Russell Simmons and Phoenix House president Mitchell S. Rosenthal, M.D. with students from the Phoenix Academy of Westchester.
On March 31, 2004, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons was presented with the Phoenix Rising Award at a gala dinner at New York’s fashionable W Hotel chaired by Tom Freston and Richard Plepler. Simmons was honored for his tireless advocacy of drug law reform and his role in educating the public and policy makers about the effectiveness of treatment.
Simmons and his wife, fashion designer Kimora Lee, chatted happily with students from the Phoenix Academy of Westchester, posing for photographs and signing autographs. “I am honored to be recognized by an organization that has such a long history of success in helping people struggling with drug addiction,” said Simmons. “Incarceration doesn’t solve the problem of addiction and doesn’t get at the root of the issue. A program like Phoenix House repairs and saves lives.”
Following the dinner, guests had a chance to hear about the work of Phoenix House first hand from a student of the Phoenix Academy of Westchester. “The academy changed so many things in my life … but most of the change has been in me; in how I think, in how I act and how I deal with the world,” said Jeffrey. “Looking back I realize I was drowning in the life I was leading, and Phoenix House rescued me.” Jeffrey plans to attend college and become an accountant.