Amethyst House

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In The News: “At Amethyst House Graduation, 16 Women Get New Start To Life”

From the Staten Island Advance:

At Amethyst House Graduation, 16 Women Get New Start To Life by Allie Griffin



(Photo: Marissa Italiano)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Sixteen women graduated as new and improved individuals and active members of society during a day of celebration Sunday, June 11.

The graduates completed a nine-month program at Amethyst House in New Brighton, a halfway house for women recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.



(Photo: Marissa Italiano)

The program has been helping women re-learn how to function in society for 27 years. It has recently received funds from the state to renovate the building on Richmond Terrace, allowing for 10 more beds for a total of 30 spots in the program.

With the drug epidemic on the Island, Angela DeSanno, the executive director of Amethyst House, said its recovery program has “quite the waitlist at this time.”

“Anyone who lives on Staten Island know how badly these additional beds are needed,” DeSanno said. “I receive calls weekly from parents begging for us to take their daughters due to their addiction.”

Sunday’s ceremony was standing room only, as family members of the residents packed the room, grateful to see their loved ones doing well, according to DeSanno.



(Photo: Marissa Italiano)

The women who often come from difficult backgrounds, including domestic violence and sex trade, leave changed and grateful, many with jobs or college next on the itinerary.

“When they walk in [on their first day], many of them are just so broken. They say they feel totally worthless… When they leave, they become ladies. They’re just so much more self-confident,” DeSanno
said.



(Photo: Marissa Italiano)

The motto of Amethyst House is “women empowering women.” The staff are on hand 24/7 and some are even in recovery themselves, serving as an inspiration for their residents.

“They learn to love themselves and understand they’re worth it,” DeSanno said.



(Photo: Marissa Italiano)


Amethyst House Honors Graduates In 26th Annual Completion Ceremony



Some of the 2016 Amethyst House graduates.
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good)

STATEN ISLAND, NY — On Sunday, June 12, Amethyst House held a ceremony honoring 14 graduates who completed the curriculum designed to move the facility’s women down the difficult road from addiction to recovery — families, friends, alumnae, and supporters joined board member Neil Steiniger and the staff in a touching ceremony that included resident drummers, dancers, and the performance of an original rap.



Marissa Italiano (left) was the MC
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good)

Resident manager Marissa Italiano assumed the role of Master of Ceremonies for the event.

“It was such an honor to be able to MC this event. It was even more special for me because this ceremony allowed me to see my residents start a new chapter of their lives. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for them, I hope to be there to support them every step of the way,” Italiano said.



Resident Marcella performed an original rap song about addiction – receiving a standing ovation.
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good)

The completion celebration was the 26th such event in the facility’s history. The first halfway house of its kind serving women in New York City, Amethyst welcomed its first resident in June of 1990. Since then, although it has been relocated several times, Amethyst House’s mission has remained the same: to provide a safe and supportive environment for up to twenty residents a year, serving women ages 18 and up who have struggled with addiction. During their residency, women attend intensive outpatient treatment, while working with staff on obtaining education, vocational training, employment, and housing. The average term of residency is nine months, although the time may vary depending on individual residents’ needs.



The ceremony included resident dancers and drummers.
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good)

The ceremony kicked off with drumming and dancing, choreographed by staff member Adrianne Cumberbatch.



Lorna was the graduate speaker.
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good)

Graduate Lorna A. was the keynote speaker, giving an eloquent summary of her journey to recovery.



Each graduate received a wreath – donated by the Richmond Ever-Green Garden Club.
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good)

With friends, family, and supporters looking on, each graduate received a certificate and a hug from executive director Angela DeSanno. Program supervisor Monta Price-Macedon gave each beaming grad a wreath donated by the Richmond Ever-Green Garden Club.

The mission of Amethyst House is particularly relevant and important given the current heroin epidemic in Staten Island — in May PIX Channel 11 News reported that there had been eight overdoses in eight days and “nearly 50 overdose deaths thus far in 2016.”

All graduates must complete the Amethyst House program as well as an outpatient program – the goal being to remain clean and sober, and to develop a support network by obtaining sponsors and attending NA/AA meetings. Amethyst group therapy includes “Early Recovery Basics”, Recovery Through Rhythms”, “A Woman’s Way Through The 12 Steps”, as well as recreation, (surviving) domestic violence, stress / anger management, and parenting groups. Graduates typically look to obtain housing, employment, school or vocational training, and, if applicable, reunification with their family members. Participation in the Completion Ceremony is a tremendously significant milestone in the road to recovery – and the start of a new life.

Congratulations to all of the graduates!

Photo Gallery: www.amethysthouse.net/photo-gallery/2016_06_12_completion/


Amethyst House Celebrates “Completion”,
Appoints New Executive Director



Angela A. DeSanno, LMSW, is the newly appointed Executive Director of Amethyst House.
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good)

STATEN ISLAND, NY – On Sunday, June 14, Amethyst House will hold a “completion” ceremony honoring 10 graduates and recognizing the hard won progress of all of its residents on their paths from addiction to recovery — families, friends, alumnae, and supporters will join board members and staff in the ceremony that is scheduled to run from 1 to 3 p.m.

The celebration of the residents’ success also marks an anniversary date and the appointment of a new executive director. Amethyst House admitted their first resident 25 years ago this month — and the facility appointed veteran social worker Angela DeSanno to the Executive Director position earlier this year.

The first halfway house of its kind serving women in New York City, Amethyst welcomed its first resident exactly 25 years ago in June of 1990. Since then, although it has been relocated several times, Amethyst House’s mission remains the same: to provide a safe and supportive environment for up to twenty residents a year, serving women ages 18 and up who have struggled with addiction. During their residency, women attend intensive outpatient treatment, while working with staff on obtaining education, vocational training, employment, and housing. The average term of residency is nine months, although the time may vary depending on individual residents’ needs.

“Our residents have worked so very, very hard to get to where they are today,” said Angela DeSanno, Executive Director of Amethyst House. “The ceremony will honor their achievements. But, more importantly, it will also give them the sense that they are not completing, but rather continuing their journeys. These women embarked upon a path of recovery when they first walked through our doors, a path that can be both challenging and rewarding. As we celebrate together on this day, we want them to know that we will always be here to encourage and support them, no matter where on their paths they may be.”

Entertainment, food, and opportunities to meet and greet the honorees themselves are also planned for the event, which is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Ms. DeSanno and her staff will be on hand, to recognize the achievements of the graduates and to greet any wellwishers. Photographs from the event will be available. Contact press@amethysthouse.net for details.

Amethyst House is located at 280 Richmond Terrace on the North Shore of Staten Island. It is funded by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Call 718-448-1900 or visit www.amethysthouse.net for more information.