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Phoenix House News & Views
Phoenix House

August, 2011

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Phoenix House News & Views | Family Edition

 Message from the President

Dear friends,

Family involvement in substance abuse treatment can truly work wonders. Here at Phoenix House, families come in all shapes and sizes; they include friends, mentors—even dogs and horses. The important thing is that they provide support, comfort, and encouragement for those struggling to find recovery.

In this issue, you’ll learn about the four-legged family members that teach teens about respect and caretaking in our Animal Therapy program in San Diego. You’ll meet the “big brothers” of the Young Men’s Committee in Brooklyn, and you’ll hear from Lauren and Mariela, two courageous young clients whose family members motivated them to overcome their addictions.

I hope you enjoy these inspiring stories.  We are fortunate to have the support of our own Phoenix House family, and that includes friends like you.

Warm regards,

Howard P. Meitiner
President and CEO

Our Furry (and Feathered) Family Members

With Yale Law School piloting a therapy dog-lending program, animals are growing a reputation as valuable sources of inspiration and comfort for us humans. At the Phoenix House Academy of San Diego, students and staff agree with this positive trend—and so do the Academy’s three cats, two dogs, eight chickens, and pot-bellied pig. Academy teens also spend time with horses by participating in an equestrian program at the nearby Horse of the Sun Ranch.

Even the most hesitant students welcome these animals as part of their daily lives—they offer to care for them, help them, and play with them. “These animals aren’t penned up,” says Senior Counselor Antonet O’Toole. “They’re part of us. It’s a wonderful sense of extended family. We try to establish here that there’s more than one way to be a family.”

Click here to read more about our Animal Therapy program.

Phoenix House Career Academy's "Big Brothers"

Through their support, enthusiasm, and community service, the members of the Young Men’s Committee (YMC) serve as leaders and role models for all of the clients at the Phoenix House Career Academy in Brooklyn. This year, they participated in First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Initiative at the Harlem’s Children’s Zone, worked on the public art mural at P.S. 102 in Brooklyn, and braved the winter months to serve the homeless on New York City streets.

To learn more about their inspiring leadership efforts,click here.

Visit us on Tumblr

You may already be part of our Twitter and Facebookcommunities, but now, you can also connect with us on the powerful visual platform, Tumblr.  Our new Tumblr blog, “Phoenix House: An Inside Look,”features images, videos, and the latest happenings from across our programs. We’re proud to introduce this addition to our social networks—and we hope you’ll stop by to browse and share your favorite posts with friends.

Spotlight: Mariela
I started using cheese heroin when I was 13, and it became my life. I did it at my house, at my school, and I would buy it off of my friends. Eventually my cousin and I got caught using, and my mom and aunt sent us to the Phoenix House Feinberg Academy of Dallas to get help. At first, I couldn’t wait to get out and start using again. I thought, “You’re not going to change me. Nobody can change me.”  
In the end, it was my family that changed my mind. My counselor said, “You see your family here every week, showing up to the family groups because they love you and support you and want you to beat this. Don’t you want to go home with them?” That was it—I realized I had to change, not just for myself, but for my family. To read more of Mariela’s journey, click here.

Teen Songwriting Contest

Do you know a creative teen? Channel those talents into songwriting for the MusiCares and GRAMMY Foundation'sTeen Substance Abuse Awareness through Music Contest in collaboration with National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). This contest is particularly exciting for the young clients in ourPhoenix Rising Music Program, created by Grammy Award-winning singer / songwriter Kara DioGuardi. After all, 18-year-old Vera Marquardt, a client at ourPhoenix House Academy of Los Angeles, won third place last year!Click here to find out more about this fantastic opportunity.

"Just Like Me" Project

We are pleased to be participating in “Just Like Me,” a chronicle of addiction and the transformation of recovery. This innovative collaboration between the young women of the Phoenix House Lake Ronkonkoma Mother and Child Program and acclaimed photographer and educator, Rob Goldman, profiles a group of young mothers as they share their stories. Through the presentation of their experiences, audiences will realize that these young women are “just like me,” even though their circumstances and life choices led them to addiction. Click here to learn more.

For Me | For a Teen | For a Loved One

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