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Mother’s Day celebration supports women and families in recovery

Mother’s Day Celebration 2022 awardees with Odyssey House President Dr. Peter Provet. From left, Dr. Chinazo Cunningham, Commissioner, NYS Office of Addiction Services & Supports; Dr. Sonia Lopez, Director of Addiction Medicine, Damian Family Care Centers; Janice Glenn-Slaughter, VP, Director of Mental Health & Housing Services, Odyssey House; and Akiko Kyei-Aboagye, Principal, Urban Architectural Initiatives.

On Wednesday, May 4th, Odyssey House held its annual Mother’s Day Celebration – in person for the first time in two years – to recognize women in leadership whose commitment to recovery strengthens families throughout NYC. The event raised more than $70,000 for women and families in recovery.

Odyssey House President Dr. Peter Provet addressed the attendees and reflected on the importance of our mission. “For treatment agencies, like Odyssey House, and our partners in prevention, recovery, and harm reduction, that are on the front lines of combatting the opioid overdose epidemic, I believe our efforts are making a difference in reducing overdose deaths and helping those ready to engage in treatment and recovery find the services they need to not just survive – but thrive.”

The attendees then heard from Alexis, a mother in treatment with her seven-month-old twins at the George Rosenfeld Center for Recovery. “My journey at Odyssey House started when my babies were just eight days old, and it has been life-changing. It hasn’t been an easy journey, but I’m glad I stuck it out because now my babies and I get to live happily and drug-free every day.”

Dr. Chinazo Cunningham, Commissioner of the NYS Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS), was honored with the Leadership Award for her accomplishments in the field of substance use disorder treatment. Dr. Cunningham has only been the Commissioner since January 2022, but she has already made an impact with her exciting vision for the future of addiction services in New York.

“Women are about a third of the patients who are treated in OASAS and a lot of the reasons women don’t come into treatment have to do with taking care of their children. So having programs like this is critical.” -Dr. Cunningham

Dr. Sonia Lopez, Director of Addiction Medicine, Damian Family Care Centers, received the Public Service Award. Dr. Lopez has worked in the addiction field for more than 30 years and was instrumental in helping us keep clients and staff as safe as possible from Covid-19.

The Community Service Award was given to Akiko Kyei-Aboagye, Principal, Urban Architectural Initiatives. Balancing client needs with her lifelong interest in urban design and real-world sustainable building, Akiko was the lead architect for our 65-apartment supportive housing building on Tinton Avenue in the Bronx. For this project, she took an abandoned lot and turned it into new homes for people living with mental illness, which along the way helped revitalize the neighborhood.

Our final honoree was Odyssey House’s own Janice Glenn-Slaughter, Director of Mental Health and Housing Services, who received the Special Recognition Award. Janice understands how essential supportive housing is for the health and well-being of people with chronic medical, mental health, and substance use disorders. Nothing works without housing: a place to call home, safety, and security. It’s a basic human need and right.

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