Many of our clients have missed out on valuable life experiences because of their struggle with substance abuse. Exposure to new places, environments, and cultures helps clients develop fresh perspectives. These experiences can be therapeutic and extremely beneficial to the healing process, as they provide clients with a variety of life lessons and resources.
This summer, the Phoenix House Hill A. Feinberg Academy in Dallas partnered with the Senior Source for their Foster Grandparent Program, which pairs low-income older adults with troubled, disabled, or hospitalized children. Teens in treatment at the Academy spent 15-40 hours every week with their Foster Grandparents, who enhanced the teens’ recovery process with their unrelenting warmth, attention, and kindness. Many of our young clients had never experienced such a positive, loving, and emotionally supportive relationship before.
While the Foster Grandparents were giving our Dallas teens new perspectives on healthy interpersonal relationships, our New England teens were gaining new perspectives on nature, teamwork, and courage—clients from our Phoenix House Academy in Springfield, MA, our Phoenix House Academy in Dublin, NH, our Phoenix House Academy in Augusta, ME, and our Phoenix House Academy at Wallum Lake, RI, participated in their annual white-water rafting trip in August. The trip allows students to immerse themselves in nature and to work together with each other and their counselors. This year, the team took on the rapids of Maine’s Kennebec River. Afterwards, the teens wrote about the rafting trip; they all described the experience as “awesome,” and several were surprised at the serenity and peace they felt within the Maine woods.
These once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, made possible through the generous support of our donors, reinforce the values that Phoenix House strives to instill each day: kindness, compassion, courage, teamwork, self-reliance, mutual help, and respect for humanity and for the environment. Above all, these experiences show how much fun life can be without drugs or alcohol.