Former Governor Michael Dukakis is continuing his long time work to support New England Center for Children, a center for the education and treatment of autistic children.
NECC is Southborough’s second largest employer, with 800 employees. The Metrowest Daily News reports that Dukakis’ visited the center last Friday.
During the visit, NECC credited Dukakis’ support as instrumental in founding their institution.
It was Dukakis’ initiatives that allowed [Center Founder and CEO Vincent Strully Jr.] in 1974 to get seed money and a grant that allowed him to start the small program on the grounds of Taunton State Hospital that eventually grew into the center.
Dukakis is a long time NECC board member. He described the center as a shining example of the vast progress made in mental health education.
At his Friday visit, he shared his impetus to effect change in the treatment of autistic children. As a young legislator, he visited a mental health institution that housed autistic children. The Metrowest Daily NewsHe was shocked to discover:
“Seventy-five boys, half of them naked, sitting on a concrete floor – with two staff people (there) – rocking back and forth. Doing nothing,” he said. “Some of (the boys) were sitting in their own excrement. The stench was overwhelming.”. .
“When I became governor, I decided we ought to do something about it
He may be proud of his accomplishments, but he clearly doesn’t consider his work done. On November 1, the former Governor is turning his 80th birthday into a fundraising event for the center. The center’s website shares:
In keeping with their dedication to our organization, Michael and Kitty have decided to share Michael’s 80th birthday with NECC, and will donate all proceeds from this event to NECC’s Annual Fund.
This epic celebration will be held at Boston Convention and Exhibition Center on Friday November 1, 2013. The event will feature a reception and dinner, a word from our keynote speaker George Stephanopoulos, and a host of birthday surprises. Please see the event website (www.theduke2013.org) for more information on how you can join the party!
For the full MWDN story, click here.