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Accomplishments in 2020   arrow

January 2020

Narcan now available through Wakefield Health Department  Thanks to our partnership with the Mystic Valley Public Health Coalition and District Attorney Marian Ryan, the Wakefield Board of Health has been approved to provide Narcan to those in need.  Our Public Health Nurse and Recovery Coach are both “Train the Trainers” and can train and provide individuals, family members, or businesses with a Narcan life-saving packet.

Visit with State Bureau of Substance Use Services (BSAS) Director Visited with the Communities representing the Mystic Valley Public Health Coalition.  Catherine highlighted Wakefield’s Recovery Coach Program (Intervention & Treatment) and our successful Youth Action Team (Primary Prevention)

Senior Night Kick-Off Meeting  Approximately 35 parents came out to learn about volunteer opportunities for Senior Night.

February 2020

Mighty Drum Services come to Wakefield  Thanks to our partnership with Eliot Community Human Services, the Wakefield Police Department will have available the assistance of “MightyDrum,” a non-profit organization that was founded by Joe and Joni Maffei after losing their son to an opioid overdose in 2015. Their “Rides to Recovery” program was created to provide transportation for medical treatment, rehabilitation, sober homes, and services so that those struggling in recovery may begin to reclaim their lives. This is another tremendous tool that is now available to us as we continue to fight this epidemic and work closely with individuals and families in need. For more information please see their website at

Professional Development for WPS Faculty WPS Faculty participated in a two-hour training on The Developmental Relationships Framework, an effort to increase the amount of youth in our District who can identify a “Trusted Adult”.

*March through July 2020

*The Coalition continued to meet monthly since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic by moving meetings online.  Meetings were well attended (12-16 participants).  The meetings consisted of updates from different sectors talking about how the work they are doing has changed the needs of populations they serve.  A few of those that have provided important updates:

  • Andrew Cedrone, Galvin Middle School Adjustment counselor has talked about the work being done with students who are struggling (either identified by parents, teachers, or were previously on Support Staff caseloads). He also talked about how the WPS is making sure every student is engaged with learning and faculty and how to reach out to those who are not.
  • Suzanne Burns, WMHS Adjustment Counselor (Coalition Leadership Team), is continuing to work with many of the young people who were referred to her through the Diversion Program. She is offering tele-counseling and support to them.  She reports that several are using this time to either reduce their use or stop use altogether.  (Assistant Principal Joe Mullaney & Jill Kramer offered important insight and challenges facing WMHS students).
  • Tracy Ascolillio, Eliot Recovery Coach. Tracy continued to serve people during this time.  She reports it is definitely been more challenging because she normally sees individuals in person.  However, despite the circumstances, she and the team at Wakefield Police Department and Eliot have been able to successfully find housing, detoxes, and other vital services for residents.  Riverside has been able to accommodate more folks. People are reaching out for those they love and live with.
  • Jennifer Waczkowski, Wakefield PD Police Station via Eliot, addressed how we were serving high-risk populations. Phone call follow-ups, barriers to even temporary placements/shelters, trends volume is ticking up (troubles at home).


Dear Mysty Wake-Up partnered with the Mystic Valley Regional Public Health Coalition to launch the Dear Mysty campaign via social media.  The campaign is aimed at parents and focused on mental health support and healthy modeling during quarantine.




Tobacco Prevention/Vaping: Coalition continued to work with Maureen Buzby on monitoring complaints and trends.  In collaboration with the Health Department, Wake-Up helped get the word out on the new Flavor Bans (including mint & menthol), using the DPH’s “Know Why” Campaign.

Teens, Tweens, & Quarantine: On May 11th at 7 pm, Wakefield Health Department/Wake Up sponsored this webinar for Wakefield Parents/Caregivers.  The webinar was hosted by John Mattleman and Andrew Cedrone served as a co-host to share local resources.  The webinar was well received and many participants asked the hosts for advice.  Over 80 registrants participated in the event live and 30 more viewed the recording.

WMHS Senior Night: Wake-Up continues to support this initiative that provides the source for 25% of our matching funds.  This year, the Senior Night Committee worked to support the school administration.  The committee was responsible for funding and acquiring the funds to hang the banners of seniors in downtown Wakefield.  In addition, we coordinated a program called “Honor a Senior” where residents who volunteered were assigned a senior and provided with a customized gift basket.  In August, the committee sponsored a live raffle where members of the graduating class won cash and gifts worth $5,000.

Wake-Up Annual meeting occurred Tuesday, June 16th.  During the online meeting, a video was played to demonstrate some of the coalition accomplishments for the year.

*New Wakefield Youth Council Established  This was a project that was a collaboration between Liz Parsons, Anne Fortier (School Committee), Julie Smith-Galvin (Town Council), and Eric Keefe (Youth Action Team).  After almost a year of work, the Town Council approved the Youth Council in early March.  Catherine was approved as the Advisor in early May.  There are 11 High School Members and 6 Middle School Members. The first Wakefield Youth Council meeting was held on May 27th, 2020.   This has a direct connection to two PROTECTIVE FACTORS that lead to lower youth substance use rates:  COMMUNITY VALUES YOUTH and YOUTH AS RESOURCES.

October-December 2020

Wakefield Parent University went virtual with fifteen interactive workshop sessions offered.  Workshops covered social-emotional topics i.e. “Typical or Troubled,” technology topics “Understanding Google Classroom”, and general topics “College Search & Applications during COVID-19”. Catherine & Suzanne Burns led a workshop entitled, “How building protective factors can reduce the likelihood of risky behaviors (and help ensure teens remain emotionally healthy and drug-free during this challenging time)”. Three keynotes concluded the series and were focused on Screen Time & Social Media Safety, Self-Compassion for Caregivers, and Supporting Diverse & Inclusive practices for our schools & children.  Over 225 parents & caregivers signed up to participate in this virtual series with Wake-Up as one of the lead sponsors. 

Rides for Recovery/Treatment: The Coalition learned that “A Mighty Drum” the service that Wakefield uses to transport individuals to detox beds & in-patient treatment, had to pause services due to fundraising shortfalls.  Cataldo generously responded and is funding Uber Health rides (coordinated through our Eliot Recovery Coach & Clinician) for the winter months.

Youth Action Team Updates

January 2020

 Youth Action Team Awarded Wakefield Cultural Council Grant The grant will fund 100 Warrior Faces, a visual arts project focused on Mental Health.  The Youth Action Team is going to create a canvas with 100 random faces of Wakefield Memorial High School students which will be put into the Galvin Middle School. It will also have the statistics about students struggling with mental health challenges at both the high school and middle school, along with the phrase “You are not Alone.”

March-June 2020

Galvin Youth Action Team was able to meet five times over the spring.  The youth continued to Publish the News Flush (which was emailed to every Galvin Student).   They also launched the TikTok Galvin video challenge about staying healthy over quarantine.  They received 20 submissions and voted on winners, top three earned gift cards that were purchased from Family Feud earnings. Winner Video: Winner

WMHS Youth Action Team Club has also been meeting and working on projects like the Bathroom Buzz.

COVID-19 Mask PSA Youth Action Team members worked with WCAT to produce a PSA to remind people to wear masks & practice social distancing: Youth Action Team COVID-19 PSA

100 Warrior Faces is a mental health campaign lead by Bailey and is funded by the Wakefield Cultural Council.  She worked throughout lockdown on getting pictures of 100 Wakefield High School students which is harder to do virtually than her original plan.

Good Kind of Quitting is an 84 Project mini-grant lead by Logan Cosgrove.  High School principal Mrs. McLeod sent the flyer to the entire student body to promote quitting resources.

Virtual Kick Butts Day Youth collaborated with Melrose teams to come up with a presentation for a zoom meeting with Rep. Kate & created videos for Sen. Lewis Senator Lewis Thank You video  and  Rep Wong Thank You Video

84 Mini-Grant Awarded We have decided to award Wakefield Youth Action Team with a $1,000 mini-grant to do the COVID-19 Response: Community Connectedness project

October-December 2020

Photovoice at Parks/Hangouts: Bailey completed the first round of park assessments. She bagged & tagged what wrappers are being found at popular hangout spots.

Mask Awareness Campaign: Posters and social media images were created and disseminated to remind HS, Galvin & elementary students why wearing a mask matters. 



Pizza Box & Bookmark Campaign: Youth Action Team leaders completed this project and wrote press releases for local papers.  In August they launched a pizza box campaign this past year. The youth recruited five local Pizza shops to participate.  Pizza shop staff placed one of two stickers (Insert photo) onto each box sold, 3,000 stickers were placed. Thank you to the businesses involved: Lisa’s Family Pizzeria, Greenwood House of Pizza, Slice Pizza & More, Pizza Express, and Alfredo’s of Wakefield. The youth worked with a designer to spread these same messages through the Wakefield public library with bookmarks, placed in every book order received (1,000)


Galvin Club:  HS leaders successfully launched the Galvin Youth Action Team Club.  The virtual clubs usually have 15~20 students in attendance.  They have been producing the monthly News Flush and ran a “Galvin Staff Shout out” campaign, where students submitted over 200 staff shoutouts for teachers that they wanted to recognize as a caring adult.

HS Club: Leaders hosted successful virtual Youth Action Team clubs at WMHS. Participants produced monthly Bathroom Buzz and worked on several projects including the WMHS Faculty/Staff Newsletter.

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