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Second Annual Mother’s Day Awards Breakfast honors champions of recovery

On Wednesday, May 8th, Odyssey House held its second annual Mother’s Day Awards Breakfast to recognize our business and community partners whose commitment to recovery strengthens families throughout NYC. The event raised more than $100,000 for women and families in recovery.


opioid recovery fundraiser awardees

From left, Sobeida Cruz, President Emerita and Founding Member, 100 Hispanic Women, Westchester Chapter; Odyssey House alumna Sheila Howell; Grace Choi, Director of Policy to the First Lady of NYC; Odyssey House Chief Operating Officer John Tavolacci; Bridget Brennan, Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York; Odyssey House President Dr. Peter Provet; and Odyssey House/Foundation Board Member Kate Rothko Prizel.

Odyssey House President Dr. Peter Provet addressed the attendees, underlining the urgency of our mission. “The young mothers and families in treatment at Odyssey House are especially vulnerable and in need of support, and understanding that need is why we are here today. You are all helping them rebuild their lives and create a strong foundation for their children. When they accomplish their goals, we accomplish ours.”

The attendees then heard from two women at very different points in their recovery: an alumna with 21 years of sobriety, and a young mother in treatment with her child.

Chirlane McCray, First Lady of NYC, was honored with the Leadership Award for her accomplishments advocating for people with mental illness and the families who care for them. Nationally recognized as a powerful champion for mental health reform and dubbed one of TIME Magazine’s 50 Most Influential People in Health Care for 2018, Ms. McCray created ThriveNYC, the most comprehensive mental health plan of any city or state in the nation. She also spearheads the Cities Thrive Coalition, with more than 200 mayors, county officials and thought leaders from all 50 states, advocating for a more integrated and better-funded behavioral health system.

Accepting on the First Lady’s behalf was Grace Choi, her director of policy. Ms. Choi is herself a leader in the realm of women’s issues. Previously, she was the Associate Director of Advocacy and Policy for Global Gender Equality at Save the Children and served in President Obama’s Administration as Policy Advisor in the Global Women’s Issues Office. Grace also worked for Stacey Abrams for Governor campaign, the Council of Korean Americans, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, President Obama’s Inauguration Committee, and 2012 Presidential Campaign, and the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea.

Bridget Brennan, Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York, received the Public Services Award. She leads an agency dedicated to the investigation and prosecution of narcotics in NYC – a role she has held for more than 20 years, and the only woman to hold this position. Under her direction, the office has developed innovative strategies to stem the flow of drugs into the city and target emerging problems. In addition, Special Narcotics runs programs that offer treatment instead of prison to hundreds of addicted defendants every year. Her record of service to public safety and care for the individuals who become addicted is a rare combination for a prosecutor –but it is an effective and essential one.

Our final honoree was Sobeida Cruz, who received the Community Service Award. Ms. Cruz is a woman who understands the role education plays in creating opportunities where all children can succeed and families feel they have a stake in the future. As a successful business leader and public servant, she is one of the Founders of the Charter School of Educational Excellence and a member of the Board.

Check out more pictures on our Facebook page!

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