When Danielle Bruschi and Lauren McNamara were looking for a symbol for their non-profit organization New Hope Rising, they wanted to choose something that would reflect how struggle and strife can transform into something beautiful.
The two settled on the lotus flower which can only grow from muddy waters, blooming slowly, with one petal springing from the earth at a time, after working on the front line of social welfare in a shelter for homeless men in Riverhead.
Helping others navigate the system, they saw a lot and recognized the need for women’s addiction recovery housing. The pair put their plan to action, opening their first recovery home in Mastic with a unique focus on healing not only the body, but the soul.
Each home is a place where hope grows.
“Our full tag line is where hope grows and healing begins, so a program like this is really meant for people to build a foundation on their recovery, but also to work on the other things that they want to build in their lives,” said McNamara, the organization’s chief operating officer, during a tour of the organization’s three homes in the Mastic-Shirley area on Saturday afternoon.
For the residents, the homes are where they live and where “all of this amazing change is happening,” McNamara said.
The homes are places where people find hope again, and the lotus is a symbol of the growth that comes from the residents’ life experiences.
“So out of the experiences that many of clients have come from and the growth that they experience, they create something beautiful,” said McNamara who is from Southampton. “They create a beautiful life. So, out of these circumstances that they may be coming from, this flower is growing from that.”
New Hope Rising’s recovery housing model offers room and board in a safe haven. The homes are set up like a family environment with residents taking turns cooking for one another and sharing chores. The homes all have fire pit/barbecues, meditation rooms, and community gardens where residents choose what they want to plant for their kitchens.
Residents also take part in holistic healing practices, like meditation and singing bowls, and can utilize the community computer for educational and career planning to help get back on their feet and on toward a successful life they love, a life free of drug or alcohol addiction.
“Because when you walk into a place and feel safe and you feel respected, and you feel that you have a place to call home, and you feel stable, you are able to continue to grow, you are able to work on yourself,” said Bruschi, the organization’s chief executive officer.
“You are at a place in your life where you are stable enough to do so. You walk into a place where there is a mattress on the floor, you are packed out — you are living with 17 other people, that’s not a nice feeling,” said Bruschi who is from Hampton Bays and is in recovery herself. “Especially in early recovery, you are dealing with a very vulnerable population.”
Bruschi said she and McNamara saw something that wasn’t working in the system and wanted to create another option that worked. By creating a safe, sober, and supportive environment, they are seeing results in the work residents and graduates of the program are doing.
In keeping with its theme of growth, New Hope Rising continues to open one petal at a time, now offering wellness for the community at their new home base, the New Hope Rising Recovery and Wellness Center in Westhampton Beach, which debuted last summer.
The center offers behavioral health, clinical services such as individual, couples, and family counseling and holistic services such as Reiki sound healing, acupuncture, the emotional freedom technique, as well as meditation workshops for adults, and children through the Little Buddha program.
While residents of the organization’s recovery homes participate in the center’s wellness programs, they receive substance abuse counseling separately through the Seafield Center’s Outpatient Rehab in Patchogue. Seafield also operates a detox facility in Westhampton Beach.
New Hope Rising’s Recovery and Wellness Center also offers support groups and group therapy for stress management and smoking cessation. The Families Rising Support and Education Group meets twice monthly with licensed social worker facilitating. There is also Families Anonymous, a 12-step fellowship which meets weekly. Those meetings are free and open to the community.
But what makes the center stand out from most holistic houses of healing in the Hamptons, is the cost of services. The center accepts health insurance, Medicaid and Medicare, and in cases where a client does not have either, the center’s staff will work with them on a sliding scale, just like in their recovery housing.
The organization also has plans to expand further with a new women’s home opening shortly. Bruschi and McNamara expect to open another recovery home on the East End within the next six to nine months, to allow local residents the opportunity to stay closer to home as they recover.
Although they have branched out, recovery is still very much close to their hearts.
“We really stick with the lotus flower because, again, for a lot of people you have to embrace the darkness in order to enter the light,” said Bruschi. “For a lot of people it took what it took for them to get where they are today and that is a beautiful thing. And that is what we get to see on a daily basis, to really see that healing and light for the people around us.”
New Hope Rising is currently looking for donations of furniture — particular a dining room table — for the next home they are opening for women. Anyone wishing to donate can contact the wellness center at 631-336-9990.
The New Hope Rising Recovery and Wellness Center is located at 64 Old Riverhead Road in Westhampton Beach. For more information about the services that are available, visit www.NewHopeRisingNY.org or for more information, email Info@NewHopeRisingNY.org.