News, Events & Press

April 2021 Staff Spotlight

April 2021 Staff Spotlight



Terrica Drummond, Jail Diversion

Terrica recently requested that customers of her Jawned Collection clothing store donate gently used items to participate in her stores' Give Back Gala. Thanks to her generosity, we had a variety of items for staff to distribute to clients! Thank you Terrica for your generosity and for thinking of CMHA!


Diego Peralta, Adult Outpatient Program

CMHA makes a difference to those we serve because our people are compassionate, dedicated, and connected to the community. Diego, a first-generation graduate of CCSU and multi-year recipient of the Robert T. Kenney Scholarship, is being featured by the American Savings Foundation as they celebrate their 25th Anniversary this year! Congrats Diego!


Benefits & Wellness Committee

Between Zoom meetings and the day-to-day hustle and bustle, it can be difficult to step back and check in with yourself or your colleagues. That's why the Walking Groups initiated by the Benefits & Wellness Committee are so nice: take a walk, have a chat, and enjoy a break! A big thanks to everyone coordinating these ongoing walking groups (any day you can, all sites), and we look forward to joining you!

The Valuing Diversity Committee

On what would have been Dr. Martin Luther King's 92nd Birthday, CMHA's Valuing Diversity Committee hosted its first-ever Diversity Discussion, welcoming staff from across the agency to participate and share "What MLK Day Means to Me."

With a variety of participants, from one who recalls the first time they saw the Civil Rights Leader on television as a child to another who speaks of seeing MLK's global impact first hand, this discussion brought together multiple perspectives all while underscoring Dr. King's lasting impact across generations.

CMHA looks forward to sharing more of these conversations with you and seeing how together we can continuously strive to make this a better world for all. Watch the full discussion here on YouTube.

Later in February, CMHA's Valuing Diversity Committee shared the following message with our staff, clients, and supporters at the start of the month: "As an organization, we are proud to continue the celebration and recognition of Black History in our country. We often say that our culture is a differentiating factor that contributes to our success and makes CMHA unique. One key piece of our culture is our commitment to creating an inclusive environment..."

In honor of Black History Month, the Diversity Committee invited employees to share their personal stories to help others understand what this month represents, as well as the vital importance of inclusivity. The results were a staff-led educational and creative display on both social media and in the windows of our 233 Main Street, New Britain headquarters.
Additionally, The Waterbury Spirit Committee from our 255 Bank Street offices hosted a "Coffee & Vibe" zoom event for staff across the agency to share and discuss poetry, literature, and other forms of creative expression by African Americans and Black artists. From Langston Hughes' Let America Be America Again to an interview of Angela Davis discussing Civil Rights, the discussion covered many topics related to Race, Identity, Intersectionality, and the need to self-educate.
Overall, the takeaways from these events and initiatives were the same: Black History is American History, and it needs to be celebrated beyond the 28 days of February.

CMHA in the Community: Celebrating the Season

Carols for our Community was planned as a way to help bring some holiday cheer and joy to our community, and it just may be a new tradition!

CMHA was pleased to sponsor the three-part, free-to-all event series, and even hosted the first virtual show at our 233 Main Street headquarters against a backdrop of holiday decorations and Christmas lights.

Hundreds of people tuned into the live performance, expressing their appreciation at having something to look forward to and enjoy at home with their families. This video is still on CMHA's Facebook and is sure to bring a smile to your face if needed!

The second performance took place at The New Britain Downtown District at 66 W. Main Street on December 19th. That live Facebook performance can be found on their page: @NewBritainDowntownDistrict.

The final performance of Carols for our Community was held in conjunction with The Longest Night Vigil in Central Park on December 21st in memory of those lost to homelessness this past year. A moving, solo rendition of Silent Night was sung for the small group holding the vigil and brought to people live through the Friendship Service Center's Facebook page.
CMHA is glad to have helped make this event a success, and we hope to do more, similar events which will help uplift and brighten our community.

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CMHA's Annual Meeting: A Year Like No Other

Despite facing never-before-seen challenges, this years' Annual Meeting at CMHA was a literal - and virtual - success.

While most people joined CMHA from their home or office screens, we did have a few guests and employees in various, socially-distanced 'watch party' rooms throughout 233 Main Street in New Britain.

Several friends and community partners sent in 'shout outs' to be played during the meeting to express their appreciation and admiration for CMHA's staff, including: State Senator Gennaro Bizzarro, New Britain PRIDE Chair John Board, Friendship Service Center Board President Sharon Chamberlain, and American Savings Foundation President & CEO Maria A. Falvo.

After hearing from our friends and supporters, everyone watching the Annual Meeting was treated to a wonderful video highlighting the great achievements of the agency over the past year as told by CMHA staff and supporters. Produced with Ehardt Media, the video encapsulates what makes our agency special - the people who prove themselves to be More Than Heroes every day.

Another highlight of the evening was the announcement of the 2020 Chairman's Award. Board Chair Todd DeGroff announced, "The list of those who’ve gone above and beyond goes on and on. We are so very proud of all of you, and of what you have accomplished together. And that’s why the 2020 Chairman’s Award goes to ALL OF YOU."

Every CMHA employee is more than deserving of this award, as they've proven themselves to be More Than Heroes time and time again. CMHA is thrilled to be able to show our appreciation with a $50 gift card to every CMHA employee in recognition of all they've accomplished..

Overall, this was nothing if not an unpredictable year, to say the least. Like every organization, we were confronted with the most extraordinary challenges in taking on this pandemic. Unlike any other organization though, CMHA rose to the challenge and achieved spectacular results. To learn more about how we did it, for the reasons are too many to put here, please read this years' Annual Report


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A Time for Family, Friends, and CMHA

Whether it was across the table from your close family or across the country via FaceTime, we hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving!
Before they celebrated, CMHA's staff were hard at work bringing some cheer, food, and warmth to our clients in need. Thanks to donations made by Smirna Misionera, our Family-Based Recovery (FBR) team in Waterbury was able to deliver turkeys and much-needed food supplies to the families we serve.
Below, the team poses in front of their Gratitude Tree - where staff or clients can 'leaf' a note about what they're thankful for in their lives.
In New Britain, CMHA's COPE and Housing teams, thanks to a generous donation from a staff member, were able to purchase nearly a dozen turkeys, assorted sides, and even pies for their families in need!
Many CMHA program staff stepped up to the plate by individually securing donations from local groups, family, friends, and businesses. The Assertive Community Treatment Team (ACTT) program expanded its tradition this year and helped provide meals to all of CMHA's intensive programs, with many staff volunteering to make side dishes.
Additionally, thanks to a collaboration with Nicole Rodriguez of KIEDC (Kingdom International Economic Development Corporation), CMHA's staff were able to collect and distribute over 100 meal boxes for our families in need the day before Thanksgiving.
Thank you to all staff who made the time to volunteer for the meal distribution or collect on behalf of the people you serve - CMHA makes a difference in our communities because of you!



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