A life of service is well remembered as we observe in the Scott Dunham Memorial Garden at Phoenix House Academy in Los Angeles. Created in the fall of 2014, the garden commemorates devoted long-time Phoenix House California Board member Scott Dunham. Located in an internal patio between glass-walled corridors, flower beds and a bench provide space for teens to gather when they add their colorful handprints to the Changed Lives memorial wall.
Each Monday, teens mark their successful completion of the substance abuse program at the wall. Cristina Kula, Director of Fitness and Recreation at the Academy, states: “During the informal ceremony, observed by case managers, therapists, floor counselors, educational service staff, and even administrative staff, I remind clients that their lives will not only touch this wall, but also other lives. Imagine if those that are changed by their story of overcoming addiction were to also add their handprints to this wall…well, we would not have enough space!”
Teens choose a color, dip their hands in paint, and add the colorful images to the wall, signed with their initials. Being teenagers, some perform acrobatic feats to place their prints extremely high or upside down in a final farewell to the program that helped them reorient their lives and gain new interests and confidence. The growing number of handprints highlights the impact the Academy has on the lives of the most vulnerable and at-risk young people in our community.
Of Counsel at O’Melveny & Myers’ Los Angeles office, Scott Dunham was named among the United States’ 50 Most Powerful Employment Attorneys by Human Resources Executive magazine. He specialized in labor and employment law and was a member of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. A scholarship fund in his name has been established to help those in need of assistance through Phoenix House. Memorial contributions and gifts can be made and sent to Phoenix House California, 11600 Eldridge Avenue, Lake View Terrace, CA 91342. Online donations to Phoenix House can also be made in Scott’s memory.