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Odyssey House helps moms get sober while with their children

By Monica Morales

A nonprofit called Odyssey House Family Center on Wards Island is one of the only mother-and-children treatment programs in New York City.

It is helping more than 50 moms get sober and lead better lives. PIX11 News got a rare look inside its residential treatment center.

Elizabeth N., 33, from Crown Heights, said there are no words for the joy of being a new mom. She is sharing her story so other new moms like her can get the resources they need to get through tough times.

Elizabeth said her 4-month-old daughter Luccia is sleeping through the night, starting to turn over, and is teething.

She is a very happy baby. Elizabeth said it was a tough start to motherhood. Elizabeth remembers being in the hospital after giving birth because she told doctors she was using substances. She said that when ACS took her baby away, she was devastated.

Elizabeth’s friend searched online for help and found Odyssey House, a residential substance abuse treatment facility on Wards Island. It’s been life-changing.

Elizabeth is one of 50 moms and moms-to-be who are staying on Wards Island.

Gretchen Kleinsmith is the program director. She said it’s a place for them to live, to work on their sobriety and bond with their babies.

Michelle Washington, 37, from Staten Island, has lived at Odyssey House for over four months. Washington came into treatment to keep her four-year-old daughter Aubrey. Now, she said she finally feels like she is building a new life, one day at a time.

In the meantime, Elizabeth is working on getting a new home, wants to go to college, and wants to become an EMT.

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