Amethyst House Inc.

making a difference… one woman at a time since 1990

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!

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