Erie Outpatient in Philadelphia celebrated its second graduation ceremony for participants who completed the drug and alcohol treatment program offered at the non-residential reentry service center on Sept. 29. The 14 participants who graduated from the six-month program of outpatient treatment for substance abuse were parolees referred from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections’ Bureau of Community Corrections.
“We are very proud to deliver this valuable program for drug and alcohol treatment that saves lives,” Annette Garcia, director of Erie Outpatient, said. “It is impressive to witness the commitment of participants who work hard to complete the program, and see evidence that individuals can become contributing members of society.”
At Erie Outpatient, participants are provided with a program of evidence-based cognitive behavioral treatment that starts with intensive outpatient drug and alcohol counseling. The beginning of the program offers intensive outpatient treatment consisting of three, three-hour group counseling sessions and one individual session. The next stage is outpatient treatment, which offers two, two-hour group sessions and one individual session on a weekly basis.
“We experienced additional good news as we received the information that one of our graduates has been accepted into college while taking part of the treatment program here at Erie Outpatient,” Garcia said.
Reentry centers in Philadelphia are fortunate to have a partnership with the Community College of Philadelphia’s Reentry Support Project. Participants are able to pursue college credit while in the criminal justice system at CCP. The promotion of higher education helps individuals establish educational goals and secure future employment.
A large group attended the graduation held at Erie Outpatient, including a representative from Pennsylvania Probation and Parole, staff members and former participants. Those former participants who returned for the graduation demonstrated to those currently enrolled that completing the program is possible and lives can be changed for the better. They’re now living successfully at home, with many engaged in the workforce, attending 12-step meetings, and enjoying reunification with their families.
During the ceremony, graduates expressed their gratitude for the program and the opportunity to have learned skills they can take out in to the world as they pursue productive lives one day at a time.