The May Dugan Center
Inspired by President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty and the Kennedy-Johnson Economic Opportunities Act, the founders of the May Dugan Center laid the foundation and remain true to their mission to this day- “To help people enrich and advance their lives and communities.”
After hearing about these initiatives, they knew Cleveland needed an organization that could help individuals and families become self-sufficient, contributing members of the community. For the past 50 years, the independent, not-for-profit organization has served tens of thousands of members of the community and has no plans of slowing down.
Who Was May Dugan?
May Dugan was a selfless and passionate member of the community. By feeding, housing, and taking care of up to 25 people at a time in her own home, neighbors knew they could come to May for help in time of need.
May opened a series of neighborhood Irish taverns throughout the 1930s, and some still exist today (the most popular being Dugan’s on W. 58th and Detroit). These taverns provided the opportunity for her friends and neighbors to gain employment, find food and clothing, and receive legal advice if they needed it. May was extremely connected to several attorneys and members of the justice system, always knowing who someone should talk to if they were charged unjustly.
In 1969, the Near West Side Multi-Service Corporation was established, and in 1974, the current facility was built on Bridge Ave. in the Ohio City neighborhood. It was joyfully named the “May Dugan Multi-Service Center” to pay tribute to May and her selfless life work as “a one-person counselor and advocate for her neighbors in need”.
Counseling & Community Services
The May Dugan Center provides counseling and mental health services to those suffering from depression, Bipolar disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and more. All counselors are certified and licensed by the State of Ohio, providing the best possible care to members of the community and the center.
Education & Resource Center
The Center provides a variety of educational and learning opportunities, including test prep, college and vocational entrance support, adult and financial literacy, employment support, job preparation, personal enrichment, homework support, and more.
Over 250 individuals go through May Dugan’s educational programs each year, receiving personalized lesson plans and one-on-one time in order to achieve individual goals for the year. The classrooms are trauma-informed and promote “healing, personal growth, and healthy reengagement with peers and professionals in a safe, predictable environment”.
Health & Wellness Program
Every month during the food and clothing program at the Center, individuals can be screened for blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, diabetes, and more. Also provided are educational health seminars and workshops to inform the community on how to live a healthier lifestyle and to ensure they know how to take care of themselves and their families.
The May Dugan Center holds a food, clothing, and fresh produce distribution program on the last Wednesday of every month. With the support of the Cleveland Foodbank, local churches, and individual donors, they have the ability to serve food and fresh produce to thousands of people every month. By incorporating health and wellness programs on the same day as the distribution program, they can inform members of the community about a variety of topics including healthy eating tips, portion control, and more, earning them the “Innovative Program of the Year” award by the Cleveland Foodbank in 2012.
The MomsFirst program is geared towards pregnant teens and young women in the Cleveland Metropolitan area. The goal of the program is to reduce the number of babies that pass away before the one year mark and to reduce infant mortality. The program consists of home visits, phone contacts, in-person contacts, and fatherhood supportive services.
Educational components include topics such as: “Safe Sleep / SIDS, HIV/STI’s Prevention / Family Planning, Smoking Cessation / Substance Abuse, Preterm Labor / Perinatal Depression, Breastfeeding, Infant/Child development, Self-Esteem, Healthy Relationships, Close Interval Pregnancies, Future Goals and School Attendance”.
Trauma Recovery Center
The Trauma Recovery Center was created to offer support to members of the community after a traumatic event resulting from a criminal act. The program involves a 16-week crisis stabilization method and is free to victims and their families. Professionals are able to provide patients with support, trauma counseling, emergency housing, transportation, legal services, and more. With a combination of counseling, case management, transportation, and advocate services, members of the community are able to both physically and emotionally recover and begin reintegrating into the community.
How Can You Help?
The May Dugan Center is “a lifeline for 10,000 individuals and families who need effective and meaningful programs that will improve their lives and their communities”, but they need your help.
Many of their programs and services are made possible through donations, including:
- Household Items
Volunteers are also a crucial part of May Dugan’s operations, and there are plenty of different options for members of the community to get involved:
- Monthly food/clothing/produce program volunteer
- Landscaping volunteer
- Holiday decorating
- Health & Wellness Advisory Committee member