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Message from the President
The summer months represent a time of renewal, when we can spread our wings and expand our own personal horizons. For our clients, this may mean exploring a new hobby—like writing and recording a song through our Phoenix Rising Music Program, participating in a yoga class through Fit for Recovery, or hiking up a mountain as part of our Climb for Recovery event. In this issue, you will learn about these and other special activities that promote wellness and creativity for the men, women, and young people we serve.
As our clients find healthy ways to have fun, we hope you are also taking time to rest and relax. From our family to yours, we thank you for your continued support—and we wish you a safe, happy summer.
Warm regards,Howard P. Meitiner
President & CEO
A Parent’s Guide to Summer Vacation
Summer is well underway, a time of year when the pace slows down for many teens—and underage drinking consistently goes up. With fewer responsibilities and more free time, young people may be more inclined to experiment with alcohol or drugs. So, what can a parent do to ensure their child’s safety? “Don’t relax your standards because it’s summer and there’s no homework,” says Naomi Weinstein, Director of Phoenix House’s Center on Addiction and the Family (COAF). “Just because curfews are later doesn’t mean kids need less supervision.” At the beach or at BBQs in particular, Weinstein urges parents to “be on the alert,” as teens may want to “mimic adult drinking behavior.” “If you find out your child was drunk or getting high, talk to them about it,” she adds, emphasizing the dangers of driving under the influence. Jack Feinberg, Clinical Director of Phoenix Houses of Florida, suggests allaying suspicions by bringing a teen to Phoenix House for drug screening. “You can't always trust over-the-counter tests, but ours are sophisticated enough to detect drug and alcohol use, "I don't think this is an invasion of privacy,” he says. “It's a parent's job to help their children make better choices.”
Pastimes for a New Beginning
According to recent studies, healthy recreational activity can be a significant aid in combating addiction. At Phoenix House, our treatment centers provide various outlets for creativity and exercise, giving clients additional tools as they work toward their recovery.
“Summer is the perfect time to try something new,” says Laurie Delong, Director of our Phoenix House Academy of Austin, which will soon open a music studio where young clients can write and record their own songs. The Austin Academy studio will be the newest addition to our Phoenix Rising Music Program, created by our friend American Idol Judge Kara DioGuardi. At our Los Angeles and Yorktown Academies, teens in treatment have already produced powerful songs of struggle and recovery.
In Orange County, our Fit for Recovery program offers clients a range of fitness courses such as boxing, weight training, hip-hop cardio, and Taibo. “These classes provide another way of finding healthy habits,” says Allison Smith-Conway, our Fit for Recovery Program Manager. “Each program engages both the mind and body.”
This past year, our Phoenix House Academy in East Hampton began offering yoga and martial arts classes. “We teach more than how to throw a kick or a punch,” says Sensei Andrew Sora, who leads our Attitude, Intention, and Motivation (AIM) program. “These kids are learning how to deal with their feelings and emotions. We work to make it easier for them to walk away from confrontations without resorting to violence.”
Whether jamming in the studio or learning a new yoga position, our clients are finding positive ways to enjoy their leisure time. “We’re giving them alternatives to the negative activities they relied on before treatment,” Delong explains.
Climb for Recovery
Last month, over 100 people joined in our annual Climb for Recovery, a celebration of life, health, and wellness in support of Phoenix House of New Hampshire. Phoenix House clients, as well as locals from throughout New Hampshire, spent the morning and early afternoon climbing Mount Monadnock, one of the most trekked mountains in the world.
“Despite the rain, everyone really enjoyed the hike and there was a great turnout,” says Melissa Langill-Chickering, Clinical Director at Phoenix House Academy at Dublin. “Everyone involved was climbing up the mountain in difficult conditions. It was actually very symbolic. Life is not always easy, but you push through to reach the top.”