Marisa Nuñez, Marisa Hair, Long Island City, NY

Peter Bourque

Counseling Centers of New England

Avon, Connecticut

“The state of Connecticut and the country are facing an addiction epidemic of epic proportions. I need to be able to run a business to help fix this.” –Peter Bourque

As the Owner of the Counseling Centers of New England, Peter Bourque works tirelessly with psychiatric patients suffering from a range of conditions. For him, that passion draws upon the challenges he faced early in life.

Growing up on Long Island, Peter struggled in school, committing truancy to feed progressively worse drinking and drug habits. At 17, he dropped out of school to work in the family cafeteria business. In his early 20s, after years of battling addiction, he discovered a counseling center that he felt saved his life. After becoming sober, Peter got his GED, went to nursing school, worked in pediatric intensive care units, earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees while working, and earned his nurse practitioner license in 2012.

That year, Peter opened Counseling Centers of New England in Avon, Connecticut. I searched for the best clinicians I knew and tried to convince them to join, Peter said, putting his faith in skilled practitioners to deliver the best care, and thereby driving word-of-mouth customer referrals. Four years later, he has more than 1,300 patients, two offices, and fields hundreds of calls a week, all while never having run any advertising.

Despite this success, Peter had to turn to credit cards after being declined by multiple local banks for a loan. In the end, other than my uncle, my loan officer at Ascendus was the first person to help, Peter said. After receiving a loan from Ascendus, Peter had the breathing room to invest in applying for state grants, and put his business cash flow in a reliable, consistent state. His loan was made possible by support from The Hartford, which supports entrepreneurs like Peter who are having a positive impact in their community.

Peter’s personal history and the challenges he’s overcome instilled in him a passion for helping others the way a counseling center changed his life years ago. New England is facing an epidemic of epic proportions in rising drug addiction rates, including more than 3,000 overdoses in Massachusetts alone last year. Peter feels that his business has the ability to help. Without a business, I can’t help address this problem, Peter said. I’m grateful that organizations such as Ascendus exist to help support my dream so that I can continue to change lives.

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