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Taking the first step to putting her family back together

In celebration of our 50th anniversary, each month we will be sharing a story that highlights one of our programs or treatment populations. Here is Joi’s story, who recently completed residential treatment at our Family Center of Excellence in East Harlem.

Mother in recoveryWhen Joi entered the Manor Family Center in August 2015, she was lost. Struggling with depression, low self-esteem, and alcoholism, she needed a “new beginning” – an opportunity to turn her life around and regain custody of her children.

The 31-year-old mother of four had experienced a number of difficulties, including domestic violence and homelessness, but it took the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) removing custody of her baby to underscore the urgency of her situation.

Though ACS recommended an outpatient program, Joi chose residential treatment. She knew the more intensive therapy would get her on track to get her baby back faster. With Joi’s father taking care of her older three children, there were no more excuses. “I knew I had to turn my life around and set an example for my children,” she says.

“Since being here at Odyssey House, I’m responsible, independent, motivated, and a role model in my community.” While in treatment, Joi regained custody of her youngest child in only four months, and with the support of their grandfather, repaired her relationship with her older children. Joi also successfully completed vocational training and earned a security guard license.

Joi completed treatment in early May and is continuing to work on her recovery at our Outpatient Services in the Bronx. With help from her counselors, she found an apartment to move into after treatment and now lives with her youngest child, with regular visits from her older children.

“I accomplished all the goals I set out to achieve. Odyssey House will help you every step of the way, but you have to take the first step. If you don’t take the initiative, you won’t accomplish anything.”

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