In celebration of our 50th anniversary, each month we will be sharing a story that highlights one of our programs or treatment populations. This month we are highlighting our Early Educational Center.
Moms battling drug and alcohol addiction often face a tough choice: taking care of themselves or taking care of their children. At Odyssey House, they don’t have to make that choice, because pregnant women and parents with children can stay together, helping to build stronger families.
In mid-2016, Jacqueline, 36, pregnant with her third child, nearly had to make that choice. Unable to find a program that could help her in her hometown of Boston, and desperate to get sober, Jacqueline came to New York and began treatment at Odyssey House.
Like other parents in our program, Jacqueline is learning to create a nurturing relationship with her son while addressing a wide array of issues, including managing emotional stress, tackling medical and mental health issues, and identifying safe and secure housing.
While Jacqueline engages in clinical services, our Early Educational Center focuses on assisting children like her son in reaching their full developmental potential in five on-site, licensed daycare and preschool classrooms, serving children from two months to six years of age. “The teachers are wonderful,” says Jacqueline. “They’re great with the kids and very hands-on. It’s reassuring to know that my son is safe and in good hands while I’m in group sessions.”
Being in treatment with her son keeps Jacqueline focused on her recovery. “Having my son with me is so motivating. I’m not sure I could do it without him – thinking about him all the time would be too distracting,” she says. “But here I can work through my issues and work towards my goals, so I can be the best mother I can be. I wasn’t able to raise my two older kids, and I don’t want to lose the chance to raise him too.”
Through the Family Center of Excellence, Odyssey House strives to break the cycle of addiction one family at a time.