Saving lives, rebuilding families, restoring communities Spring 2006
New Center Offers Fresh Approach to Treating Teens
The paint is dry, the furniture is assembled, individual therapy and coun-
and the classrooms are stocked with school seling, family therapy,
supplies. In the next few weeks the first res- onsite high school, and
idents of Odyssey House’s teen center will access to inter-agency medical
be moving in to a brand new building de- services, vocational counseling
signed just for them. and job development, sports
In a bold new approach to treating troubled and recreational programs.
teens, Odyssey House is opening an innovative The program is built around
treatment center for youth with substance the therapeutic community (TC)
abuse and related problems, such as emotional model, one of the most success-
or behavioral disorders, who can best be helped ful treatment regimens for long-
in small group environment. term substance abusers who
Treatment services offered at the 16-bed need extensive rehabilitation.
center include: The TC utilizes a peer-driven,
intensive individual case management, hierarchical structure of work New start for troubled teens: Center will focus on
Continued on page 3 treating adolescents in a small group environment.
Inside this issue:
Sets the Pace pg. 2
GIANTS We Are Family: ElderCare
Program Receives Families
MAKE A for a Day pg. 2
PLAY Story Time at Odyssey
House pg. 3
FOR Odyssey House
BOOKS Linebacker Antonio Pierce reads with Family Center youngsters.
See story page 3
Services pgs. 4-5
Client Referrals, Admissions Reach Record High
Odyssey House Salutes
The admissions depart- tor of admissions, credits these people about the agency’s serv-
Program Graduates pg. 6
ment is the frontline of increases to her team’s success ices for families, teens, seniors,
treatment. Every day a ded- in reaching special populations and homeless individuals. Supporting Innovative
icated team of outreach – such as women with children “We focus on setting and Treatment Services: Board
and intake specialists get and senior citizens – who can achieving certain target outreach Chairman announces new
the word out about the be overlooked by traditional goals each month,” Ms. Beman trustees pg. 7
range of treatment options treatment programs more used said. “We believe that the more
available at Odyssey House to helping single adults. people we reach the better.”
and motivate people to get She said that good rela-
Emphasis on Outreach
serious about recovery. tionships with a variety of
Using a range of communi-
In the last two years refer- referral sources and an inter-
cation methods from site visits,
rals have increased by 43 per- view admission process that
mailings, and telephone calls,
cent and admissions by 22 runs smoothly have also con-
outreach workers educate
percent. Jamie Berman, direc- tributed to the high numbers.
Page 2 Odyssey House news
Marathon Team Sets the Pace
Training and participating in the New York City Marathon is
an important motivational tool for many Odyssey House
residents. For 41-year-old Renee Shepard running helped her
return to a state of physical and mental well-being she says
she lost during her battle with addiction.
The first female resident to run in the New York City
Marathon, Renee joined 19 Odyssey House clients, staff mem-
bers, and supporters in completing the 2005 New York City
Today, Renee considers running an important part of her
“I feel good when I run,” she said. “As time goes by I be- The Odyssey House marathon team from left to right: (top) William
come stronger both physically and mentally. It’s like a form Walsh, Curtis Jenkins, and Eddie Bryant, (bottom) Elijah Campbell
of mental therapy — the adrenaline rush and release of endor- and Renee Shephard.
phins help with my feelings of depres-
sion and leaves me with a sense of Achilles Track Club
accomplishment.” Provides Marathon
Team member Elijah Campbell,
a 21-year-old in treatment at the Odyssey
Team with Skills for
House Leadership Center, agreed. Positive Change
He said that crossing the finish line Odyssey House and the Achilles Track
during the marathon was an amazing Club have teamed up for the past five years
experience. to help Odyssey House residents train for
Support for runners the New York City Marathon.
John Tavolacci, chief operating offi- Every week leading up to race day, the
cer at Odyssey House, spearheaded Odyssey House marathon team followed a
the marathon team’s fundraising ef- structured health and fitness regimen and From left to right: Achilles Track Club Vice
forts. All 20 runners on the team com- ran with Odyssey House staff, Achilles vol- President Mary Bryant, Founder Dick Traum
and volunteer Nell Hanks, with Odyssey House
pleted the race and raised over $15,000 unteers, and supporters in pre-Marathon
Chief Operating Officer John Tavolacci.
in donations. charity races.
“Physical well-being has a positive This year they also participated in Skills for a Positive Change, a new group therapy
impact on the recovery process,” Mr. program designed to establish a connection between running a marathon and managing
Tavolacci said. “Recreational activities, life. Nell Hanks, a mental health counselor and volunteer with the Achilles Track Club,
like running, help residents stay fit, de- developed the program.
velop self confidence by achieving per- “I don’t think any of us could have completed the marathon without Nell’s guidance
sonal goals, and feel like they are a part and enthusiastic support,” said team member William Walsh, a 26-year-old in treatment
of something larger.” at Odyssey House.
We Are Family: ElderCare Program Receives Families for a Day
More than 75 family mem- about the treatment process
bers and friends joined res- and how they can support “There were no strangers that day —
idents at the Odyssey House their loved ones recovery,” we were all one big family”
ElderCare program for a day said James Waldron, deputy
filled with information director of the ElderCare Odyssey House family,” said entertainment. The room was
about Odyssey House pro- program. “We were surprised Janice Jefferson, a 55-year-old filled with parents, siblings,
grams and services, fam- and pleased by the tremen- in treatment at the ElderCare children, grandchildren, and
ily reunifications, poetry dous turnout.” program. “There were no even a couple of great grand-
and dance performances, Positive familial relation- strangers that day — we were children. Some family mem-
singing, and a luncheon. ships play an integral part in all one big family.” bers traveled from as far as
“We thought it would be the recovery process. ElderCare residents played Virginia to attend the event
rewarding for the family mem- “I had a great time intro- an active role in planning the and visit with their loved one.
bers of residents to learn ducing my family to my event and provided all of the
Spring 2006 Page 3
NY Giants’ Star Scores a Local Harlem Performer Visits
Touchdown for Reading
Antonio Pierce, starting linebacker for the New York Giants,
called it his post-season highlight — sharing some favorite
children’s books with the smallest residents of the Family
Center in East Harlem.
The star football player’s visit was a big hit with the more than
30 preschoolers and toddlers at the center who quietly listened as
he read some well-loved stories and then joined in with a lively
sing-along. For his part, Mr. Pierce said he was impressed with
the enthusiasm of the children who shared their books with him,
“it’s great to see how even the little two-year-olds already enjoy
books. I could tell they get lots of positive encouragement to
become early readers.”
Encouraging children to develop a love of reading is a goal of
Story Time at Odyssey House and one which is shared with the
Giants’ “Read Across America” initiative.
“The children of addicted parents are often overlooked. In
Miss Mellie Rainbow was the first guest reader during Story Time
their short lives, they have already faced poverty, unstable home
at Odyssey House. She is a vibrant performer and story teller, who
situations, and parents with severe drug and alcohol problems — helps children connect to their imagination through reading,
an unpromising start to their futures,” said Cecilia Scott, director writing, art, and singing. Her fun and interactive performance
of the Family Center program. “During their time at Odyssey helped the children in the Family Center program develop a love
House, while they are safe and well cared-for, we strive to equip of stories.
them for the challenges they will face after they leave.”
Story time at Odyssey House is part of the Odyssey House parents, and get parents excited about the benefits of reading so
children’s library and literacy program. The goal of the program they will continue to support reading habits and act as role
is to bring the joy of reading to children in treatment with their models.
Center Offers Fresh Approach to Treating Teens
Continued from page 1
and earned privileges that “is an evolutionary step from in a building that occupies less
motivates residents to take re- earlier treatment models that than 9,000 sq feet on a busy
sponsibility for their actions, were mostly adult treatment street in the Hunts Point
discourages anti-social behavior, programs with educational Section of the South Bronx;
and fosters a supportive envi- services. ensuring the architectural
ronment where residents feel “It’s very exciting to open design was in keeping with a
safe to develop new ways of a new program designed ex- residential city neighborhood;
living. clusively for teens. Research and staying within a tight
In the new center this tra- supports the efficacy of treat- budget.
ditional TC approach will ing troubled adolescents in a Odyssey House chief fi-
be bolstered by enhanced psy- small, highly-structured set- nancial and administrative of-
chiatric treatment, family ting. A close-knit team of spe- ficer, Durga Vallabhaneni,
intervention services, and an cially trained staff who headed up the project and
investment in education and understand adolescent devel- worked closely with New
job skills development to pre- opment issues will provide York State Office of The state-of-the-art building
pare youngsters to move on in these youngsters with the edu- Alcoholism and Substance that houses the new teen treat-
their lives. cational and social skills sup- Abuse Services to squeeze out ment program is located in the
port they need to get back on any discretionary costs with- Hunts Point section of the South
Turning teens around Bronx.
track,” he said. out compromising the overall
Odyssey House President,
quality of the construction. tained, and keep our neighbors
Peter Provet Ph.D., said the Custom construction
“It is an agency-wide pri- happy,” Mr. Vallabhaneni
development of a family-like, Some of the biggest chal-
ority to ensure our buildings said. “This new building ac-
but service-rich environment lenges the design team faced
look good, are well main- complishes all three.”
for drug involved adolescents were: creating a sense of space
Page 4 Odyssey House news
ODYSSEY HOUSE COMMUNITY-BA
Odyssey House offers a continuum of care that assists residents as they transition back into
the community. Intensive residential treatment, combined with continuing care services, pro-
vide the most successful way to help people with substance abuse problems maintain their
recovery. Ongoing support services, such as housing, employment, and legal assistance, begin
before a resident leaves residential treatment and are continued in outpatient services.
Outpatient services — flexible and family friendly
Outpatient chemical de-
leaving … pendency services offers
the best environment for
The transition from focused, practical advice
treatment to independ- and peer-group support
ent living is one of the for people who need a
most critical phases place where they can
for people in the early address day-to-day chal-
stages of recovery. lenges that threaten their
To help residents long-term sobriety.
manage this period as Victor Gonzalez, director
smoothly as possible, of Odyssey House Outpatient
Odyssey House coun- Services, says that whether
selors have developed clients are transitioning from
this completion- residential treatment back
readiness checklist: into society, or seeking to
manage their recovery entire-
Attend workshops Wanda Shaw meets with her counselor at the Outpatient Program.
ly while remaining in their
that focus on daily own home, Odyssey House cents, and seniors. Services groups and brings her chil-
living skills can offer them the appropri- include: individual, group, dren with her when she come
Develop a relapse ate level of care. and family counseling; re- for sessions.
prevention plan “It doesn’t matter if some- lapse prevention workshops, “I really recommend
Attend family one’s been clean six months health education, and anger Odyssey House Outpatient
counseling sessions or six years — we can support management classes; voca- Services. The counselors here
Be gainfully their recovery goals with in- tional and educational evalu- are wonderful and offer gen-
employed tensive intervention services, ations; and health care uine care and concern. It’s
Open a bank account or focus on specific individ- services. Clients are also of- like we are one giant family,”
and have $1000 in ual and family concerns,” he fered the opportunity to join she said. “Even when I com-
savings said. “We treat people who in recreational activities, such plete the program I plan
Find appropriate have just completed detoxifi- as picnics and outings to local on still visiting — I’m not
housing cation, have been referred by amusement parks and cultur- going anywhere.”
Establish an external the criminal justice system al events. Bilingual services are
support network or social service agencies, available and program hours
(AA, NA, or church) Drug Free Lifeline
or live in the community and include day and evening
Establish leisure time For Wanda Shaw, the
are looking for help in stay- options. The program recent-
activities center is an essential lifeline.
ing clean.” ly added buprenorphine ther-
Plan to attend Since leaving residential treat-
The Bronx-based center apy and counseling services
outpatient ment a year ago, Ms. Shaw
provides specialized alcohol to its growing number of
counseling has been a regular participant
and drug abuse treatment treatment services.
in the family counseling
services for families, adoles-
Spring 2006 Page 5
ASED EXTENDED CARE SERVICES
Helping Hand With Housing Odyssey House Helps Families
One of the greatest chal- issues have helped over 40
Prepare for Life After Treatment
lenges people face in the homeless residents secure
early stages of recovery is appropriate housing since When 47-year-
finding safe and secure October 2005. old Luis Bacenet
housing. “It’s difficult to find hous- came to Odyssey
Maintaining a healthy home ing in New York City in gen- House for treat-
is the number one priority of eral. It’s even more difficult ment almost
residents starting out on their for Odyssey House residents two years ago
own after completion of an in- to find housing because their he knew he
tensive treatment experience. history of substance abuse is wanted to par-
But the hurdles in finding an often accompanied by a histo- ticipate in the
affordable new home in a safe ry of homelessness, a lack of Family Re-
neighborhood can be over- references, a criminal record Entry program
whelming for many residents. or bad credit,” said Debra so he could take
To help them overcome Hurd, housing counselor. care of his 12-
these barriers, Odyssey House Ms. Hurd helped year-old son.
offers residents a range Gwendolyn Hearn, a 42-year- When his wife
of housing services from old mother of two, secure a passed away
two bedroom apartment for Luis Bacenet and his son Christopher have been
supervised housing for fami- and he gained in the Family Re-Entry program for 5 months.
lies re-entering society to her family in the Bronx. She temporary cus- Bacenet is a single dad who is learning how to
transitional housing for home- said with young children to tody of his son, be a good parent and manage a household.
less individuals. take care of it was really help- Luis knew this
Supported by a $2 million ful to have someone advocate was his chance to be a real dad. He knew the Family Re-Entry
grant from the federal govern- on her behalf. program would help prepare him for the challenge.
ment’s Substance Abuse and “This will be the first time The Family Re-Entry program offers parents in treatment at
Mental Health Services I’ve maintained an apartment the Odyssey House Family Center of Excellence support in the
Administration (SAMHSA), while sober, but I feel ready. transition period from residential treatment to independent
Odyssey House is now able to I’m ready to move out and re- living. The program has twenty supportive housing apartments
provide assistance with hous- join society,” Ms. Hearn said. in the Bronx and offers support services that include child care,
ing placement for homeless group and individual counseling, and case management.
persons who are in Odyssey Parents attend budget management and independent living
House residential or outpa- self-help groups, advanced parenting and home economics
tient treatment programs. classes, and are encouraged to participate in sober social events
run by local community groups.
Finding a home
“This type of support is particularly important for the par-
“We’ve known for some
ents and children in Odyssey House programs,” said
time that people who leave
Concepcion Pacheco, program director. “Many are learning
residential treatment without
how to be good parents for the first time. They are easily over-
a home to go to are in real
whelmed by things that most of us consider routine.”
danger of being back on the
Parents remain in the Family Re-entry program from three
streets and being exposed to
months to over a year. Nilamon Santos has been in treatment
illegal drugs. Thanks to
at Odyssey House for 20 months. She has been in the Family
SAMHSA we now have addi-
Re-entry program for seven months. During that time she de-
tional resources to help allevi-
veloped parenting and life management skills and began train-
ate this problem,” said Detlef
Gwendolyn Hearn worked with ing to become a HIV counselor. She is working on gaining full
Von Hahn, director of outpa- housing counselors Jocelyn time custody of her two children.
tient and housing services. Feliciano Watson (pictured
“It’s nice to come home and know that my neighbors are my
Newly hired counselors here) and Debra Hurd to secure
a brand new two bedroom support system. That is a great asset,” Santos said.
that focus solely on housing
apartment in the Bronx.
Page 6 Odyssey House news
Odyssey House Salutes Program Graduates
Graduation is a special event at Odyssey House. All residents that successfully
complete the residential treatment program are invited to attend this impor-
tant occasion where they have an opportunity to share stories about their
treatment experience and future plans with family and friends, as well as peers
who are still in treatment. In 2005, Odyssey House had over 110 graduates.
at the Odyssey
graduation Graduates eagerly await the start of the ceremony. Children from the Odyssey House Family Center of
Fifty former residents attended the Odyssey House Excellence gave a stellar singing performance at
MABON facility graduation. the Manor facility graduation.
Samantha Sobers, a graduate from the Teen
Leadership Center, with family members.
Samantha Sobers accepts her graduation certifi-
cate from Cesar Sepulveda, director of the Teen
Paul Goldreyer, a graduate from the Odyssey
Behavioral Health Care Residence, poses with
family members who attended the special event.
Spring 2006 Page 7
Supporting Innovative Treatment Services
Chairman announces new trustees to Odyssey House and Odyssey Foundation
Calling them “an invaluable source of sup- work, dedication, and optimism of the clients in
port for the thousands of men, women, and treatment.” At Lehman Brothers, he is respon-
children who each year rely on our pro- sible for biotechnology and healthcare services.
grams to save their lives,” Mr. Rosenfeld As a litigator in the fields of libel, First
said he was pleased to welcome four out- Amendment and copy-
standing individuals to the boards of right law, Michael N.
Odyssey House and Odyssey Foundation. Pollet has participated
Joining the agency as trustees of both in several cases be-
Odyssey House and Odyssey Foundation are: fore the U.S. Supreme
Adele R. Fader, Grant Miller, and Michael N. Court. He was most re-
Pollet. Andrew J. McKelvey is joining the board cently the general
of Odyssey Foundation. counsel to Consumer
Reports, a monthly
Adele R. Fader brings a wealth of communi-
ty service spanning magazine with a circu-
It is the mission of
more than 20 years of lation of more than 4.5
Odyssey House to:
involvement in educa- million readers, a posi-
tion and literacy pro-
grams. In 2005, she
tion he retired from in 2005. A co-author of sev-
eral legal books ranging from the U.S. Supreme Provide comprehen-
was named Outstand- Court to baseball, Mr. Pollet is also the founder sive and innovative
ing Volunteer of the and chief advisory editor of Media and the Law, services to the broad-
Year by Westchester a bi-monthly newsletter. est range of metro
Jewish Community A successful entrepreneur and businessman, New York’s popula-
Services in recognition Andrew J. McKelvey, tion who abuse
of her work at A is the founder, chair- drugs, abuse alcohol,
Different Start, a read- man and CEO of have mental illness.
ing program she designed and conducted to Monster Worldwide
help foster an appreciation of reading among
very young mothers and pregnant teens.
Incorporated, an inter-
national $1 billion in- Provide high quali-
Grant Miller, senior vice president at the in- ternet recruitment and ty, holistic treatment
ternational banking advertising company. impacting all major
firm Lehman Brothers, He is also a generous life spheres: psycho-
says his interest in supporter of educa- logical, physical, so-
Odyssey House started tional and medical in- cial, family, educa-
“a couple of years ago stitutions and is the tional, and spiritual.
and grew from a belief founder of Americans for Gun Safety, a non-
that there should be a
holistic approach to re-
partisan, not-for-profit and advocacy organiza-
tion that works to keep guns out the hands of
Support personal re-
covery and rehabilita- criminals and children.
and family restora-
tion. An idea,” Mr.
Miller said, “that was
cemented after visiting
several facilities and seeing firsthand the hard Throughout its activi-
ties, Odyssey House
undertakes to act as a
and member of the
Give to the “Friends of Odyssey House” campaign
community and to
online at www.odysseyhouseinc.org manage the assets of
or contact us at: the organization in a
Odyssey Foundation, 95 Pine Street, New York, NY. Tel: 212-361-1609. professional manner.
Page 8 Odyssey House news
95 Pine Street
New York, NY 10005
Odyssey House Community-Based Services
Founded in 1967, Odyssey House is an Enhanced Therapeutic Community
(TC) providing innovative services and programs for a broad population of
drug-troubled individuals and families, including:
Mothers & children Mentally ill chemical abusers (MICA)
Pregnant women Single adults
Adolescents Court mandated clients
Elders (55 years and older) Homeless adults
Odyssey House runs the largest and oldest parent and child residential
TC program in the country and the only residential and outpatient TC
program for senior citizens.
For more information about Odyssey House programs, call
212-987-5100 or visit us online at www.odysseyhouseinc.org