Teens who have abused drugs, failed at school and got in trouble, lost one more important thing: a happy childhood. Our treatment programs offer our young clients opportunities to change their lives and get back on track. We provide evidence-based counseling services, high school education at accredited schools, and teach healthy ways of spending their free time. At Phoenix House Academy of San Diego in Descanso these “healthy ways” include playing sports and hanging around with pet dogs.
A brand new beach volleyball field has been created and opened for student use on the beautiful campus in Descanso. The album of pictures shows the corner of the property before and after the installation of the field. Please note the horses in the background: the Academy collaborates with another non-profit to provide equestrian therapy, with students learning how to care for and ride horses.
Another important part of the Academy life that brings back a happy childhood are our pet dogs. At present three dogs live on the premises and follow the residents everywhere on campus: Omita, Bear, and Aloha. Two golden labs and a shepherd are the best friends of our staff and students.
Antoine O’Toole, Counselor at Phoenix House Academy of San Diego, explained:
“The animals are very soothing for the residents. In addition to dogs, we once had a pot-bellied pig, Gabriela, that died a year and a half ago. We also have wild turkeys move through the cabin sites every day. There is a resident assigned to the animals responsible for their care, as a job function and part of the rehabilitation program.”
When teens are placed in a residential program they may experience anxiety or be troubled by their new circumstances. Phoenix House ensures that they feel at home and have plenty of opportunities to relax and simply “be kids” during their treatment. In addition to playing beach volleyball and playing or hiking with pet dogs, we offer many activities that include organic gardening and bird watching. Watch for these stories in the future!