This year, residents at the Phoenix House Academy in Los Angeles got a Valentine’s Day gift that they really love: a new soccer field with freshly planted grass, new goals, uniforms, and balls. Staff and students, dressed in their new white and green uniforms, played a series of friendly games during the official opening ceremony on February 13. Erroll Smith, Administrative Director of the Academy, acted as goalie, while Recreation Manager, Cristina Kula, donned a white uniform for the first game to help the students score goals.
Physical activity is a vital element of recovery and having a strong fitness and wellness program is one of the hallmarks of the Phoenix House Academy treatment model. These adolescent residential treatment programs offer flexible length of stay for substance abuse and mental health treatment. Teens receive comprehensive therapy, family services, and attend an accredited high school. Amidst all of these activities, we do not forget the old Latin saying: mens sana in corpore sano (“a sound mind in a sound body”).
Cristina Kula said of the new pitch: “We are so very happy to have this new soccer field installed in our Academy. Now we will be able to play intramural sports, assign groups of residents to teams and have them play games. Team sports are very important in teaching sportsmanship and teamwork to youth recovering from this most solitary of illnesses, addiction.”
We are grateful for the support of former Councilman Richard Alarcon who provided funding for the soccer field. Sequoia Landscape of Encino, a company specializing in landscaping and irrigation, completed the work under the leadership of Jose Munoz, the foreman in charge of the soccer field project. Farid Rasekhi, Director of Facilities, coordinated the work for Phoenix House, assisted by Ubaldo Flores and the maintenance team. Uniforms and balls were donated by Pouria Abbassi, Senior Vice President and Regional Director of Phoenix House California.
If you or your loved one needs help in dealing with substance abuse issues in the Los Angeles area, please call 1 888 671 9392.