On Saturday, September 15, 2012, in Beverly Hills, two remarkable young Phoenix House clients, Audrey and Jonathan, were honored with college scholarships from The Brent Shapiro Foundation for Alcohol and Drug Awareness. The clients were selected after a lengthy application process from among their peers at the Phoenix House Academy of Los Angeles and their scholarships were announced during the Shapiro Foundation’s star-studded “Summer Spectacular” gala. In the words of Linell Shapiro, co-founder of the Brent Shapiro Foundation: “At our event this year, we are honored to be able to present (Phoenix House’s alumni) with scholarships. Our organization supports the continuing efforts of Phoenix House and the success of the young clients who complete the program.”
The attendees at the elegant gala greatly appreciated the acceptance speech by Audrey and welcomed her with a standing ovation. Audrey described the chaotic and dangerous life of drug use that had alienated her from her family. She attributed her positive changes to Phoenix House and spoke highly of the counselors who helped her leave her old life behind and establish new goals for her future. She received her GED while at Phoenix House, graduated from the program and is now a full-time student at Santa Monica Community College. She also works and volunteers and is hoping to work for Phoenix House after completing her education. Pouria Abbassi, P.E., Senior Vice President and California Regional Director said: “We are very proud of the accomplishments of our clients and graduates recognized by the Brent Shapiro Foundation. While we do everything we can to help teens change their lives for the better, ultimately it is their commitment and hard work that make the best possible. The stories of Audrey and Jonathan are miraculous and at Phoenix House we are blessed to be a part of these miracles every day.”
Founded in November 2005 by the Shapiro family, the Brent Shapiro Foundation seeks to change the national consciousness regarding the disease of chemical dependence through prevention and education. They achieve this goal with programs tailored to target specific age groups, including two children’s books that introduce the parent-child dialogue on drugs and alcohol. For teens and college students, they have developed the “Save A Life” Card, an informational guide the size of a business card which clearly outlines the signs of an adverse reaction to drugs and encourages young people to seek help by calling 911 (the Good Samaritan Law protecting the callers from criminal prosecution has just been signed by Gov. Brown). Information about the Summer Spectacular event may be found in the Hollywood Reporter article of September 16, 2012. The event’s main honoree was Christopher Kennedy Lawford, who received the Spirit of Recovery Award in front of 800 guests.
Nearly 600 young people are served each year in three Phoenix House Academies in California, where treatment is tailored to serve teenagers who grapple with substance abuse and/or co-occurring mental health issues simultaneous to their addictions. This treatment approach has received national recognition from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices.