After nominating her for the honor, State Rep. Shawn Dooley, R-Norfolk, presented Barbara Gillmeister, a Wrentham resident and the founder of Gilly’s House, with the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women’s 2019 Unsung Heroine Award at a ceremony at the Statehouse recently.
This prestigious award celebrates women in Massachusetts who are tireless advocates for improving their respective communities and who dedicate their time, talent, and enthusiasm to enrich the lives of others.
Gilly’s House is a residential program for young men who have struggled with addiction and want to continue their recovery. Fostering personalized and collaborative relationships with each individual, Gilly’s House offers a stable, structured and safe environment where these men can develop and achieve goals as well as learn the life skills necessary to not only re-enter the community but live a successful life of sobriety.
In October of 2016, Gillmeister lost her son, Steven, to a drug overdose. Since this tragedy, Gillmeister has worked tirelessly to address drug addiction in the Wrentham and King Philip communities so that no more families experience such a profound loss in their lives. Barbara founded Gilly’s House in Wrentham in honor of her son and has worked since to ensure Gilly’s House achieves its mission of helping young men overcome addiction and equip them with the life skills needed to succeed.
Gillmeister is also a member of the SAFE coalition, which seeks to support those with substance use disorder. In tackling this critical issue, Gillmeister also maintains a full-time job traveling around the area to teach visually impaired students.
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