To the Moon and Back, Inc. Awarded $50K Grant at Plymouth ARISE Honors Ceremony

Filed Under: Awards, Philanthropy


PLYMOUTH, MA Issued June 12, 2024… To the Moon and Back, Inc. (TTMAB), Plymouth’s advocacy nonprofit supporting children born with in utero substance exposure and their families, was honored at the Plymouth Addiction Response and Improvement Strategies Effort’s (ARISE) Grantees Honors Ceremony this week, held at Plymouth’s historic Mayflower House. TTMAB was awarded as one of five organizations receiving vital funding to grow their support and programs serving those affected by the opioid crisis.  The ceremony gathered many federal, state, and local dignitaries to honor the grantees, organized by the Town of Plymouth’s Office of Health and Human Services (HHS), its staff, emceed by HHS Commissioner Michelle Bratti.  ARISE aims to increase community engagement and reduce stigma around the topic of opioid and other substance use, while enhancing related services for residents, through its competitive grant funding program.
To the Moon and Back responded to ARISE’s request for proposals from Plymouth-serving nonprofits supporting opioid service-enhancement projects for individuals and families this spring. “When I read this grant application, it made perfect sense to fund To the Moon and Back’s request, because Theresa understands the Plymouth community, and the need for services and support.  If children have access to these early intervention programs, they’ll have the best potential to lead healthy, productive lives,” shares Vinny DeMacedo, Senior Advisor of External Relations at Bridgewater State University, former member of MA Senate (Plymouth/Barnstable) and House of Representatives (1st Plymouth), and ARISE Proposal Review Committee member. “I’ve known Theresa since she was working with my colleague Matt Muratore in legislature. It has always been clear that her passion to help those affected by the opioid epidemic would lead her to champion imperative support on their behalf.”  For the last seven years, To The Moon and Back’s Founder Theresa Harmon, together with volunteers and advocates, have provided valuable leadership through support services, programs, and education for the children of the opioid epidemic, and for those who care for them.
ARISE Award grantees and guests at Mayflower Society House
Plymouth ARISE Honors Ceremony gathered statewide dignitaries, grantees and guests for an honor ceremony at Plymouth’s Historic Mayflower Society House, image by Michelle McGrath PR
To the Moon and Back’s grant proposal outlined the importance of invigorating its effort to continue best practices in care for infants diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).  “There are no standards that serve as the continuum to these children as they grow towards adulthood.  We’d like to develop this standard of care right here in America’s Hometown,” shares Harmon.  “One of the many vital progress facets is to better serve growing children, who are a major risk for decreased cognitive, language, and motor skills scores compared with their peers.”  Research supporting this finding has been expanded in recent years, notably when To the Moon and Back partnered with the Child Trends’ industry expert scientists, lending further evidence to the long-term consequences of in utero substance exposure. 
ARISE grantees (L) and To the Moon and Back's Founder Theresa Harmon and Secretary Rosemary Jensen-Griffin
(L) Plymouth ARISE grant recipients gathered on the steps of the Mayflower Society House in Plymouth during the organization’s Honors Ceremony, (R) To the Moon and Back, Inc.’s Secretary Rosemary Jensen-Griffin and Founder Theresa Harmon (left to right) with their award placard at the ARISE honors Ceremony in Plymouth, images by Michelle McGrath PR


ARISE’s valuable and generous $50K in funding enables TTMAB to expand support and guidance to help growing children through administration staffing, official operating hours, and supported focus. “This is a pivotal moment for our nonprofit.  Hiring a staff member will allow us to connect families with our established resources such as occupational therapy, neuropsychiatric testing, educational advocacy, therapy, psychiatry, and support groups,” says Harmon. Specific needs identified through research were prominent in children ages three to five, who outgrew early intervention and were not receiving services at integrated Preschool (PECC). Harmon continues “We’ll target supporting early intervention and PECC, advocating for caregivers and parents to have the needs of their children better understood by providers.  It will help omit their feeling of isolation and supply new research education to providers in Plymouth. We also hope to utilize our research partners to study the effectiveness of our case management model on improvements in educational, behavioral health, developmental, and physical outcomes for our children.”
Founded in 2017, To the Moon and Back, Inc. originated with a mission to provide for the unmet needs of children born with NAS in Plymouth.  The organization is currently all volunteer, and entirely funded through fundraising and grant allocations, providing all services at no cost to families, spanning babies through children and teens up to age 18.  Its advocacy and support transcends race, religion, ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status.  TTMAB helps families navigate broad substance exposure impacts, including long term developmental, educational, physical, and behavioral health consequences in children.
To the Moon and Back Founder Theresa Harmon, RN, LICSW, is a clinical social worker and nurse working in diverse child welfare, early intervention, and school social work settings. Her efforts launched the organization’s humble beginnings, including a simple support group at the Plymouth Recovery Center, later growing into a registered nonprofit, producing diverse services that fulfill the needs of families on behalf of their children. Today, TTMAB seeks to forge one voice as advocates for children and supports the healthcare industry by producing its annual “Beyond NAS Conference” exploring vital topics of legislative impact, cortical visual impairment, wellness and recovery, children with NAS and Medicaid, intergenerational trauma in children and families, physiological regulation, art as therapy, holistic treatment for trauma, and the role of comfort dogs in the community.
In addition to To the Moon and Back’s award, Plymouth ARISE grantees include Bay State Community Services, Brockton Area Multi-Services, Inc. (BAMSI), High Point Treatment Center, and Plymouth Public Schools, receiving a collective total of more than $250K in crucial funding.
For more information about the initiatives and mission of To the Moon and Back, Inc., or to donate, visit, or follow To The Moon and Back on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @tothemoonma.
About To the Moon and Back, Inc.
Founded in 2017, advocacy nonprofit To the Moon and Back, Inc. (TTMAB), is dedicated to supporting children born with in utero substance exposure and their families, founded by Theresa Harmon, RN, LICSW. As a certified 501(c)3, TTMAB has served as the leader in providing support, education, and advocacy for the youngest victims of the opioid epidemic, and those who care for them.  The organization’s mission is committed to forging one voice as advocates for children.
TTMAB provides an Educational Advocacy Program and support groups (for foster and adoptive parents, relative and non-relative caregivers) of children born with substance exposure or Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), serving as a welcoming resource for caregivers to connect with their peers. Expert speakers educate caregivers and inform communities on the latest in research and best practices. Education programs provide expert speakers and training to industry health providers and social services to guide effective care.
Nurture A Superhero care packages provide carefully cultivated newborn take home kits for children with NAS, provided at discharge from hospitals across the state including Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston Medical Center, Beth Israel Lahey, and UMass Medical Center.
To the Moon and Back, Inc. provides advocacy and recommendations to local and state leaders on the unmet needs and gaps in services for children born with exposure and their caregivers. The organization is committed to supporting legislative progress, aspiring to ensure that children born substance-exposed have every tool needed to thrive.  The nonprofit also champions research, resource, and educational publications, including “The Caregiver’s Guide to NAS & Beyond;” produces an annual Beyond NAS Conference, and funds a Children’s Grant, supporting uncovered family expenses related to in utero substance exposure.
For more information, or to donate, visit, or follow To the Moon and Back on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @tothemoonma.