HCN News & Notes

State Rep. Brian Ashe Presents $50,000 Check to MHA

SPRINGFIELD — During the annual Mental Health Assoc. (MHA) Evening of Recognition on Oct. 10, state Rep. Brian Ashe presented MHA with a check symbolizing the $50,000 the legislator secured for a handicapped-accessible van for the agency to transport its clients with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The donation enables MHA to satisfy a match requirement for a Massachusetts Department of Transportation grant, through which MHA will receive funds for two additional vans.

“There are those who work in our Legislature, working at the state level, who recognize that what we do matters and work to include MHA in the state’s important public-services programs,” said Cheryl Fasano, president and CEO of MHA. “In the spring of last year, we invited state Rep. Brian Ashe to join us for a cup of coffee and conversation at one of MHA’s community- integration and living residences in Longmeadow. That’s in his district, but that isn’t the only reason we knew he’d come. In his role in the General Assembly, Brian has been a consummate champion for people with intellectual disabilities — just recently, filing legislation to allow individuals with developmental disabilities the opportunity to earn a paycheck, but, more importantly, to maintain a sense of accomplishment and self-worth, and to learn work skills to prepare them for their future. At our meeting over coffee, we expressed a need for improved transportation for our clients, and Rep. Ashe heard us loud and clear. As a result of Rep. Ashe’s efforts, MHA will not only secure one van, but three.”

Ashe added that “I am thrilled to be able to support MHA in its pioneering efforts to serve our fellow citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities through innovative and inclusive programming that enables them to live their best life in the community and take part in community life. It’s especially gratifying that this $50,000 donation leverages other state resources through a matching-grant program that will multiply funds for one handicapped accessible van into funds for three.”

MHA’s Evening of Recognition is an annual event that includes the presentation of the agency’s Core Value Awards. These awards are given each year to MHA employees who exemplify the organization’s core values of respect, integrity, and  compassion. Core Value Award winners for 2019 are Nigel Cooper, Karen Reigner, Marva Douglas, and Treslan Williams.