LOWELL, MA — Community Teamwork, Inc. (CTI), Greater Lowell Community Foundation and the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office are announcing a first-of-its kind partnership to provide transportation to individuals to and from Drug Court. Last year CTI received a $10,000 grant from the Greater Lowell Community Foundation to help start the pilot program, which kicked off in October, and is currently providing services to three women who are being picked up from a Lynn Sober House and transported to their court appearances. The goal is to accommodate up to 13 individuals each week.“This partnership with the office of District Attorney Marian T. Ryan, Community Teamwork and the Drug Court is the capstone of a multi-year commitment to fund programs for opioid prevention and treatment in our area and help ensure success for participants. In response to the opioid epidemic, the Community Foundation has awarded more than $160,000 in discretionary funds to support local nonprofits,” said Greater Lowell Community Foundation President and CEO Jay Linnehan.“By providing this transportation option we are filling a service gap that was prohibiting some individuals from easily accessing the courts, which is essential to successful completion of drug court,” said District Attorney Ryan. “We continue to work with the courts and our community partners to ensure the criminal justice system is not just punitive. To do this we need to think outside the box to come up with innovative solutions that will hopefully lead to a successful outcome and ultimately interrupt the often cyclical effects of substance use disorders.”The Drug Court is a special session within Massachusetts district courts where judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, probation officers, police and social-service workers team up to work with defendants on probation whose crimes were motivated by substance abuse. Many defendants are placed in treatment programs, which can be located far from their community and the Drug Court. These defendants often cannot truly participate in Drug Court because in the early stages their treatment program may not permit them to leave for unchaperoned travel for an extended period. In addition, various modes of transportation, such as public transportation and taxis can be cost prohibitive and often defendants can find themselves back in the neighborhoods and streets where drugs are being sold.Community Teamwork recognized that its Transportation Department, which brings children to and from school, had flexibility to use drivers and vehicles during the school day to respond to other community needs. With funding from the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, CTI is deploying drivers and vehicles to fill this need. GLCF provided a $10,000 grant to support the cost of a driver and van for Community Teamwork to facilitate this innovative approach to assist the Drug Court and its clients. Together, CTI, GLCF and the Drug Court probation officers developed a framework for what the program might look like as well as a strict Code of Conduct which the participants would have to follow in order to receive the benefit of this program.“Most often, these defendants are in need of other basic services which CTI can provide, such as housing, financial literacy, child care, etc. Through this pilot program, which can send employees from CTI to work with the probation officials and social workers, we are able to identify the various resources available to the defendants. We could not have taken this novel approach without the help of this grant from GLCF,” stated Meghan Siembor, Director of Child and Family Services.About Community TeamworkCommunity Teamwork is a catalyst for social change. Our driving mission is to help people help themselves with child care, family supports, nutrition, fuel assistance, housing, skills training, employment, financial education, and individual asset and small business development. As a Community Action Agency, a Regional Housing Agency, and a Community Development Corporation, Community Teamwork helps nearly 50,000 individuals from 63 cities and towns in northeastern Massachusetts gain greater economic independence.About the Greater Lowell Community FoundationThe Greater Lowell Community Foundation is a philanthropic organization comprised of over 350 funds, currently totaling over $35MM, which is dedicated to improving the quality of life in 20 neighboring cities and towns. The Community Foundation annually awards grants and scholarships to hundreds of worthy nonprofits and students, and is powered by the winning combination of donor-directed giving, personal attention from its staff, and an in-depth understanding of local needs. The generosity of our donors has enabled the Community Foundation to award more than $13 million to the Greater Lowell Community since 1999.(NOTE: The above press release is from the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedMiddlesex DA Marian Ryan Receives the Providers’ Council 2017 State Employee of the Year AwardIn “Government”Middlesex DA Marian Ryan Convenes Public Policy Forum to Address Opioid AbuseIn “Government”Middlesex DA Marian Ryan Launches “Mobile Public Policy Forum” To Combat Opioid AbuseIn “Government”
160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Rachel Jones, a senior at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, was sitting through a student-loan workshop that university officials had told her was mandatory when a creepy feeling kicked in. The woman in the front of the classroom asked students to fill out forms with personal information — including names, addresses and phone numbers of relatives, an employer and a friend. Jones recalled that she also talked about “other loan companies” that would saddle students with unfavorable rates if they decided to consolidate loans on graduation. Unable to keep quiet, Jones raised her hand: “I just said, excuse me, who are you and what is your affiliation?” The woman identified herself as an employee of All Student Loan, a California-based lender. Jones, a 22-year-old who has $17,000 in student loans, had unwittingly stumbled upon another undisclosed relationship between universities and loan companies. Recent investigations have largely focused on incentives that lenders give universities to get coveted placement on the preferred lending lists students use to take out loans when they enter college. But colleges also give lenders crucial access to students when they are graduating, using lenders to conduct exit counseling required under federal law for students who have taken out federally guaranteed student loans. In some cases, loan company representatives come on campus and run sessions for seniors on loan repayment. In others, colleges direct students to loan company Web sites, including those of Wells Fargo, Citibank and Sallie Mae. And in many cases, the loan companies are pushing a product: their consolidation loans. Anne Prisco, vice president for enrollment management at Loyola, defended the practice, saying the lenders allowed on campus were carefully selected. “Every year when we have exit interviews, we ask if they want to assist,” Prisco said. “They are just there to provide additional information.” Others say the access to students is improper. Heather McDonnell, the director of financial aid for Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y., said she thought using loan companies for exit counseling was “absolutely” inappropriate. “Behind every lender is a consolidation loan,” McDonnell said. “I don’t allow anybody to come on my campus to come and do that. I just don’t think it’s a good idea. I think that information should be coming directly from the financial aid office.” Many students have various kinds of loans, and consolidation allows them to combine the loans to pay a single interest rate in one monthly payment. Karen Gross, the president of Southern Vermont College and a professor of law at New York Law School, said that depending on a student’s prospective job, income and health, consolidating loans was often unwise. For example, she said, students who take certain public-sector jobs may sign away available benefits if they consolidate federal student loans. “There is no shortage of erroneous information that a student could receive in a group counseling session,” Gross said. “Student loan consolidation makes sense for many students, but for many students it is absolutely not the right choice.” She added that “the reason this is bothersome is that students are required to engage in exit interviews, and so lenders have a captive audience.” The reason exit interviews are mandatory is that the federal government wants to crack down on default rates. According to the Education Department, exit counseling is intended to explain borrowers’ rights and responsibilities, loan repayment and the consequences of default.