We were happy to have had such a great crowd at our Second Annual “Celebrate Success” Alumni Luncheon, held on October 21, 2011 at Lake View Terrace. Over 20 alumni came in with their families, including Terra who was one of the keynote speakers, and who, after completing our residential treatment program is now attending Pasadena City College, working and getting ready for her future dream career as an engineer. Terra is the winner of one of the scholarships awarded by the Brent Shapiro Foundation to Phoenix House graduates.
The most moving of the speeches was given by Linell Shapiro, the mother of a young man whose death inspired his family to help prevent other tragedies caused by alcohol and drugs. Ms. Shapiro has become a great friend of Phoenix House and was joined by her son, Grant, who showed off his talents as a DJ during the event.
Another speaker, instructor in Alcohol and Drug Certification program at the ICDC College, Lori Said, shared her personal success of overcoming a history of multiple criminal convictions associated with years of drug use. The sobering effect of her criminal past was contrasted with the hope-inspiring personal achievement of “rising above addiction,” to quote from our motto.
After another story of alumnus success, that of Eric, who was able to overcome his background of being at the wrong time with the wrong people, and go to college and work, Phoenix House’s Clinical Director Elizabeth Stanley-Salazar recognized program volunteer, Andrea Ochoa who teaches Aztec Dancing classes, Ms. Nancy Figueroa, and a long-time staff, Harry Dent, who has been with Phoenix House for 28 years. It is through the dedication of our staff and volunteers that we are able to help youth deal with their serious issues and start the path to celebrating their own success in the future.
The musical entertainment, in addition to DJ Grant’s track, featured the Phoenix House new anthem, “Like a Phoenix” which recently won the first prize in the Grammy Youth Recovery Song Competition. Guests from our partner organizations included Angelica Ayala of the Mayor’s Office and Captain Steven McLean of the Altadena Station, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.