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Meet Amy Busch and Emily Solomon of Dennis Messing Memorial Foundation in Hyde Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amy Busch and Emily Solomon.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
The opiate epidemic has hit Boston hard and for a long time, I wanted to start a foundation to help in some way. We were losing so many of our friends and felt helpless. After I lost my cousin, I knew I had to put this plan into action. A friend of ours, Stevie, was struggling and needed to go to treatment but had no funds. I started a GoFundMe and raised some money quickly. Dennis Messing’s wife, Kim, had raised some money in memory of him from a golf tournament and had some left over. We combined the amounts and were able to send Stevie to a 12 step treatment center. The Dennis Messing Memorial Foundation was then created. We became a 501c3 and are completely run by volunteers. Over the past three years, we have sent over 100 applicants to treatment and have helped many others. We also work with families through the process and offer as much assistance to them as we can.

We always thought about how many children and families were affected by this epidemic and how we could better help them. In 2016, we created DMMF Kids! This branch of DMMF helps any children left behind, whether their parents are no longer with us or they are in active addiction and unable to provide. We have helped children with school supplies, Christmas gifts, dance lessons, summer camp, and more! Unfortunately, there are SO many children who suffer because of this disease so we feel it’s the least we can do to help put a smile on their face.

We run fundraisers for both DMMF and DMMF Kids annually. We rely solely on donations, sponsors for our events, and volunteers to make these fundraisers happen. We put a lot of work (and sweat and tears) into these fundraisers but there is no greater feeling when the day is done and we know we will be able to help many applicants get to a treatment center we truly feel can help save their life. We got where we are today by not only hard work, but the support we have received and continued to receive from our family’s, friends, and even strangers who hear about our foundation and want to help in any way they can. We are really very grateful for all the support we have received and the continued opportunity to help others.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
We would say this road has been anything but smooth, but it has been an amazing journey! Asking anyone for money isn’t the easiest and most comfortable thing. And since we are a grassroots foundation completely run by volunteers we rely on donations. It can be difficult for us to continuously ask the same people to keep donating over and over. We try our best to market and share the information about our events to target a larger population, but that can be hard without paying for marketing. We have also found that some people do not want to donate the money knowing where it is going. In this situation, we try our best to educate on what we know about the disease of alcoholism and addiction and how the 12 step process, for us, is the only thing that has ever worked.

When working in this field, unfortunately, something we see often relapses. The biggest bump in the road we have experienced was last fall when our Director of Operations, Steven Benson, relapsed. Unfortunately, he did not make it back and passed away in November 2017. He was the third leg of our tripod. We spent so many hours together planning, running events, having meetings, and then we lost our brother. As he would want, we picked up and carried on as best we could. We had to take over the application process completely, and we have dedicated our last 3 events to Stephen. Thankfully, we have had several friends step up and step in and help us run these events and carry DMMF on so that we can best serve others. We carry him with us and know he is with us at every meeting we have an event we put on.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Dennis Messing Memorial Foundation story. Tell us more about this foundation.
The Dennis Messing Memorial Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit made up of volunteers. We provide financial assistance, support, and resources to those struggling with alcoholism and drug addiction and their families. We send applicants to 12 step treatment centers and houses that we have personally toured. Everyone who is a part of DMMF is in recovery(however it’s not a requirement!) and we all have gotten sober by going through the 12 steps so we firmly believe in this process. Unfortunately, these treatment centers and sober houses are not paid for by insurance and are completely out-of-pocket. We work with these treatment centers to scholarship the applicants so that they can get the help they need when they don’t have the financial means to do so. We have fundraisers varying from sporting events, comedy shows, walks, to breakfast with Santa. All funds raised go directly to those we help.

What we are most proud of is when we see an applicant change in front of our eyes, to see them finish treatment and continue to grow and live this way of life. The most beautiful thing is witnessing children and parents being reunited, families being brought back together. There is no better feeling than when a parent, spouse, or sibling reaches out to us and lets us know we had a hand in helping save their family member’s life. Watching the applicant who was broken and willing to do anything to get better, continue with that willingness and come back and help us with the foundation is another beautiful thing. Liz Loud (HI LIZ!) was a recipient in 2016 of the scholarship and she has come back and helped us more than we could ever ask for. She is at every meeting, an event, volunteering her time and giving back. We were able to watch her reunite with her son, Eaghan, and rebuild her relationship with her mother. It’s things like this that help keep our hearts full and remind us that we are making a difference when some days it feels like the epidemic is defeating us.

What sets us apart from others is our branch of DMMF Kids. We don’t believe there is another foundation like ours in Massachusetts and honestly, we feel it is almost underutilized. We have had quite a few applicants and have been able to help many children, but knowing how many are truly affected by this epidemic we would love to get the word out there that this is available for those kids in need. We are having our third annual Walk for Hope on October 20, 2018, in Hyde Park. This event children can dress up and trick or treat, decorate and take home a pumpkin. The event is free but we ask to form a team and help raise money for your team. Check out our website for more information!!!

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Well… we aren’t sure if we believe in good and bad luck. We believe this journey has unfolded exactly how it was supposed to when it was supposed to. Everything has happened in God’s time, not ours, we have been given the help we need when we need it, everything seems to work out as long as we keep putting in the work. This is the basis of the entire 12 steps, we do the groundwork and put in the action and God takes care of us, we continue to try to do the right thing and good things happen for the foundation. Of course, we have had struggles and pain, we can’t help everyone who applies, we have lost a member of our own, but we can’t let that deter us from our goal of helping as many people as we can.

We believe everything in our live’s leading up to getting sober had to happen, whether it was good or bad, lucky or unlucky, fair or unfair. Everything that has happened has directed us to where we are today. And the same goes for the journey of this foundation, we can call it good luck, we can call it blessings, but whatever it is we are GRATEFUL for it.

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