Working as a team John, Barbara and Joseph provide Gavin with the combination of the professional qualifications, decades of experience in frontline addiction counseling, and personal compassion for the mission that is essential for an organization dedicated to those who are seeking help from alcohol and drug addictions and the Restoration of Dignity. These are the qualities of leadership that must animate all of Gavin Foundation’s programs for us to be successful.

John McGahan, President/ CEO

John has led Gavin Foundation since it was founded in 1994 to work with the criminal justice system to decriminalize addiction. As substance abuse among young people in South Boston reached epidemic proportions, he led the way when Gavin developed two new residential addiction treatment programs for adolescents, Cushing House for Boys and Cushing House for Girls.  In 2008, Gavin merged with Arch Foundation, another South Boston non-profit organization, which shared Board members and mission with Gavin Foundation.

Under John’s leadership, Gavin Foundation has grown at a fast pace and become one of the most respected, trusted, and comprehensive community-based addiction education, prevention, and treatment programs in greater Boston. Expanding programs and adding new services almost every year, Gavin’s budget now exceeds $3 million. Gavin now serves  annually over 3000 youth and adults, in multiple neighborhoods and cities, with outpatient and residential addiction treatment, as well as other programs, and works with families, courts, schools, and the health care system.

John is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC I), Certified Addiction Specialist (CAS), and a Certified Domestic Violence Counselor. He is the Vice President of the MA Recovery Homes Collaborative, sits on the Board of Directors of the Action for Boston Community Development and South Boston Association of Non Profits and is a member of the South Boston Hope & Recovery Coalition. John has received several awards from faith based, local civic and labor organizations for his dedication to improve access and quality of substance abuse treatment.

John and Anne, his wife of 30 years, reside in South Boston. They have two sons, William, a graduate of American University, and, Sean, a graduate of University of Tampa. They most enjoy spending time with family and traveling.  The McGahans are dedicated to the community and can be seen at local events to fight homelessness and improve the quality of life for youth.

Barbara Samek, Clinical Director

Barbara brings 23 years of experience in clinical and counseling services in the substance abuse treatment field to her job here at Gavin providing clinical supervision and support to all direct care staff and Program Managers. Barbara oversees the Center for Recovery Services (CRS), which provides individual and group treatment for adolescents and adults who are struggling with substance abuse, and addiction.

Barbara is a graduate of Westfield State College (majoring in Criminal Justice) and then went on to earn a Masters of Social Work from Simmons College. She also is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC I) and is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW).

Before joining Gavin, Barbara served as a Clinical Social Worker for Dimock Behavioral Health in Roxbury, a Clinical Coordinator at Mentor Clinical Care in Boston, and as a Social Work Intern at both the Boston Veteran’s Administration Medical Center and Brighton-Dimock Early Intervention Program.

Joseph Kelleher, Business Manager

While a newcomer to Gavin Foundation, Joe  is not a stranger to our work, having served at  Hope House for 14 years as the Business Manager and then as Clinical Supervisor. In addition to attending to our finances, Joe brings his experience and qualifications in the frontline of addiction counseling and nonprofit management to Gavin Foundation.  Joseph is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC I) and has completed Substance Abuse Training Course at UMass Boston. Joseph earned a degree in Sociology from Holy Cross and is currently the Practicum Supervisor at UMass Boston for the Substance Abuse Counseling Program.

Joseph was also the Director of the Sullivan House for three years. In addition to his work experience, Joseph is the Treasurer of the Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery (MOAR), he sits on the Board of Directors of Improbable Players, and sits on the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Association of Alcohol and Drug Counselors.