The City of Los Angeles Honors NIDA, Grammy Foundation, MusiCares Foundation and Phoenix House
On February 10, 2012 the Council of the City of Los Angeles celebrated the National Drug Facts Week with special recognitions of several partners who have worked together on substance abuse prevention and education. Councilmember Richard Alarcón honored the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health, the Grammy Foundation and MusiCares Foundation for their partnership in creating the National Drug Facts Week Teen Substance Abuse Awareness through Music Contest. Started in 2010 by scientists at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Drug Abuse Facts Week helps shatter myths about drugs by providing and promoting accurate substance abuse information. The NIDA/Grammy/MusiCares Music Contest offers an opportunity for aspiring teen musicians to help spread the message about the importance of healthy choices and the dangers of drug abuse.
Councilman Alarcón recognized Phoenix House Academy of Los Angeles and this year’s Music Contest winner, the Academy’s student, Amanda. In the context of tragedies wrought by drug abuse on communities and families, Mr. Alarcón acknowledged the importance of prevention and creative ways to reach out to young people with positive messages about drug-free life. He praised the partners who established the contest and complemented this year’s winner, Amanda, one of the authors of the song “Like a Phoenix” – created at the Academy’s state-of-the-art music studio. Councilman Alarcón reserved particular words of praise for Phoenix House for the agency’s dedication to saving lives and helping troubled teens find a new path to a successful future. He contrasted the agency’s current role as one of the important pillars in the neighborhood and “a cherished member of local community” with the vocal and vehement opposition that greeted the establishment of the program at Lake View Terrace in 1994.
Dr. Susan Weiss, Director, Office of Science Policy and Communications for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), accepted the Commendation on behalf of NIDA and distributed packages of information about drug abuse to all the Councilmembers. Erica Krusen and Harold Owens, Senior Directors at the GRAMMY Foundation/ MusiCares Foundation accepted the recognition for these two charitable wings of the recording industry. Ms. Krusen spoke of the foundations’ efforts on behalf of drug prevention and education as a long-term commitment. John Morabito, Music Director of the Phoenix Rising Music Program, and Wanda Nelson, Senior Counselor, Phoenix House Academy aptly represented the organization, while giving credit to the Music Program’s founder, Kara DioGuardi, and praising the creativity and resilience of the students.
The warmest welcome was reserved for Amanda after the song was played for all present in the Council Chambers. She expressed her gratitude for this great distinction and spoke about the transformation in her vision of herself and her outlook on life that has happened at Phoenix House. Three Councilmembers, Mr. Tom LaBonge, Mr. Joe Buscaino and Mr. Ed Reyes, moved by the sincerity of her speech, commended her and thanked Phoenix House for its continuing commitment to saving lives and helping people in recovery.
At the end, as a special gift, Councilman Alarcón presented a $1,000 donation to the Phoenix Rising Music Program at the Academy. We greatly appreciate this support and the wonderful public recognition both of our work and of the talent of our students. More pictures from this event may be found in our Gallery. and a story was published by Regina Graham, USC journalism student, in Neon Tommy, a digital news magazine issued by the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism.