When we look at programs like Stay’n Out, which is a Therapeutic Community in an isolated part of a prison, where the inmates are serious felons, involved in chronic heroin and cocaine use and you see that a substantial portion of them, far more than would be expected, by chance alone, not only recovered but recovered to the point where they are no longer involved with drugs, they’re no longer committing crimes at all, they return to the community, not choir boys, but as substantial citizens. When you can produce that kind of change and substantiate year after, year, we have eleven years of study of this program, six years of solid follow up data and for some individuals, as many as nine years of follow up data and see this result year after year, there is a solid basis of confidence to approach applying a program in a correctional institution.
- Dr. Douglas Lipton, Criminal Justice Researcher
Luz S is a 47-year-old woman that has been sober for over 12 years. After spending most of her life on drugs and in jail. She made a decision to seek help at Serendipity II Women's Residential treatment program in Brooklyn, NY .This program was essential and helped guide her into a new way of living and coping without drugs or alcohol. Through groups and individual counseling, along with therapeutic services, she was able to gain a foundation and acceptance. Luz S successfully completed the program over a decade ago, and is now employed as a veterinarians assistant in Brooklyn, NY.
In her own words, she says “I continue to be involved with the program today - nothing would have been possible if it hadn't been for Serendipity II women's program. It was my safe haven when my life was disastrous.”
Andre A enrolled in the NYTC – Queens outpatient program in 2011, after serving a period of incarceration. Upon arrival to the program, he set many goals – these included making amends to those he hurt, getting a job, going to school and trying to start believing in himself. After participating in, and graduating from the outpatient program, he obtained employment and began using the skills he gained in the program to start believing in himself. He is currently enrolled in a substance abuse counselor training program, with the goal of becoming a NYS credentialed counselor.
Andre states “you can do it, but you can’t do it alone”, he hopes to work in the addiction counseling field in the near future, and states that his former counselor at the Queens outpatient clinic, Stacey Lucas (1947 -2014), will be watching over him.
Migdalia H. is a women with a 25 year history of substance abuse prior to entering Serendipity. She was incarcerated prior to entering the program and during that time realized she had a problem with drugs. She was given the opportunity to enter treatment as an alternative to incarceration and was sent to Serendipity. While in treatment she was given the opportunity to learn, identify and confront what was causing her issues which included low self-esteem, and a lack of confidence. While in treatment, she went to school, and obtained a Commercial Driver License. She completed treatment after fourteen months, left with housing and employment in 1996. In 2003, she was hired to work as a Counselor at Serendipity 2 and subsequently obtained an Associates Degree in Counseling and was awarded her CASAC credential by New York State.
She states “I will be forever grateful with what Serendipity has taught me as a resident and employee and the support it continues to provide by the Staff, my Alumni brothers and sisters and the ones that have yet to come. Thank you my Family.”
Will Henry currently serves on the NYTC Board of Directors, and is also a graduate of the in-prison Stay’n Out program, formerly at the Arthur Kill Correctional Facility. He had a lengthy history of incarceration , a traumatic childhood and had long been separated from his family. With the help of Stay’n Out, he began to face himself, interact with peers, and began a journey to a life he never felt was possible. He has since achieved his Master of Social Work degree from New York University, is a home owner and gives back to his community in ways he never dreamed of.
Will states “ I am a father to my daughter, a home owner and I am proud to be associated with NYTC – Stay’n Out”.
Sam Williams entered treatment at Serendipity Men’s Residential Treatment Center, November, 2013 and graduated January, 2015. While 14 months might seem like a long time to some and not much at all to others, Sam came a long way during his time at Serendipity.
Sam entered treatment a disillusioned man with no faith in himself or his abilities. Although he had received an honorable medical discharge from the United States Army, those career ambitions had ended. One might say he was adrift and relying on substance abuse to deal with his problems. He was looking for a way to be a good and responsible father to his son, which he knew could never happen until he found a way to achieve sobriety. Initially, it could be argued that he was marking time in treatment, happy to be the “hail fellow, well liked.” However, while he might have been merely “acting as if,” he eventually began to envision a brighter future for himself by embracing the tenets of the treatment plan created by his counselors -- which meant making a commitment to his recovery. Sam quickly rose to assume responsibility as Coordinator – the highest position in the “structure” of the Serendipity program. He started to attend NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meetings. He also seized opportunities to help out wherever he might, especially in the kitchen with innovative recipes. He would cook on weekends when the staff cook was off – and even on occasion sought ways to unselfishly give back after graduating by returning to provide delicious meals to delight his former peers.
Seeing concrete results, he started to believe in his ability to turn his life around and thrive – if not immediately, then in the foreseeable future. He employed his military training to exercise the initiative to co-facilitate a joint support group at Serendipity for the young men of the Dynamic Youth Center. The success of this program resulted in his being engaged initially as an Intern and eventually full-time, paid staff at their upstate New York facility. Sam not only realized a new career, but one where he might continue to give back by making a difference in the lives of young people who had gone astray.
Sam is living proof that dedication and commitment to the tenets of Serendipity create positive results!