September 5, 2008 — (BRONX, NY) — Recently, the Division of Substance Abuse (DoSA) at Albert Einstein College of Medicine honored graduates of an important parenting skills program. Many of the graduates had previously lost custody of their children due to court actions stemming from their problems with substance abuse. Family reunification often depends on successful completion of this course plus participation in substance abuse treatment. The graduation took place at Next Steps South Wellness Program, located at 260 East 161st Street.
Maria Alfonso, the parenting skills group facilitator, served as mistress of ceremonies. Ms. Alfonso, who has coordinated the program for seven years, praised the graduates. "I know how difficult a period this has been in your lives and the challenges you have faced in conquering your problems," she said. "But you have all come through the class, and from the bottom of my heart I congratulate you for all of your hard work."
The newly minted graduates were given recognition certificates, which were also presented to previous program graduates and volunteers who support the program. Each graduate was introduced by Ms. Alfonso to the accompaniment of tears and cheers. Many of the graduates described the pain they experienced when separated from their children and the joy of being reunited.
Dr. Sarah Church, director of DoSA, expressed her joy at seeing so many graduates. "I am extremely proud of our graduates and of our treatment team. This ceremony is a testament to the staff members at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine who have helped countless patients to rebuild their lives and to reunite with their families."
Graduates were also honored by a special guest, noted actress April Lee Hernandez, star of the hit movie "Freedom Writers." Ms. Hernandez was born and raised in the Bronx and discussed her personal struggles to build a successful acting career. She encouraged the attendees to continue pursuing their goals, and to follow their dreams. After the ceremony, graduates, guests and their families were treated to a buffet luncheon.
DoSA is the largest medical school-affiliated substance abuse treatment program in the United States. It has provided comprehensive, state-of-the-art substance abuse treatment to the NYC community for over 38 years. The program offers treatment for addiction to heroin, alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, and prescription medications at multiple sites throughout the Bronx and serves over 3,500 patients annually. The program will soon open the Wellness Center at Waters Place, a new treatment facility at 1510 Waters Place. This 42,000-square-foot building will house treatment facilities for 1,000 patients as well as the executive offices for the division. The Wellness Center offers an environment conducive to recovery and will enhance the excellent substance abuse treatment, psychiatric services and primary care services that Einstein provides to the community.
If you or someone you know is in need of treatment, please call 718-993-3397 to schedule an appointment for evaluation.