After thirteen years of serving women with children, Phoenix House Santa Fe Springs facility is closing its doors. The final graduation was held on Saturday, April 14, 2012 when twenty women joined the proud ranks of Phoenix House graduates – celebrating their success during a lively event on a sunny afternoon, with children running around and balloons flying away in the wind.
Susanne Osterman, the founder of the program and the former Director of Adult Services at Phoenix House, was the keynote speaker. She talked about her dedication to treatment for women and the many positive developments in providing substance abuse treatment to women and women with children since the creation of the program in 1999.
Ms. Osterman also reflected on her personal journey and on the transformations and achievements that she witnessed during her years with the agency. She was joined on the stage by the Director of Mental Health Services, Dr. Melissa Thomasson, and Twyla Whitley, Program Director.
At Phoenix House, the profound understanding of trauma, adverse childhood experiences, and relationship needs of women have blossomed into a highly successful program that hashelped over a thousand of women during its history.
Our specialized residential treatment services responded to the unique needs of women struggling with drug and alcohol abuse and their related issues. We helped our clients prepare for and get jobs, resolve their child custody issues, advance their education, and form lasting friendships.
During the celebration, the donors and supporters of the program were also honored, including: St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, The Santa Fe Springs Fire Station, and selected Phoenix House staff, such as driver James Vaughn from Phoenix House Venice , who has assisted the program since its inception.
All graduating women received special Certificates of Recognition from the office of U.S. Congresswoman, Grace Napolitano, who has long been a dedicated supporter of our Santa Fe Springs program. She had previously appeared at our events in person, speaking about her personal history of recovery and survival. Her office has also been helpful by providing employment to interns from our facilities.
At the end of the day, Bobbi Johnson, the Director of Adult Programs of Phoenix Houses ofCalifornia, stated:
“I want to thank and to congratulate Twyla Whitley, Melissa Thomasson and all Santa Fe Springs staff for the wonderful job they did in preparing and conducting a very successful ceremony today. There are now twenty new alumni! I know they all felt appropriately honored. It is bitter sweet, knowing that the program will no longer be there, but looking at the result of the work that we do, is encouraging. There were many success stories today!”
The paths from Phoenix House may lead in many different directions. We have featured several personal stories of our graduates on our websites and will continue to keep in touch with the women who have changed their lives at our Women’s and Children’s Services. Congratulations and good luck!