The Psychological Center, Inc. Welcomes Students from Saint Michael’s School to the Daybreak Shelter and Pegasus House

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LAWRENCE — The Psychological Center, Inc. (TPC) is pleased to announce that it hosted the Saint Michael’s School Class of 2016 for a tour and lunch at the Daybreak Shelter last week.
On Friday, April 15, students from Saint Michael School in North Andover visited TPC’s Daybreak Shelter to donate backpacks filled with toiletries and learn more about what it is like to live in a homeless shelter. 
Program Director Andy McMahon spoke to students about the growing problem of homelessness, stressing that what makes a person homeless is not always what you think. 
“None of us, myself included, are all that far away from this,” McMahon told students. “People come here under all different circumstances and it’s not always for reasons that you might think. Some of it’s drugs and alcohol, that’s true, but some of it is just really bad luck.”
McMahon cited losing a job, losing a roommate or ending a relationship as other reasons that guests have ended up at Daybreak Shelter. Students also learned about the services that Daybreak provides for its guests and the need for additional resources to address growing mental health and addiction issues, which often contribute to homelessness.
“We all enjoyed a very positive day with the students from Saint Michael’s,” said Carina Pappalardo, CEO of The Psychological Center. “It is important to educate our youth about the realities of homelessness and the need to support those who are struggling around us. I think everyone took something important away from this day and I hope we can continue to work with children at other events like this.”
The Psychological Center provided lunch for the students, hoping to demonstrate to them that guests at the homeless shelter don’t get to choose what they eat for dinner — they eat what is given to them.
Before visiting the Daybreak Shelter, students also stopped by the Pegasus House, TPC’s residential treatment facility. Clients talked to students about drug prevention, awareness and education, even sharing their own stories. Nichole Hardy, Pegasus House’s Clinical Director, talked about the effects that drugs and alcohol have on the brain.
“Our clients were uplifted and motivated to share their experiences and help educate the students, who seemed receptive to the message,” Hardy said. 

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