Gala Raises $300,000 to Help People with Disabilities and Other Life Challenges

Bridgewell, a Lynnfield based nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and helping individuals with intellectual, developmental and psychiatric disabilities as well as other life challenges, recently honored Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders and Peabody Councilor Tom Gould at its 2016 Imagine the Possibilities gala held Nov. 4, 2016.

More than 335 people attended this year’s gala, helping to raise just over $300,000 for Bridgewell and its mission. To date, the gala has raised just over $2 million in generous donations since the first one was held in 2008.

“We greatly appreciate the work that Councilor Gould and Secretary Sudders have done for our communities, and we were so pleased to honor them at this year’s gala,” said Bob Stearns, Bridgewell President & CEO. “Thanks to the generous donor support we received through this year’s gala, Bridgewell is able to continue to meet the needs of adults with intellectual, developmental and behavioral health disabilities, substance use disorders and other life challenges.”

Secretary Marylou Sudders received the Excellence in Service award. Sudders is one of the highest ranking social workers in government. She has championed significant legislative reforms in behavioral health, drug addiction, insurance parity and fundamental patient rights and children’s health. She has been a strong advocate for helping those suffering from substance use disorders, championing a change in Massachusetts law this year to ensure women would no longer be sent to state prison for addiction treatment. Bridgewell’s Project COPE has directly served women referred through this new state treatment program.

“Bridgewell and Project COPE offer an opportunity for individuals to find a path to treatment and recovery,” said Secretary Sudders. “Having witnessed the important work the organization does with women recovering from substance use disorders and on behalf of those with developmental disabilities and behavioral health challenges, I am proud to have received the Excellence in Service award.”

Tom Gould, a Peabody City Councilor and owner of Treadwell’s Ice Cream, received the Visionary Leadership award. He has consistently demonstrated a commitment to the community through his philanthropic public service and his work with children and adults with disabilities including running the Peabody Challenger League, which supports athletes ages 5-18 that have physical, developmental and intellectual disabilities which may prevent them from participating in a mainstream sports program. In addition, he is serving on Peabody’s newly established Commission for Disability, which will address community accessibility issues.

“I’m honored to have received this award from Bridgewell, an organization whose mission is so important to me and the people in our community,” said Gould. “Bridgewell and I share a commitment to helping so many individuals reach their full potential in life. I have seen firsthand how this organization impacts people’s lives in deep and lasting ways.”

Top sponsors of the Imagine the Possibilities gala include AA Maintenance Solutions; Caruso & McGovern Construction, Inc.; Citizens Bank; Nordlund Associates and VoDaVi Technologies LLC.

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