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Jack Kelly's Story

Created by Lindsey Glass

Jack Kelly's Story

Jack Kelly grew up in Charlestown, graduated from Matignon high school, and obtained a BA from the University of Massachusetts-Boston, majoring in political science. During his time at Matignon Jack, like many kids in his generation, he became addicted to Oxycontin.

Upon graduating, Jack spent several years struggling with his eventual addiction to heroin. At the age of 22, Jack entered into full recovery and joined the Ironworkers, Local 7. In 2006, former Mayor Thomas Menino appointed Jack to serve as his neighborhood coordinator for Charlestown, where he served for over five years helping residents of Charlestown gain access to varied city services. During his tenure, Jack was elected as a delegate to the Democratic national convention in Denver with 92% of the vote and voted for President Obama for the nomination of the Democratic Party.

After successfully serving the people of Charlestown at City Hall, Jack took a position with Mass General Hospital, where he was in charge of developing and managing a grant to reduce rates of HIV, Hepatitis C and STI's (Sexually Transmitted Infections) in high-risk communities. After a year of implementing needed innovative reforms in testing policies to serve high risk communities and helping reduce rates, Jack decided to run for an At-Large seat on the Boston City Council.

Given the historic nature of the Mayoral race, twelve people qualified on the ballot for Mayor and nineteen for City Council At-Large. Jack was one of eight, out of the original nineteen who made it to the finals. Ultimately Jack failed to secure a seat, but garnered over 23 thousand votes citywide, while also being endorsed by the Boston Globe and Planned Parenthood.

Currently, Jack has formed a team of software developers to create a mobile app to help those in recovery find meetings and other services related to addiction relying on data and science. In addition, Jack is a senior advisor to Massachusetts Gubernatorial candidate Joe Avellone and is a senior advisor for the Suffolk District Attorney's office helping create a Youth Advisory Council.

He knows that cycles of drug addiction, crime, violence, and poverty don’t discriminate by neighborhood, by race, by sexual orientation, or by age -- and tries to be a voice of hope for others.


This Story of Hope was created in celebration of recovery and to let families know that there are pathways to hope and healing. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families who are struggling with their son or daughter's substance use. Please consider sharing this page so that families know where to turn to for help, and that there is always hope.

Guest Book


1. Julie
Congratulations to Jack on his recovery.