrie has begun, down in Fairfield, is reflected by the incredible need that’s occurring in our broader community on the opioid abuse epidemic,” he said.

“Newtown Parent Connection has been an incredible one-to-one resources of support services, counseling, and group programs, and now branching off into education in our schools and our hospitals,” he added. “It’s been a remarkable partner in the community in addressing the opiate issues. As much as we try to work in Hartford to create laws and regulations to address this epidemic, it pales in comparison to the work that is occurring at the grassroots level.”

With so many families facing addiction issues, Mr Rosenthal said, it is important that organizations such as NPC continue to be available and utilized.

“I think we thought we left the heroin problem in the rear-view. It was a problem of the ‘70s,” he said. “But because of opioids, it’s back, and it’s worse than it ever was.

“I think the mission of Parent Connection is very much hand-to-hand combat,” he continued. “You’re trying to help families in need, but at the same time, that educational component is so important. We can’t just sit in retreat and say we’ve got good kids and ignore these issues. You really have to make sure we keep them front and center and encourage parents and families to be vigilant.”

The efforts of Ms Carolan, who founded NPC in the wake of losing her son to an overdose, inspires Mr Rosenthal.

“The efforts that Dorrie’s doing, and that personal connection that she’s making with people, is so important for people that are struggling,” he added. “But I think that education component is even more important.”

Newtown Parent Connection is at 2 Washington Square, within the Fairfield Hills campus. Since 1993, the foundation has followed a mission of offering help and guidance to those struggling with issues of substance abuse, along with their families. For additional information, including support group and special program details, call 203-270-1600 or visit newtownparentconnection.org.

Gathered in a meeting room at Newtown Parent Connection (NPC) to celebrate the announcement of a $10,000 education grant from AT&T to NPC on October 16 were, from left, State Senator Tony Hwang; NPC Founder Dorrie Carolan; Harry Carey, director of external affairs for AT&T; and First Selectman Daniel Rosenthal.  (Bee Photo, Hicks)

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