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Westport's Positive Directions Names New Executive Director

Basil Hero
Basil Hero Photo Credit: Provided

WESTPORT, Conn. — Positive Directions, The Center For Prevention and Counseling, has named Basil Hero, a longtime Westport and Weston resident, as its new executive director.

The nonprofit prevention and counseling center, serving Fairfield County since 1971, also announced a new five-year contract with the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to address substance abuse in the town of Fairfield.

Hero served most recently as the vice president of marketing and communications at Asia Society, an organization forging educational ties between Asians and Americans.

“Basil brings a sophisticated understanding of the interconnected role of government, the private sector and the nonprofit community and how these players work to advance policy goals,” Positive Directions' board President Lynn Abramson said in a press release.

“Our agency has played a vital role in the mental health community for more than 40 years,” Hero said in a press release.

Hero takes over from Marty Hauhuth, a former Westport first selectwoman who was Positive Direction’s executive director for 24 years.

Historically, Positive Directions has focused its prevention initiatives in the 3 Ws -- Westport, Wilton and Weston.

Wendy Bentivegna, Positive Directions director of prevention who will be administering the Fairfield programs in partnership with the Fairfield Cares Community Coalition, expects that during the five-year program teenage alcohol and other drug use will decrease.

“I can’t emphasize enough the importance of prevention education programs -- they work,” Hero said in a press release. “That’s why we’re also increasing the number of workshops for our nationally acclaimed Creating Lasting Family Connections program, which is targeting the parents of fifth- to eighth-graders in Fairfield and the 3 Ws. Those are critical transition years -- from tween to teen, middle school and beyond -- and our facilitators work with parents to help their children lay the foundation for resisting negative influences.”

Positive Directions will begin offering its six-week Creating Lasting Family Connections workshops starting Tuesday, Oct. 6, at its Westport location, 420 Post Road West. Click here for more details.

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