Annual Autumn Breakfast Honors Mental Health Advocates in CT


- Nonprofit Organization Ability Beyond Raises Funds for Mental Health Services -

Ability Beyond will host its Autumn Breakfast honoring community members who are making a difference in the lives of individuals with mental health challenges on Wednesday, November 15th. The annual event benefiting the Mental Health Services of the nonprofit organization will be held from 7:30 - 9:00 a.m. at the Ethan Allen Hotel at 21 Lake Avenue Ext., in Danbury, CT.

Funds raised assist men and women living with mental illnesses by helping them find a job and their own home to become part of the community. All proceeds go directly to Ability Beyond programs.

This high profile fundraiser attracts approximately 120 attendees each year, and last year’s breakfast raised $53,000. This year, there are two distinguished honorees; Dr. Charles Herrick, the Theresa Foss Memorial Award Recipient and Keynote speaker, and Marie Sturdevant, the Celine Karraker Memorial Award Recipient. Ability Beyond’s CEO Jane Davis is looking forward to expressing her gratitude to the dedicated volunteers for their outstanding contributions.

“We are so fortunate to have both of these amazing people supporting our organization,” explained Davis. “Dr. Herrick has served as our consulting psychiatrist on the Ability Beyond Internal Program Review Committee/Ethics Committee for a long time and Marie selflessly shares her talent and time through countless volunteer and civic commitments across Connecticut.”

Tickets are $40 for individual seats and $250 for a table of eight. Guests must RSVP by November 7th by contacting Kelsey Rondeau at or calling 203-826-3183. Sponsorships and corporate advertising are also available.

Charles Herrick, MD, has been at Danbury Hospital for the past 15 years and has been the Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Western Connecticut Health Network since 2006. He has an undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana, and an MD from Southern Illinois University. He completed his internship and residency in psychiatry at New England Medical Center/Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, and his fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute. Dr. Herrick has also worked as an outpatient psychiatrist at Keiser in South San Francisco and as an impatient and emergency room psychiatrist at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx.

Marie Sturdevant was a Court Reporter in Chappaqua, Mt. Kisco, and Bedford, NY from 1957 until her retirement in 2002. She also clerked for the Midwestern Connecticut Council on Alcoholism. She is currently Chairman of the Catchment Area Council #21 which studies and evaluates existing mental health services in the catchment area and makes recommendations about the types of services needed. She is also a volunteer driver for Brookfield FISH. At the Newtown Congregational Church, Marie is a Deacon, a member of the Woman’s Fellowship Circle, and Chairman of the Ways & Means and the 300th Anniversary Celebration. She has been involved in many organizations over the years and is now a member of the Newtown Woman’s Club, Philanthropic Education Organizations, Newtown Service Unit of Salvation Amy, Newtown United, Regional Hospice, and Home Care Advantage. 

Ability Beyond is a 501 (3) organization headquartered in Bethel, Conn. and Chappaqua, N.Y. It provides a wide range of services for over 3,000 people with a disability that inhibits their activities of daily living -- including numerous residential alternatives, employment training, career counseling, job placement services, cognitive and life skills instruction, clinical and therapeutic support, and volunteer and recreational activities. Today, its services extend far beyond the Danbury community into much of Connecticut and the Hudson Valley, New York. For more information about Ability Beyond go to

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