For three generations, Dimock made the difference!
Lisa Freeman has been coming to The Dimock Center for the better part of her 52 years. As children living in the Wellington Hill area of Roxbury, she, her three sisters and her brother came to Dimock for their pediatric care. For Lisa, that tradition carried on. through most of five of her pregnancies, Dimock’s OB/GYN and Pediatric teams were the people she could count on to keep both she and her children healthy and strong.
As the children – a brood that now includes her five children and her stepson – grew, each of them enjoyed life with Dimock under the special care of their pediatrician, Dr. Nandini Sengupta, medical Director of Health Services.
Lisa and her kids took advantage of all services in the health center, from the dental clinic – which Lisa recalls as the only place her son, scared of dentists, would come with excitement – to the eye care clinic to the on-campus pharmacy. “All my kids and now my granddaughter, little Adrianna, have known Dr. Sengupta, or Dr. S., as they affectionately call her.”
“The staff, especially Nurse Sheila [Gibbons, in pediatrics], talk to us as if this is not a job. They like being there; Dimock feels like a community, like a family. My kids and I have always sensed that. And now whenever my daughter has a concern about my granddaughter, she calls them anytime and someone always gets back to her in five minutes.”
“You can’t find that kind of care anywhere else.”
Though Lisa now lives in Hyde Park and her daughter and granddaughter live in West Roxbury, they still come to Dimock for the care and services we offer.
“I’ve been going to Dimock’s campus as long as I can remember. You know, I was always there with my kids. I received WIC support for a time; today my dentist is there, my eye exams are there…I will even wait for my prescriptions at the pharmacy rather than getting them closer to my house because I like the people.”
Her life today is, as she puts it, “Crazy!” With a mix of older children and young, an aging father and now beautiful granddaughter, Lisa never stops moving. But somehow, when supper is on the table every night, all the kids seem to find their way back home. “It’s a family, you know?
That’s the great thing about Dimock, and why I will always support them. They’re like family.”
Dimock Center Serves Five Generations of the Golay Family
Rowena Golay started visiting The Dimock Center in 1987. At the time, she was a single mother addicted to drugs. She credits Dimock staff member named Lorraine with helping to change her life. Lorraine supported Rowena throughout her pregnancies, helped her apply for the WIC food assistance program, and was a big part of her recovery once she became sober. Over the years, Rowena has utilized a variety of Dimock’s services including Adult Medicine, Eye Care, Behavioral Health, and the Adult Education’s high school equivalency exam preparation program.
“I learned quickly that the door at Dimock is always open,” shared Rowena. “They’ve always been there for me without any judgment.”
Not only has Dimock helped Rowena, we have also supported family. She brought her children to Dimock’s Pediatric Clinic and enrolled her three youngest in Dimock’s Early Childhood Education program (now called Dimock Foundations for Learning). When Rowena’s daughter Shanice became pregnant as a teenager, she turned to Dimock. Shanice scheduled appointments with the Obstetrics and Gynecology department and utilized the housing assistance program. After giving birth, Dimock’s Pediatrics team saw Shanice and her daughter for appointments at the same time, providing convenient and integrated care for the multi-generational family. Shanice continues to bring her daughter to the Pediatric Clinic today.
Dimock was there for Rowena’s son Henry when he was diagnosed with Lupus and underwent a kidney transplant. When Henry moved from the Boston area to Cape Cod, Dimock made his health care transition seamless, giving him a referral and transferring his records to a facility near his new home so he could continue to receive dialysis three times a week.
“The team at Dimock follows up to remind us of appointments and check in on how we’re doing,” explained Rowena. “Life can be hard enough sometimes; Dimock makes it easier.”
Rowena has now been sober for 21 years. She has 10 children, 28 grandchildren and five great grandchildren, who all keep her very busy. Including Rowena, her mother, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Dimock has served five generations of the Golay family.
“The environment at Dimock feels like home,” said Rowena. “You never feel like just another patient. They treat my family like their own family.”
Tara’s Story: Celebrating the First Year of Sobriety at My Sister’s House
When Tara arrived at The Dimock Center’s My Sister’s House residential recovery program one year ago, she didn’t know what to expect. All she knew was that she needed a safe place to be and that she didn’t want to continue living on the dangerous path of constantly getting high.
Tara grew up in Roxbury. When she was 17, she moved into South Boston’s Mary Ellen McCormack housing development. A shy, introverted teen, Tara only felt comfortable interacting with people when she drank alcohol. By the age of 22, Tara was drinking heavily and eventually started using cocaine. At 25, Tara was addicted to crack.
During her time using, Tara lost contact with her two eldest daughters for one year; they returned home in 2014. Tara’s third daughter (now 13) is being raised by the girl’s father in New York. Tara and her twin boys lived with the boys’ father until she went into recovery in 2016, and the boys remain with their dad today. She plans to pursue custody of her sons once she meets additional job training and education goals.
“I knew the very first time I tried cocaine, that I wanted more,” said Tara as she reflected upon her life. She had lost her home and her self-respect, and was so miserable and hopeless that she attempted suicide twice. At that point, she begged to get help. After living most of her adult life in denial of being a substance user, Tara knew she needed help in a big way if she was to beat the habit and stay alive.
“After going in and out of drug treatment facilities, I was given applications to several long-term programs throughout the region. I applied to them,” continues Tara, “and it was October 2016 that I received a call from My Sister’s House at The Dimock Center. I made the decision to become a member of its family and to join their community of sobriety. This was the best decision of my life!”
One year later, as she celebrates her first year of sobriety, Tara feels many emotions, ranging from embarrassment and anger to pride and hope. She attributes her success to the support received from Dimock staff in the residential program and also in the Health Center.
There are many things Tara is now thankful for, most of all to have been given another chance at life. Moreover, Tara is hopeful about a future with her family.
In Her Own Words: Tara’s Experience at My Sister’s House
“At My Sister’s House, every woman is provided a strong support system that helps them through each step of their recovery. Through peer group meetings, I learned how to understand why I abused, and that I have an addictive behavior, and that addiction is a disease in the brain. I learned to understand the triggers and to not keep things in so they can build up. I learned that stress causes anxiety and that I must address concerns immediately in order to alleviate life stresses. I learned to set short and long-term goals. Before My Sister’s House, I had never written goals for myself. In fact, because I now keep and manage a schedule, I’m on time to my appointments and for showing up in life!
Dimock staff see things in the women that you don’t see in yourself, and they are very supportive and encouraged me to be the best I can be. By learning how to think and positively experience life to find things that I like, I am encouraged to do new things. I’m now decorating shoe boxes with colorful pages from magazines, newspapers and pieces of art. I’ve made boxes for nearly everyone in the house. I get really excited to see the happiness these boxes bring to people who receive them – and I feel positive about myself.
I love the fact that I have a comprehensive plan that includes psychiatric counseling, crisis stabilization, a primary care physician, and an eye doctor – all at The Dimock Center. These services are preparing me to move forward with my life.
I was the President of My Sister’s House resident council. I am a peer leader, providing guidance to the younger women who are new to the program. I use my life experiences as examples for what they should and should not do. It is very inspiring.
As I mark my one-year anniversary of sobriety, I am proud, frightened and excited at the same time. there are so many options ahead for me. Who knows – I might launch an online business with my sister to sell designer boxes. One year ago, I didn’t have a home or a bed to call my own. Today my life is full of hope. I look forward to staying on this path; spending time with my children and family; and continuing my sobriety meetings and visits with the other alumni of My Sister’s House. Most importantly, I will be staying close to Dimock, because this is where my life really began!”
Building Brighter Futures: Belinda and Robeka
“Robeka is my second chance. She is the rest of my life. Everything I do is for her.”
Belinda and her young daughter Robeka came to the Mary Eliza Mahoney House Family Shelter a little over a year ago after Belinda had suffered a number of serious health issues. They had previously lived with a family member but that was no longer a safe environment for them.
Today, Belinda is focused on their future. Robeka is enrolled in preschool and with the help of a case manager, Belinda is working to rebuild her credit, an important first step in getting her own apartment. Beyond support for these basic needs, The Dimock Center is helping Belinda give her daughter the experiences she never had herself as a child, including their first visits to the zoo and the Museum of Science.
“Robeka is so smart,” says Belinda. “I want to be a good role model for her and help her know the opportunities she can have. I want to ensure my daughter doesn’t live the life I was living at 16 and 18 and 20 years old.”
Belinda continues, “At The Dimock Center, you’re not just getting a shelter. You are getting involved. You are joining the Dimock family. Everything is accessible to us here.”
Click here to help support The Dimock Center in continuing to offer services and opportunities to those in the community like Belinda and Robeka.
Forging a New Path – Helping Others Through Recovery
After being sober for two years, Roosevelt Aaron decided to pursue a career helping others with their substance use disorder recovery. He started as a Recovery Specialist and Intake Coordinator at Dimock Center, where he had received treatment himself, and last year transitioned into a newly created role as a Recovery Coach. In this role, Roosevelt assists clients in making lifestyle changes, while helping them set and achieve realistic goals.
The Dimock Center offers a continuum of care for patients with alcohol and opioid use disorders. After individuals have completed inpatient detox for up to 14 days, they are referred to a less intensive level of care for further treatment. This frequently means that clients move to one of Dimock’s on-campus residential treatment programs, where they typically spend between six months and a year. As a member of their continuing care team, Roosevelt is there to connect them to other resources at Dimock and in the community, including healthcare, outpatient counseling, housing, and education. Recovery coaches work with clients as they complete the on-campus residential treatment program, and often times continue to provide support while they transition to new residences.
For many clients, this is the first step in gaining a positive support network, developing new interests and creating healthy habits. Roosevelt meets or checks in with 6-8 clients every week, but his level of support varies depending on each client’s needs. No day is the same for Roosevelt. One day he may be working out with a client at the gym or meeting an individual in their home, while the next day he could be helping with legal documents or coordinating transportation so a client can get to and from a new job.
Recovery coaches are a newer role in the field of substance abuse treatment. “It’s a level of support that I wish I had as I was going through the recovery process,” Roosevelt said. “They provide resources that are an important piece of the puzzle, and should be offered at more facilities.”
Roosevelt often keeps in touch with clients even after they’ve moved on from Dimock. “It’s rewarding to be in a position to help people when they need it the most,” shared Roosevelt. “I’ve been in in their shoes before, so it’s a good feeling to help them through the process and see their progress.”
A Letter to Dimock From the McClendon Family
Before we entered the Dimock Early Intervention program, our family was overwhelmed with concern, without any answers, and unsure of the health of our child. After a year in the program, we can’t be more appreciative of your team and the tireless work you do each day.
WHAT BROUGHT US TO DIMOCK EARLY INTERVENTION
Our second born came into this world with a powerful force. From day one we knew he was someone who would forge his own path. The doctors thought he was making his milestones, but after a few weeks at home our guts were telling us something wasn’t quite right. It was little things, like being very fussy and crying for hours at night. Then, his head circumference was smaller than average. Next, he was underweight and refused to eat. Being around loud noises, having people visit our home or touch his hands would set him on a crying spell that I couldn’t stop. Finally, on his first birthday we needed to ask our family and friends to whisper happy birthday because singing it was making him scream.
At that point, we didn’t know what was happening to our child, but it was agonizing to see him in such distress. As his mother, I felt helpless. We talked to our pediatrician and she connected us with the Dimock Early Intervention program for an evaluation.
We were reluctant to do the evaluation because we were inviting five strangers into our home to judge our child and we were fearful of what they might see. As a parent you want to know what is wrong with your child, but at the same time you dread hearing a bad diagnosis. The day of the evaluation we were nervous. We were relieved to see how caring and patient each staff person was and how their questions were thoughtful and inquisitive without being imposing. Our son qualified for six months of weekly in-home visits, followed by weekly groups at Dimock.
Casara is our clinician. After just a few weeks of working with her, we noticed such a change in our son’s social skills. He had gone from crying when anyone outside our immediate family approached him to laughing with Casara, allowing her to touch his hand, and slowly moving off my lap with each visit until he was sitting in her lap. It was her calm demeanor, her soft but deliberate words, and her patience that gained his trust. She gave him a voice when he couldn’t yet speak by teaching him to sign his needs. Casara is so kind and her spirit brought out something I had never seen in my son before – empathy for someone besides mommy, daddy and brother.
When you have so many difficult days you cherish those moments when you see your child smile and filled with excitement. That’s what Casara brought to our son: happiness.
Not only did our son begin to trust Casara, we began to trust her, too, and she became a guiding light for us. No one else was there at night when he cried for hours inconsolably or when we went to a family function and had to stay in the bathroom for 60 minutes because he was overstimulated by the noises, people, and new environment. But every week, it was such a relief to know we could count on being able to confide in Casara and that she would understand. She not only listened, but she gave us the gift of understanding our child and what might have been happening within him.
We created a plan together, set goals and each week talked about how he was doing and what we can do to help him meet his goals. Having that foundation helped us see the positive changes in him, even if they were small differences from the week before. Casara explained how we could help him the next time he battled a challenge. Even if she didn’t have an answer, she would suggest other avenues of help, or ask if she could bring in another colleague. We relied on her kindness, care, and understanding to get through those rough days.
This is not just a job to Casara. Watching her with my son I can feel how she genuinely cares for his wellbeing. I will forever be grateful to her for giving us those rays of sunshine in the midst of the storm. She has a special gift and I don’t think we would have been able to survive his second year without her. She brought us comfort and stability in a challenging stage in his development.
WEEKLY PLAY GROUP
Our son’s social skills improved even further after starting the weekly play group. Having a place where he could see his clinician every week outside of our home showed him that the world outside was ok. He gained many social skills just by observing the behavior of other children in the group and relating to the other clinicians he met. The environment is very much like a daycare or preschool, which can help him move into that environment when the time comes.
Also, the rainbow dance therapy was such a great way to pull together all the teachings we had been practicing at home. In the first sessions of rainbow dance I had to move his body along through the movements. I have since watched him get to the point now where he is following Casara without my help. He’s singing the words to each song loudly, focusing on her movements and mirroring them with ease. And he’s able to transition from song to song without issue.
As a mom, I gained a support system with the other moms in the group. We cried, laughed, and vented in frustration, but we did it together. Up until this point, we felt alone in our parent struggles. Going to the weekly group made us realize that there were others like us…and we could survive our experiences.
DIMOCK EARLY INTERVENTION
Being a part of a comprehensive program has been invaluable to our family. And the coordination offered, event providing transportation to the groups, made participating easier. I would not have known how to navigate and coordinate all of the services that our son needs, and Dimock Early Intervention provides.
I don’t know where our family would be without this program. We still have challenging days, but they are becoming few and far between. And when they do occur, we have tools to help us make it through. Our son is making amazing strides in just one year of attending the program. We’ve seen growth in him that we weren’t sure would have ever been possible.
Now, we feel confident that with the right kind of continued help and care, our son has a bright future ahead of him. He will be able to better handle the world around him. We are only one family, but I feel like I can speak for many others who have come into contact with your team. We are beyond grateful that this program exists and for the care we all have received.