Did you know that residents at the Phoenix House Academy of San Diego in Descanso publish their own paper? You won’t get a chance to read it, since this publication with a print-run of 40 appears at a treatment program closed to the public. Disseminating the paper beyond the limits of the Academy would identify the students too easily and break confidentiality laws. The student-run paper is one of the extracurricular activities that enrich the evidence-based therapeutic services on a beautiful residential campus, among hills and canyons of San Diego County.
The team of young journalists is doing a great job of describing the issues that concern the entire community of 40 teenagers who attend counseling sessions and classes, and participate in a range of activities. They learn to cope with their substance abuse, mental health issues and underlying problems that have had a negative impact on their lives. They learn to communicate and share their feelings with peers and professional counseling staff, thus gaining skills that will help their recovery after the completion of treatment. The paper includes photographs, hand-drawn cartoons, short stories, comments, and columns, such as “Mystery Resident: Can You Guess Who?”
There are reports from Family Tea and from Horse of the Sun equestrian therapy outings. And there are personal reflections, such as this one: “I’m grateful that I have people near that genuinely care about me and want to help me. Every time I’m going through something I know that I’m going to have someone there that I can talk to. I know that all of us are here for a reason.”
Congratulations to the teens at Phoenix House Academy of San Diego, who have used their artistic talents and writing skills to enrich their own lives and benefit the whole community of students enrolled in the residential treatment program.