All systems are go for one of the most anticipated events of the year: the 50 Plus 1 Lynn Community Health Center Gala.
Clare Hayes, LCHC director of development, said the gala will be held on Friday, April 29 at the Peabody Essex Museum.
The event holds tremendous significance for Mrs. Hayes, whose husband, the late Dr. Stephen D. Hayes, co-founded the Center with William Mantzoukas in 1971. Dr. Hayes, a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst, worked at LCHC for 40 years before his passing in 2011.
“My husband did a really good thing here, so I decided I would pitch in,” said Clare Hayes, who has been director of development for five years.
Hayes said the gala was originally scheduled for 2021, but it was postponed due to COVID-19. “So, we decided we would do a 50 Plus 1,” said Hayes. “The event will be live in person, buy we will also live-stream it from home.”
Hayes said “it’s an honor” to be organizing the event. Her husband’s name, Dr. Stephen Hayes, is on one of the LCHC buildings on Union Street. The other building is the William Mantzoukas Building.
“Bill Mantzoukas was the Center’s first employee as the director and my husband was his first hire to be the director of mental health,” said Hayes.
There will be a lot to celebrate at the gala.
“In the first year of the Center, there were five employees and four desks,” said Hayes. “The Center was a storefront on Chestnut Street and there was a bowling alley in the cellar.”
Four years later, the Center moved to Goldfish Pond into what was called “The Little Red House.”
“And then they brought in primary care services,” said Mrs. Hayes. “My husband never believed that the head was separated from the body. You had to take care of the whole person. So, we started with primary care, then pediatrics, OBGYN – and the rest is history.”
Today, the Lynn Community Health Center is a national model that has grown and developed to meet the needs of the community. There are 600 employees and an $80 million budget.
“Dr. Kiame Mahaniah is the current LCHC chief executive officer.
“The big thing is we take care of 43,000 patients,” said Hayes. “Forty percent of the people who live in Lynn are our patients.”
Hayes said former executive directors Lori Abrams Berry and Beth Babcock will be recognized at the gala. Mayor Jared Nicholson heads a slate of dignitaries that are expected to attend the event.
The chair of the 50 Plus 1 Committee is Magnolia Contreras, director of community benefits at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute who previously worked at LCHC.
“We’re excited about the gala,” said Hayes. “It’s going to be a good evening, a fun evening.”
The mission of meeting the health needs of Lynn continues each day at LCHC, according to Hayes. “What the pandemic the last two years showed was what a necessary part of community health care this health center serves,” she said.