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May Dugan Center Is Building A Bridge to Serve Victims of Trauma and Violent Crime with The MetroHealth System

The trauma our clients have experienced has affected myriad aspects of their lives, often disrupting their education, emotional development, sense of security, and increasing their risk of both mental health problems as well as detachment from the community. Many struggle finding and maintaining employment in a safe, healthy environment. These consequences are not unexpected; according to a report from the U.S. Department of Justice, 68% of victims of serious violent crime (rape, sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assault) experienced socio-emotional problems: moderate to severe distress, significant problems with work or school, significant problems with family or friends, “including more arguments than before the victimization, an inability to trust, or not feeling as close after the victimization” (Langton and Truman. “Socio-Emotional Impact of Violent Crime” Bureau of Justice Statistics, September 2014).  In addition, as the University of San Francisco Trauma Center reports: “the adverse experiences affect health through diverse biological pathways, leading individuals who have experienced trauma to be more vulnerable to injury and illness are more reluctant to seek health care”(Jyoti Madhusoodanan, April 12, 2016:  May Dugan is a safe place for individuals to seek support and work on their recovery. Our experience suggests that screening patients for this trauma and planning safety interventions is both safe and effective.

We are pleased to partner with a system already addressing the initial physical and psychological impact of trauma. The Trauma Recovery Services within The MetroHealth System in 2013 already provides “professional risk assessment and counseling, educational materials, support groups, and peer visitation services (using volunteer trauma survivors).” They have immediate contact with 2,000 trauma patients and families, and have developed the most active peer visitation program of its kind in the US. When their patients access available resources, “they have measured success in greater patient engagement and self-efficacy.”

May Dugan and MetroHealth system have robust internal supports for victims of crime. In addition to these internal resources, both agencies share an effective system of community partners, including the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center and Frontline Services. As a community team, Metro has the opportunity to provide comprehensive referrals for victims.  By partnering with The MetroHealth System, a safety net hospital with a strong history of providing excellent medical services to our community. Like May Dugan, their mission is to serve individuals regardless of the ability to pay. Together, we can provide a continuity of care to secure better outcomes and lower recidivism for our most vulnerable neighbors.







MetroHealth and the May Dugan Center Receive Attorney General Grant


The state of Ohio has awarded MetroHealth and the May Dugan Center a grant to create a Trauma Recovery Center (TRC) that will provide crisis intervention to trauma and violent crime victims. While receiving care at MetroHealth, these patients will be connected to support services which will provide the necessarily stabilization support to end the trauma of victimization and facilitate complete recovery. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is awarding more than $2.6 million in grants to create five TRCs in Ohio. The May Dugan Center and MetroHealth received a $545,363 grant. The TRC will have a part-time administrator based at MetroHealth, along with access to May Dugan services for support.

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May Dugan Center 7th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony

On December 1st, one of the tallest trees in Ohio City lit up the corner of Bridge Avenue and Randall as hundreds of our neighbors and supporters helped us celebrate our 7th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. The evening was filled with the holiday spirit thanks to joyous performances from the Urban Community School Choir and our very own Rhythm and Roots Senior Music Group. We would like to recognize and thank our Planning Committee, Staff and Volunteers who dedicated their time and effort to make this year’s event such a great success, including all of you who joined us afterwards at JukeBox for the post Tree Lighting Event.

Check out the photos from this year’s event on May Dugan Center’s Facebook Page!

Last but not least, we would like to recognize and give a special thanks to our Sponsors for their support of our Center and Mission!



May Dugan spreads joy and gifts during the holidays



Inspired by President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty, the May Dugan Center year round ensures residents of Cleveland’s near west side get the food, clothing and services they need.  But as the holiday season quickly approaches and the weather turns frigid, May Dugan has for months now prepared to make the season a bit more cheery for its clients who need a little extra help. Whether it’s help putting a holiday meal on the table or making sure there are gifts under the tree, May Dugan is prepared to lend a hand. The season kicks off today with May Dugan’s annual turkey distribution. In addition to its monthly food and clothing distribution, today, Wednesday, Nov. 16, May Dugan will also hand out turkeys to 350 families.

Continue reading the full article at Fresh Water Cleveland

Cleveland insider: meet three stalwart volunteers



There’s no single reason why some people repeatedly volunteer their time and talents to agencies and programs. Some were simply raised that way, while others cite faith and a higher power demanding that they give back. It takes a special kind of empathy, patience and desire for change in order to volunteer just once, let alone for multiple years. Fresh Water contributor Brandon Baker has sat down with three locals who have done just that, lending wisdom, insight, manpower and more to Cleveland agencies that aim to impact lives. These are the people who make good happen – again and again and again.

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Basic Health program offers multiple services to Cleveland’s underserved



The nonprofit May Dugan Center has been addressing the basic needs of low income West Side residents for 70 years. New times create new necessities, to which the center has continued to answer the call, proponents say. May Dugan’s Basic Health program is a multi-faceted effort offering screenings and medical guidance for Cleveland’s underserved and uninsured. These benefits are intertwined with ongoing food and clothing distribution and support services the nonprofit is already providing.

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Q & A: Rick Kemm

Executive Director Rick Kemm of The May Dugan Center in Ohio City - Photo © Bob Perkoski,


Rick Kemm is the kind of guy you might spend an hour chatting and laughing with before you realize where the time went. But amid anecdotes and smiles, the executive director of the May Dugan Center is sure to convey the community’s needs and why he’s the one capable of catalyzing change. Decades ago when he became a manager at the American Red Cross in Cleveland, an area resident confronted Kemm, angry that he had been chosen for the job as opposed to a Puerto Rican. Kemm didn’t back down.

Continue reading the full article at Fresh Water Cleveland 

The basics: May Dugan serves families in need with food, clothing and medical help



Sue Nerlinger likes to keep active. “Sitting around drives me cuckoo,” she says. “I can’t stand sitting around.” So, when a Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis in 2000 threatened to slow her down, she kept working as an optician for W.A. Jones Optical with University Hospitals until the company closed in 2010.  Nerlinger’s twins were just 10 years old at the time, and with the job behind her, she needed to get food on the table and was having a hard time making ends meet. She turned to the May Dugan Center’s Basic Needs Program, which provides food, fresh produce and clothing to Cleveland’s west side residents in need.

Continue reading the full article at Fresh Water Cleveland

Turning back from the edge

- Photo © Bob Perkoski,


In Peter Katsilis’ profession, true success is marked by client relationships coming to an end.  The licensed bilingual social worker at the May Dugan Center sees about six clients per day, including many who are experiencing homelessness in the greater Cleveland area. Others might be looking for a job or escaping a tragic situation. Katsilis has helped many achieve their goal for a better life since he started working for the Ohio City non-profit three years ago, but like many area health and human service workers, he can’t settle on any one choice as the best success story.

Continue reading the full article at Fresh Water Cleveland

The very Irish history of Cleveland’s west side philanthropy



Charleen Reynolds-Cuffari can make anybody understand the kind of woman her grandmother was before uttering a word. Asked to describe the late May Dugan’s personality, the Kamm’s Corners resident narrows her eyes and raises a tightly clenched fist, forcing you to catch her drift. “I had the tough grandmother,” Reynolds-Cuffari says. “She ruled with an iron fist.” May’s parents, James and Annie, instilled that toughness in their children after emigrating from Ireland in 1883 and settling in Cleveland after stops in Quebec and Detroit. May had three brothers, and at least two other siblings who died during infancy.

Continue reading the full article at Fresh Water Cleveland