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Norwalker Moves in a 'Positive Direction'

Polly Lynch of Norwalk was on a Y2K compliance team in 1999, helping to keep corporate computer systems from failing. Today her position is vastly different. But the job is still, in it's own way, about preventing crashes.

Lynch is the development director for Positive Directions , a nonprofit organization in Westport offering addiction counseling and educational services. Her job is to keep the funds flowing, largely through grants and private donations.

“It isn't a typical 9-to-5 job where you close the door when you go home for the day and that's it,” Lynch says in a small conference room at Positive Directions. The Department of Children and Families just finished a regular inspection the previous week as part of the nonprofit's licensing, she says. “Sometimes I wake up at 2 a.m. just thinking about all of the things that have to get done. There are a lot of deadlines and grants out there.”

Without someone finding the funds and increasing the awareness, Positive Directions would help fewer people. Lynch says the group has clients across Fairfield County and she doesn't want money to be a barrier to recovery. “We're often the only option some people can afford. People know they then can refer someone to us no matter their financial situation,” Lynch says. “We don't want money to be a barrier to getting help.”

“We subsidize so much of the treatment that raising enough money is really a challenge,” she says. “We have to find that money somewhere.”

Some money filters in from government sources, and Lynch says the state has been a good partner. But most of the funds come as private donations from churches and organizations such as the United Way and Rotary Clubs.

To keep the system running, Lynch reaches out to find more sponsors and keep up awareness. She has advice for anyone looking to help. “Go to our website , fan us on Facebook or volunteer,” she says.

She doesn't imagine she could ever return to the corporate world. “It's about the people,” she says of Positive Directions.

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