Community Partner Highlight: Community Connections


In 1984, Helen Bergman and Maxine Harris began Community Connections as a way to provide mental health treatment to those leaving long-term institutionalized care. Throughout their practice they soon realized that aside from mental illness there was an array of other complex issues their patients were dealing with such as addiction, trauma from abuse, and on top if it all - homelessness. Helen and Maxine began expanding their services and treatments to deal with all these different issues they encountered. They knew that in order to provide effective solutions and treatments they would need to discover the root causes to the problems they faced. Through their work, they found that trauma resulting from physical or sexual abuse was a common denominator in a majority of patients. They realized that the initial conditions they sought to treat all seemed to be symptoms caused by trauma.

With this knowledge, Community Connections went on to specialize in developing trauma-specific treatments, publishing numerous books, manuals, and dvds that are used to train clinics and agencies nationwide. The Trauma Recovery and Empowerment Model (TREM) is one of their most well known programs developed in the 1990’s, and today over 1,500 clinicians spanning 20 states are trained in this specific model. In addition to developing treatment programs for patients, they also specialize in training organization staff on understanding impacts of trauma on a person and how to incorporate this understanding into the way they deliver treatment and care.

Being innovative and constantly putting their clients needs first is what has led Community Connections to be a leader at the cutting edge of clinical care. Today, they serve over 4,000 individuals in DC, including 750 underserved, low-income youth. They also operate 50 affordable housing properties that are service-enriched in order to meet their clients continued needs.

It is with excitement and admiration that we welcome Community Connections to the HandUp platform as our first organization in Washington DC!

Community Connections not only provides treatment but they also have youth focused programs that work towards prevention as well. You can check out their first campaign here that will ensure youth can go to school prepared with the supplies they need to feel confident and succeed.

“Many of these children have never felt the enthusiasm of walking into a classroom knowing that they have what they need to succeed.  Something as small as a new backpack or a fresh uniform can give a child the self-esteem that they need to begin the school year ready to learn,” said Community Connections Co-Founder and CEO Dr. Maxine Harris.