Air Quality Funding, Youth of the Year, and more

May 15, 2023

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Dear Neighbor,

Happy Monday! Below, please find information on upcoming events in Fairfield, updates on my work at the Capitol, and more. For your convenience, here are some helpful links to all the information included in this email:

Indoor Air Quality Funding
Thank you Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz for coming to Fairfield to announce the $6.2M grant that the school district was awarded for indoor air quality improvements in four of our schools. It was a pleasure to serve as Co-Chair of the Indoor Air Quality Working Group to help make improving our schools' air quality a priority for the state. These state funds for Fairfield will offset the required local investment and free up local resources for other needed infrastructure projects.

None of this could have been possible without the commitment to improving our air quality by the Board of Education five years ago and their persistence in that goal. Thank you again Governor Ned Lamont for allocating hundreds of millions of dollars to this initiative across the state to ensure that one day every student and every school employee learns and works in a safe and health environment

Wakeman Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year
Congratulations to Megan Mazzeo, the 2023 Wakeman Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year and Kate Papadatos, who was named the Southport Clubhouse Youth of the Year.

These two young women exemplify what it means to be a role model for their peers. Megan, a senior at Fairfield Ludlowe High School, has excelled across the board - academically, as the captain of bother her field hockey and lacrosse teams, and as a volunteer mentor for peers with special needs. She has also been an active member of the Torch and Keystone Clubs at WBGC, leading several committees and serving as a delegate at conferences.

Kate, a senior at Hopkins School, has emerged as a leader of the Keystone Club, serving as secretary and then Co-President, and overseeing the planning and execution of evening activities at the National Keystone Conference.

Congratulations to all of the finalists - I'm so excited to see what your bright futures hold for you.

Mental Health Awareness Month
For the past 20 years, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has recognized Mental Health Awareness Month (MHAM) every May to increase awareness about the vital role mental health plays in our overall health and well-being.

If you or someone you know is mentally struggling, please know that you are not alone and no-cost help is available by phone, when and if it's needed.

  • Maternal Mental Health Hotline - 1-833-943-5746
  • Native Crisis Text Line (American Indians and Alaska Natives) - Text "Native" to 741741
  • LGBTQI+ Youth Support - 9-8-8, then press 3 when prompted
  • Specialized Crisis Support for Spanish Speakers - 9-8-8, then press 2 when prompted
  • You can also call 2-1-1 for assistance
In 2022, the Connecticut legislature passed three transformative mental health measures.
The three laws – HB 5001, SB 1, and SB 2 – strengthen Connecticut's mental and behavioral health system, which experienced unprecedented strain during the COVID-19 pandemic. These laws:
  • Expand 24/7 emergency mental health response and create walk-ins for mental health emergencies
  • Address shortages of mental health staff in our schools by offering grants to local schools to hire social workers, counselors, and psychologists
  • Provide mental health training to parents, students, and pediatricians
  • Expand school-based health centers to develop mental health programming
  • Create a state oversight and coordination of a state response to kids' mental health needs

It is more important than ever that we continued to invest in mental health. As state legislatures across the country cut funding for these vital services, in Connecticut, we chose to make critical investments in mental health for our state’s future.

Fairfield CARES Annual Community Event
A reminder that the Fairfield CARES Annual Community Event is Wednesday, May 17 from 7 pm - 8:30 pm at Tomlinson Middle School Auditorium - 200 Unquowa Road, Fairfield. The featured speaker is Dr. Eli Lebowitz, director of the program for anxiety disorders at the child study center at Yale School of Medicine.

The free event should be an insightful and inviting discussion on mental health for children and young adults. You can register here.

Band Together Mental Health Awareness Fair
Sunday, May 21 from 1 pm - 3 pm is the second annual Band Together for Mental Health live music and mental health fair hosted by Our Lady of the Assumption Parish at the Assumption Church - 545 Stratfield Road, Fairfield. This free event includes music, food, raffles, and conversations with representatives of local mental health organizations. The day is sure to be filled with fun and meaningful discussions, and I encourage residents of all ages to attend.
I'm committed to ensuring your voice is heard. Please don't hesitate to call my office at (860) 240-8585 or email me if there's anything I can do for you. Be sure to follow @LeeperForFairfield on Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date on everything I'm doing at the Capitol.


Jennifer Leeper
State Representative


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