March 2019
Introducing Ameer and Kathy!
PPAL Welcomes Our Newest Multicultural Outreach Specialist and Family Support Coordinator!

Ameer Amein joins PPAL as a multicultural outreach specialist.  Prior to joining PPAL, Ameer worked with young adults with autism and their families, planning daily activities and supporting during the IEP and ISP process.  He also worked for international nonprofit organizations for more than 10 years.  Ameer previously served as a parent mentor at a Boston-based nonprofit, where he modeled collaboration with providers to parents and youth.  He also volunteered for patients of Mass General Hospital. A refugee from Iraq, Ameer is a dedicated father of three children.  He and his family are big fans of the New England Patriots.

Kathy Ledoux has worked with PPAL as a contractor at Massachusetts Child PsychiatryAccessProgram (McPAP) since 2016.  In March, Kathy joined PPAL as the Family Support Coordinator at our Worcester office.  Kathy previously worked as a Postmaster in post offices throughout the Central Massachusetts area for nearly 37 years.  After retirement, Kathy wanted to give back, particularly to families who struggled to find services for their children. As a mother of a child who struggles with learning differences, ADHD and major depression, she was called to this particular field of work.  Over many years, Kathy and her family benefitted from the guidance of PPAL, and she is looking forward to helping parents navigate systems to get the support that their children need.  Kathy has been married for 32 years, and has two sons, aged 32 and 29.

Welcome Ameer & Kathy!

PPAL's Annual Conference: It Starts with Us
Join PPAL on May 31 in Westborough

PPAL is pleased to announce its annual conference, which will take place on May 31 at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Westborough.  This year, the theme of the conference is It Starts with Us.  Our keynote speaker will be Barbara Huff, the founder and first director of the National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health.

As always, our conference will be an educational and engaging event.  Early bird rates are available through April 15.  Register here to take advantage of this great deal.  If you would like to become a sponsor, have an exhibit table, or if you simply need more details, email


Celebrate Children's Mental Health Week!
Great Communication Leads to Family Engagement

This year, join PPAL the week of May 5 to 11 as we celebrate Children's Mental Health Week (CMHW).  The theme of CMHW 2019 is Great Communication Leads to Family Engagement.

As we do each year, PPAL is creating a kit with posters, calendars, bookmarks, green ribbons, and more.  These kits will be available for distribution.  There will be events across the state to celebrate CMHW - please send us yours! 

Dozens of towns and cities issued proclamations for Children's Mental Health Week last year.  Let's beat that number this year.  Want a sample proclamation?  Email We are also going to light up bridges and buildings GREEN across the state.  Do you have an idea for how we can celebrate CMHW?  Want to help?  Email


 Youth MOVE Celebrates Success, Resilience and Pride!
A Trio of Gatherings Highlights Youth MOVE Members in Unique Ways

March has been a very eventful month for Youth M.O.V.E. .  Youth M.O.V.E. was happy to celebrate the first annual Worcester Boys Conference, which took place on March 8 th and 9 th .  The keynote speaker for the event was Dr. Michael Thompson, co-author of the New York Times Best seller "Raising Cain".  The event was an absolute success. Youth M.O.V.E. was honored to be a part of the planning committee. 
The fourth annual Success-Fest took place on March 22 nd , and Youth M.O.V.E. was definitely in the building.  Youth M.O.V.E. would like to thank Carly Sebastian and our Department of Mental Health family for allowing us to not only come and support, but to also facilitate several trainings.  This was a fun-filled day of giveaways, workshops, and plenty of food, as we celebrated the theme of the day, "Resilience".

On Saturday, March 16th, The Zia Young Adult Access Center held a Queer Gathering at the Worcester Jewish Community Center (Worcester JCC). Rae (our Youth Advocate Specialist) and Meri (our Associate Director) went and had a fantastic time. 

There was great music, great food, an enthusiastic MC,  and an amazing drag performer. It was great to see such a high number of folks coming out to support LGBTQ+ youth, and see amazing youth being their authentic selves. 

PPAL Blog Named Among Top Blogs on Depression for 2019
Thanks to All Writers

The PPAL Blog - started by our own Lisa Lambert - was named one of the top depression blogs of 2019 by Healthline. What is your favorite PPAL blog post?  How has the PPAL blog helped you?


Blog Alert 

Did you miss our blogs? Read the latest blog by Executive Director, Lisa Lambert, titled "  I Only Forget the Little Things, More or Less " about caregiver burnout. Also check out the latest What Youth Are Saying blog titled "Gillette, the Best a Man Can Get" about toxic masculinity

You can now subscribe to the PPAL blog and never miss a post.  Look for the subscribe information on the blog page. 

March Monthly Meeting: 
Juvenile Fire Setting with Dr. Robert Staldonik

Thank you to everyone who came out to the March  monthly meeting  with Reece Erlichman, Director, Bureau of Special Education Appeals. We enjoyed learning more about BSEA and how to resolve conflicts with school districts!

In April, we are pleased to welcome Dr. Robert Staldonik, President of FirePsych, Inc. to talk about juvenile fire setting.  Dr. Staldonik will dispel myths about juvenile fire setting, help us understand the function of the behavior and how it relates to mental health or other co-existing conditions, talk about the legal impact, and offer resources for parents.

We invite you to attend the next PPAL Monthly Meeting on April 9th at Plymouth Church in Framingham if you have lived experience (family members, family partners, family support specialists, parent/caregivers, young adult peers, or others in family support roles). 

Please pre-register by April 5th to be guaranteed a seat and lunch.  
Tuesday, April 9th,  10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Plymouth Church 87 Edgell Road Framingham, MA 01702
Contact PPAL Statewide at 508-767-9725 or to RSVP

Latest Poll Results

February Poll Results

The first week of February is Eating Disorder Awareness Week.  Where do you think your children should learn about the dangers and risks of Eating Disorders?



From peers/peer mentors.....13.04%

Media (news, social media, movies, etc).....0.7%

Take our April Poll on our website:

If your school district could provide one service, which one would it be?

Youth peer support

Parent support

Transition age planning

Trained mental health specialist

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