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    Friday, January 27, 2023

    Sound Community Services celebrates new young adult transitional home in New London

    Lisa Hyatt, second from left, and Gino DeMaio, chief executive officer, launch a lantern, with her children, twins Lily and Ashton, 13, and Elijah, 19, looking on during the Jason Hyatt Center ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, at Sound Community Services in New London. The Jason Hyatt Center is in the background. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Children of Jason Hyatt, from left, Lily and Ashton, 13, and Elijah, 19, look at the citation that State Rep. Anthony Nolan presented to their mother, Lisa Hyatt, during the Jason Hyatt Center ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, at Sound Community Services in New London. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Patrick and Rita Hyatt, brother and mother of Jason Hyatt, in the living room of the Jason Hyatt Center while they and others tour the Jason Hyatt Center after the ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, at Sound Community Services in New London. In the background is a photo of Jason Hyatt on the television. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    New London ― Sound Community Services dedicated the Jason Hyatt Center which will house a new young adult transitional residential program Wednesday with a moment of celebration and remembrance for the building’s namesake.

    The five-bedroom home at 39 Montauk Ave. is named after Jason “Jay” Hyatt, a program officer who spent 17 years working for the organization and died in March of brain cancer.

    The Sound, dedicated to educating and assisting individuals with persistent mental illness and/or substance use disorders, held a ribbon-cutting event Wednesday for the new home. Staff, family and friends of Hyatt attended the event and many described Hyatt as humble and passionate about working with young adults.

    Now, 18 to 25-year-olds who need help with independent-living skills will be able stay at the center for 12 to 18 months. Sound Community Services CEO Gino DeMaio said it was a good way to solidify Hyatt’s legacy who he said he considered a brother or son.

    DeMaio said the first residents will likely move in in the middle of October. He said the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, apart from helping fund the program, will make referrals as to who should live in the home.

    The residents will be people who have been displaced from other places and programs in the region and often struggle with trauma, DeMaio said.

    “Young adults are falling into the adult system,” DeMaio said. “This home will give them a total wrap around service.”

    DeMaio said two residential recovery specialists will be at the home at all times. He added the home is next door to the organization’s AXS Center where it already helps young people in the same age group to learn social skills, resume-building, cooking and more.

    Sound Community Services owns the newly-renovated building. DeMaio said the overall budget for the program is $700,000, including $280,000 for the home, 12 staff members, technology and the coordinator role.

    Walter Lewis, who has a decade of behavioral health experience, will be the program coordinator for the Hyatt Center. Lewis said he started working with Sound Community Services a year ago as a residential recovery specialist for another residential program.

    With the opening of the Hyatt Center, the Sound will have six residential service programs apart from various clinical, social rehab, case management services and more.

    Hyatt’s wife and three children were given the opportunity to light a lantern in honor of him and cut a ribbon attached to a stairwell leading to the back entrance of the Hyatt Center. Representative Anthony Nolan handed Hyatt’s wife a General Assembly citation honoring Hyatt’s legacy and impact on the community.

    People were allowed to tour the home after the event where videos and photos of Hyatt played on monitors.

    Speaking at the event, Hyatt’s wife Lisa, said she was so incredibly proud to call “Jay” her husband for 20 years.

    “He’d be so happy to see this happening; it was something he was passionate about,” she said. “This house represents a legacy to his children of how their father touched so many people... He always said ‘Love God, love people.’”

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