Connecticut Community Foundation Grant Supports Wheeler’s Walk With Me Program

Wheeler received a $7,000 grant from Connecticut Community Foundation’s Pride in the Hills Fund to support its Walk With Me program. The grant will be used to support the work of a peer support specialist and enhance and expand parent/caregiver services for LGBTQIA+ families. 

Team-Photo-smaller-web.jpgFrom left to right in top row, from Wheeler, Daniel Melchor, LCSW, integrated care supervisor; Lisa Paolini, LMSW, integrated healthcare clinician; and Michelle Leece, primary care nurse practitioner. From the Foundation, Kathy Bower, Esq., board vice chair, and managing partner at the Southbury, Connecticut law office of Gager, Bower & Scalzo, LLP; Deborah Fuller, grants chair, Pride in the Hills Fund; and Meg Temple, advisory board member and board secretary. Also, pictured, top row far right, Sabrina Trocchi, PhD, MPA, president and chief executive officer, Wheeler. 

From left to right in bottom row from Wheeler, Maura Fischer, psychiatric nurse practitioner, and Bliss Kern, peer specialist. Additionally, Chris Rempfer, advisory board member of the Pride in the Hills Fund at Connecticut Community Foundation, and associate professor of English at Naugatuck Valley Community College; and Amanda Pratte, MBA, site director, Wheeler’s Waterbury Family Health & Wellness Center.

The grant will expand Walk With Me program services to: 

  • Provide parents and caregivers with guidance and strategies to navigate their child’s and family’s journey 
  • Identify and inform youth, parents, and caregivers of existing online and other community resources
  • Connect parents and caregivers with Wheeler treatment and available community resources and opportunities, including linkages to needed health services when identified
  • Encourage intra-and inter-family support networks
  • Broaden community outreach and education

Walk With Me is a specialized outpatient treatment track for LGBTQIA+-identifying people of all ages who are seeking therapeutic and/or peer support to address their specific needs. The Walk With Me track is designed to create a safe, affirming, and inclusive array of services for LGBTQIA+ people and their loved ones where they can be validated, explore their identities, reduce feelings of isolation, strengthen their support system, and develop skills to cope with stress and stigma. With an emphasis on treating the whole person, this track includes a dedicated team of behavioral health, medical, and peer support staff to provide robust wrap-around services that are tailored to meet the needs of each unique patient, wherever they are on their journey. 

For information about Wheeler’s Walk With Me program, call 888.793.3500 or 860.793.3500, or visit

About Connecticut Community Foundation
Established in 1923, Connecticut Community Foundation was created by and for the people of Greater Waterbury and the Litchfield Hills. While serving this 21-town region, the Foundation works to address the community’s critical issues, funds programs benefiting local residents, supports efforts to improve systems to foster more equitable outcomes for residents, strengthens local organizations through learning and outreach, and works with individuals, families, and corporations to steward charitable and scholarship funds.

About Connecticut Community Foundation’s Pride in the Hills Fund
Through grants to nonprofit organizations, the Pride in the Hills Fund aims to celebrate and improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) people in Greater Waterbury and the Litchfield Hills.

Back to Top