Phoenix House Texas Showcases the West Side Story Project

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

West Side Story Project panelPhoenix House Texas proudly showcased a West Side Story Project (WSSP) artistic performance and panel discussion on July 10, 2013 at the Teatro Dallas.

WSSP is funded by the Community Oriented Policing Services Office at the Department of Justice. This project uses themes from the musical West Side Story to promote positive relationships and better communication between young adults and members of the law enforcement community. WSSP facilitates a dialogue between adolescents and police about issues like race, drugs, and gang involvement. The theater partner uses various forms of art–including music, dance, and acting–to express the themes and issues discussed.

The event showcased the talents of our adolescent clients in residential treatment and the collaboration between the teens, police, and theater partner. The adolescents demonstrated the power of using theater to portray the daily struggles of gang violence, substance abuse, and the police.

Adolescents from the academy presented a skit of two opposing gang-affiliated families carrying out a feud, and a life of a teenager being lost. The teens gave personal accounts of how drugs, gang violence, and their interaction with the police affected them before treatment and how WSSP has molded their outlook on drugs, gangs, and the police. After the performance, a panel of law enforcement officials and recovery advocates  continued the discussion, giving the audience an opportunity to give feedback, ask questions, and discuss.

Attendees at the event included the following: adolescents from the Dallas Academy, parents of adolescents, Samantha Peller (Phoenix House Texas WSSP New York coordinator), community partners with Project Youth Alliance, recovery advocate Joe Powell from Association of Persons Affected by Addiction, and panel members Janet Henson and Vonda Freeman from the Dallas County Police Department.

For more information about our substance abuse and mental health treatment programs, or to refer someone in need to Phoenix House Texas, please call our Call Center at 1 888 671 9392. We are here to help you find the information and services you need.

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