Director of Community ResidencesNew York“I truly believe in second chances. Our clients come into the program discouraged and emotionally exhausted; by the time they have completed the program and are ready for graduation, they have entirely transformed. Their joy is overwhelming.”
Denise Buckley has been working with Phoenix House since 1990, when she started as an administrative assistant to Phoenix House founder Dr. Mitchell S. Rosenthal, M.D. As she communicated with clients on a daily basis, she found, “I was amazed at their strength and abilities to persevere and seek help. And with all the other treatment facilities out there, they chose Phoenix House.” After several years of seeing the organization’s work up close, Denise said, “I decided that I wanted to do more. I wanted to be more involved.”
In 1995 Denise, who has a degree in Human Services, became the Deputy Director for the Family Support Services Department and then Director and Managing Director of Phoenix House’s facility in Long Island City, New York. The Long Island City Center provides substance abuse treatment for men and women—teaching parenting, emotional awareness, anger management, and relapse prevention. Denise now works as Director of Community Residences for Phoenix House New York overseeing short-term, intermediate residential care. Throughout her different roles at Phoenix House, Denise has seen one common denominator: “caring, dedicated staff members who provide quality clinical services in a safe, structured and nurturing environment.”
In her years of experience in the field of substance abuse treatment, Denise has noticed that people often have a limited understanding of addiction and some negative attitudes about treatment. Phoenix House counters these misconceptions by providing trainings to help people understand and prevent drug abuse. The organization has evolved to meet new needs and challenges, like the rise of prescription drug addiction and synthetic drugs, and has expanded its services to provide customized treatment for populations like women, veterans and people with co-occurring disorders.
Denise’s work is motivated by the belief that everyone deserves a second chance to move past addiction: “How do I assist the clients so they don’t dwell on those mistakes or those bad times? How do we move forward?” Denise said she knew that she’d arrived at her life’s work when she saw the hope in people’s eyes as they spoke of wanting to leave drugs behind. She continues working in the substance abuse field out of a desire to make a difference in people’s lives.