East House college enrichment program opens June 3 at RIT

Two week-long college preparation programs take place for adult residents

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Forty participants of East House Career Services will take part in a two-week college enrichment experience June 3–6 and June 10–13 at Rochester Institute of Technology. The experience is designed to augment other treatment and rehabilitation services and to encourage participants who are recovering from mental illness and chemical dependency to pursue educational goals to achieve independence and self-sufficiency.

At the end of the two weeks, students participate in a graduation ceremony and reception. This year’s event takes place at 4 p.m. June 13 in Ingle Auditorium in the Student Alumni Union at RIT. The keynote speaker for the event will be Chacku Mathai, associate executive director of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services.

Participants attend a variety of classes ranging from academic, art therapy and physical fitness classes taught by RIT and Monroe Community College staff and faculty, East House staff and professionals from a variety of community organizations. Participants are also able to utilize RIT’s facilities during the two weeks of the program including classrooms, computer labs, the library, the student life center and the gym.

Each component of the program mimics a college experience from applying for school, raising funds for the experience, an orientation, course selection and registration, attending classes, eating lunch on campus, homework assignments, and graduation.

Mathai is a long-time advocate for improved services and alternative supports for those in recovery, and he has more than 25 years of experience in mental health and addiction community-based service. In the past he has served a self-help educator, community organizer, psychiatric rehabilitation practitioner, trainer and program administrator. He is a founding board member for Friends of Recovery New York, a statewide coalition of individuals in recovery from addiction.

Since 1996, more than 500 students have benefited from this educational program series. Many have gone on to earn their GED, or enroll in local colleges.

Contact Michelle Lanphear for more information about the event at 585-475-4329 or mllgrl@rit.edu.

About East House: East House is a private, non-profit agency in Rochester, N.Y. Founded in 1966, East House now serves more than 1,000 clients and families each year as they recover from mental illness and/or chemical addictions through residential, rehabilitation and career service programs.