OUR TEAM

What is our goal in the long run?

Matt's Mission exists to end the stigma and shame of drug addiction.  The nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization seeks to educate people on the disease of addiction focusing on treatment not punishment, to assist with policy changes creating new paths to treatment, and to unite law enforcement, community and treatment facilities together with individuals suffering from substance use disorders.

The specific objectives and purposes of this organization is:

1. To provide awareness of addiction as a disease focusing on treatment not punishment.

2. To provide pathways into treatment and services for individuals suffering from addiction without shame, blame or arrest.

"It is about saving lives, rebuilding families, helping individuals on a lifelong road to recovery and combating the stigma associated with addiction."

Kathleen Dufficy

President, Founder

Kathleen Dufficy was born and raised in Connecticut.  Kathleen founded “Matt’s Mission – End the Stigma of Drug Addiction”  after her son, Matthew lost his 12 year battle with addiction in a drug-related accident on November 23, 2015.

 

Kathleen Dufficy was born and raised in Connecticut. Kathleen founded “Matt’s Mission – End the Stigma of Drug Addiction” after her son, Matthew lost his 12 year battle with addiction in a drug-related accident on November 23, 2015. Kathleen has 31 years of experience with the CT Judicial Branch retiring in October, 2017, has volunteered for numerous community based organizations, participates in programs to continue educating herself on substance use disorders and completed training as a Recovery Coach.  Her passion is to bring awareness to others through treatment programs and education, and assisting individuals on their path to treatment without shame, blame or arrest. Kathleen stongly believes we need to shift our direction to treating addiction as a medical issue.  Encouragement, support and treatment will end the distress and break down the barriers which prevent individuals from seeking treatment.  She is a supporter of P.A.A.R.I. creating new pathways to treatment including the no arrest programs.  Kathleen believes it is about saving lives, rebuilding families, helping individuals on a lifelong road to recovery and combating the stigma associated with addiction.

April Wojcik

Vice President

April Wojcik born and raised in Eastern Connecticut. She joined the Plainfield Business Association in 2011; joining the Board of Directors, collaborating in creating an annual event promoting local businesses and bringing the community together.

 

April Wojcik born and raised in Eastern Connecticut has become a long time advocate of giving back to her community. April has been a licensed Home Daycare Provider since 2001 and realizes the importance of quality care for the children entrusted to her. She joined the Plainfield Business Association in 2011; joining the Board of Directors, collaborating in creating an annual event promoting local businesses and bringing the community together. April found that she enjoyed the creative process of making an idea into a reality. She decided she wanted to do more for her community and started her own Charity Organization, The Big Five Charity Motorcycle Ride in 2012. Dedicated to raising funds and awareness for the families affected by Domestic Violence, she has partnered up with the Motorcycle Community and United Services out of Dayville, CT continuing to grow the charity to date. April and her family lost her brother David to 20 plus years of addiction. April and her family courageously took this 20 year journey with David and from a family stand point witnessed and experienced the many different emotions of watching a loved one suffer in silence and judgement. It has become April’s commitment to take a stand on behalf of her brother and tell his story, his battle through the eyes of the addict.

Pamela Schiefer

Secretary

Pamela Schiefer is a native of CT and has worked in the financial field since 1972. She is dedicated to Matt's Mission both professionally and personally having witnessed the heartache and the devastation to the families of those fighting addiction.

 

Jane Panus

Treasurer

Jane is from Griswold and has been working as an accountant for over 23 years. After witnessing the tragedy of young people close to her fight addiction or succumb to overdose, she realized this issue was close to heart and became involved in changing the stigma of abuse.

 

Jane Panus was born in Griswold, CT and educated in the Griswold School System. In June, 1990, she completed the requirements for an Associate of Science Degree in Business Administration: Accounting, at Quinebaug Valley Community College, Danieslon, CT. She was a member of the Omicron Chapter of Alpha Beta Gamma. In August, 1993, she was awarded a Bachelor of Science Degree: Accounting, from Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic, CT. She was a member of the Delta Omega Chapter of Delta Mu Delta.

Jane has been working as an accountant for over 23 years in the Property and Casualty insurance business and held positions of Accountant, Sr. Accountant, Assistant Treasurer, and Accounting/HR Manager. Jane currently resides in Lisbon, CT with her husband Michael.

Throughout her career, Jane has been involved in various community activities such as: United Way, Habitat for Humanity, Foodshare, Toys for Tots, and many other community based programs. However, she now recognizes there is a more pressing need that needs to be addressed. A few years ago, the opiate crisis blew up. Everyone knew someone who suffered from the disease of addiction and the drugs were easily available. However, everyone kept their eyes closed; it was someone else’s kid, friend, parent. No one could find help or a way out; no one wanted to get involved! After the tragedies of young people close to her either fighting addiction or succumbing to overdose, she realized this issue was very close to her heart and would like to be involved changing the stigma of abuse.

Kelly Barrett

Board Member

Kelly is dedicated to helping others both through her work as a clinician as well as in fighting the disease of addiction, a disease that tragically ended her brother’s life in 2015.  Kelly is committed to being part of the solution to the addiction crisis that has affected our community as well as our nation as a whole.

 

Kelly was born in Colorado Springs, CO and raised in Griswold, CT, having graduated from Griswold High School in 1997. She went on to receive her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Eastern Connecticut State University, and her Master’s in Health Sciences from Quinnipiac University.

After working as a Physician Assistant for 8 years, she has decided to further her education in a more naturalistic, wholistic approach to health. Kelly is an administrator for Matt’s Mission - End the Stigma of addiction which seeks to raise awareness of addiction as a disease and promote treatment over incarceration for those battling addiction. Kelly is dedicated to helping others both through her work as a clinician as well as in fighting the disease of addiction, a disease that tragically ended her brother’s life in 2015. Kelly is committed to being part of the solution to the addiction crisis that has affected our community as well as our nation as a whole. She believes strongly that when given the proper support, every individual can combat the disease of addiction and reach their full potential. Kelly is currently living in Colorado, but plans to return to Connecticut and open an integrative, holistic wellness center, where addiction support will be a primary focus.

John F. Malone

Board Member

 Jack Malone is the President and Executive Director of the Southeastern Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (S.C.A.D.D.). He has been with the agency over 20 years. His main effort in is to ensure a safe and sober place is available the moment a person declares they need help with their addiction.

 

Jack Malone is the President and Executive Director of the Southeastern Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (S.C.A.D.D.). He has been with the agency since 1995 and its director since 2001. As such he has been a tireless advocate for treatment for all those who suffer from the disease of addiction. His main effort in his years with SCADD have been to ensure a safe and sober place is available the moment a person declares they need help with their addiction. He is a frequent speaker on all aspects of addiction and treatment locally, statewide and nationally. Mr. Malone has advised cities and businesses on steps to take when confronted with addiction and its damaging costs. He is often called upon in the community by families who have suddenly learned a precious loved one is horribly addicted. In that regard he lives by the belief that in order to keep the fabulous gift of sobriety he enjoys, he must give it away freely and continuously.

Erin Haggan

Board Member

Erin has had the opportunity to work with people struggling and recovering from addiction, personally and professionally. She is inspired by “Matt's Mission - End the Stigma of Drug Addiction” because she has experienced that the guilt and shame sometimes attached to this disease prevents many from asking for help.

 

Erin Haggan graduated with a Bachelors Degree in 2000 from UCONN and earned her Masters Degree in Social Work from Springfield College in 2011.

Erin has had the opportunity to work with people struggling and recovering from the disease of addiction, both personally and professionally. She is inspired by “Matt's Mission - End the Stigma of Drug Addiction” because it has been her experience that the guilt and shame sometimes attached to this disease prevents many from asking for help. Erin has heard it said over and over again by many fighting this fight, that "consequences did not get my attention." She believes treatment has got to be the priority and provided as an opportunity before punishment. So many people are not aware of how hard the battle of addiction really truly is and that self will alone can not be the answer. Erin is honored and humbled to have the opportunity to support the education and raising of awareness regarding the disease of addiction and to be a part of changing the conversation.

Lisa Rinato, Esq.

Board Member

Lisa has been working as a Deputy Chief Clerk for Juvenile Matters since 2003. She helped friends and loved ones into treatment facilities and dealt with insurance companies. Lisa hopes her work with our organization will educate the medical community and criminal justice system to treat addiction as a disease instead of a crime.

 

Lisa was born and raised in Yonkers, New York. She graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1987. In 1991, she received her Bachelor of Science in Marketing and her minor in Psychology from New York University. She went on to receive her Juris Doctor in 1994 from Boston University School of Law.

In 1995, Lisa began her career with the State of Connecticut as a Temporary Assistant Clerk and worked her way up to Deputy Chief Clerk for Juvenile Matters in 2003. Lisa began assisting people with the disease of addiction when a friend and co-worker suffering from alcoholism needed assistance. She worked tirelessly to get friends and loved ones into treatment facilities and dealt with the frustrating red tape of the insurance companies. In 2015, a treasured friend and co-worker lost her son to addiction. Since then, her desire to change the system and assist those battling with this disease has strengthened. Lisa hopes her work with Matt's Mission - End the Stigma Of Addiction will educate those both in the medical community and the criminal justice system to treat addiction as a disease and not a crime.

Arline Maynard

Board Member

Arline has been a Middle School Teacher for the last 25 years. She joined Matt's Mission nonprofit to help those who are struggling with addiction. Those with addictions should be able to reach out for help and not get punished in the process. She believes early intervention must be available in order for the addict to have the greatest chance of success.

 

Arline Maynard was raised in Jewett City, CT. She graduated from Griswold High School and Eastern Connecticut State University and holds a Master of Science degree in education and professional educators endorsement to teach in Connecticut. She is teaching in a middle school where she has worked for the last 25 years. She has volunteered to serve on a variety of boards and associations over the years and is now turning her attention to those who suffer from addiction.

She would like to be part of the Matt's Mission nonprofit to help those who are struggling with addiction. She is very concerned about the increased addiction issues and loss of life among children from too many caring families. She believes there is much that needs to be done. Those with addictions should be able to reach out for help and not get punished in the process. Arline sees that the door gets slammed on addicts once they are arrested making it very hard to find jobs and a better way of life.  She believes early intervention must be available in order for the addict to have the greatest chance of success. Arline believes we need a new way to look at those suffering from addiction in order to set them on the road to recovery.

Sherri Pentzien

Board Member

Sherri comes from a family history of Addiction and Recovery and is an Adult Children of Alcoholics. She has been actively involved in many organizations both locally and nationally. Her personal commitment is to reduce the stigma around substance abuse disorders and their treatments.

 

Sherri comes from a family history of Addiction and Recovery and is an Adult Children of Alcoholics. She has been involved in and is familiar with Twelve Step Programs such as, Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-anon, Alateen, and Co-dependents Anonymous support groups. In memory of her daughter’s father who tragically lost his life to addiction in 2016, Sherri became part of the Shatterproof community, a national organization raising awareness to shatter the deadly stigmas of addiction and making changes that will save countless lives.

In addition, she has experience working with diverse populations in the areas of Human Services and Education. Sherri has performed volunteer work for the Big Five Charity Ride, raising awareness and funding for the local Domestic Violence Program. She is employed by the Board of Education and works with special needs students for the Public School System. Sherri holds an Associate’s degree in Human Services and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She furthered her interest and education earning her Life Coaching Certification and operates her own life coaching business, Savannahsmiles Life Coaching – nurturing people’s personal development and guiding them to realize their human potential.

Her personal commitment is to reduce the stigma around substance abuse disorders and their treatments. Sherri firmly holds the belief that “addiction” is a family disease, “one person may use but the entire family suffers.

Anna Poldosky

Board Member

Anna has lived in Southeastern CT for most of her life. Anna has been a person in recovery since March of 2014 and has experienced, firsthand, how addiction impacts the lives of individuals, their families and the community around them.

 

Anna has lived in Southeastern CT for most of her life. Currently she resides in Uncasville with her two children and husband. Anna has been a person in recovery since March of 2014 and has experienced, firsthand, how addiction impacts the lives of individuals, their families and the community around them. Anna, herself, has been through several treatment programs. She has experienced various challenges that people encounter when trying maintain sobriety. Anna has volunteered at several events for Bethsaida Community Inc, donating her time, sharing her personal story and her musical talent. She is excited to be a member of the Matt’s Mission Board of Directors. It is her hope that her personal experience can help achieve positive change in the community. She is dedicated to do her part in eliminating the judgment people face when trying to recover from addiction.

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