Alumni From November-December
Class of June 1993
Amy graduated from FFS in 1993 after a two-year stay that she says saved her life.
Amy entered the school as a defiant, angry young woman with violence and behavioral issues. Amy said, “[My experience at FFS] was not easy. I was definitely not one who gave in easily, so my stay was longer. Eventually, though, the values were absorbed, and from that point on I was able to function.”
Amy has been incredibly successful in the years since she was a student here. She is currently married, has three children, and is working as a public health RN in pediatrics.
She showed her deep emotion and gratitude for the school saying, “I know it’s difficult. I know it’s been tough, but the goal of the staff and your parents is that you’re successful and you have a good life.” Her advice to the newcomer is, “Stick with it. You need to learn and absorb as much as you can. You’re not going to be here forever, and there is going to be a time and a place when you’ll be able to put these skills to the test. Believe it or not, this is your life, and you are the one who chooses how you live it.”
Paul P. and Rosie E.
Class of December 2009
Paul arrived at The Family Foundation School on January 25, 2007, and Rosie Enyart arrived on January 16, 2008. They graduated high school together in December of 2009.
Before arriving at FFS, Paul didn’t go to school, got high daily, and didn’t care about his family or future. Rosie had similar issues: she was very unhappy and angry, but she numbed her emotions with drug use and self mutilation.They both had struggles during the beginning of their stays, but they expressed them in different ways.
Paul tried to fly under the radar and didn’t cause a lot of trouble. He “half-measured everything” and did everything he could to get by doing the smallest amount of work. After a while, though, his “flawless” efforts to remain unseen failed. At this point, Paul decided to start to change.
Rosie, on the other hand, acted as if everything was okay and did everything in her power to hide her true emotions. “The reality of the school didn’t hit me until after I was here for a couple of months. At that point, I really expressed my dislike for all of the small rules,” she added.
Paul and Rosie started to turn it around, and eventually, both earned internships and Family School diplomas. Paul even earned the title of Residential Assistant (RA) and received the Student of the Month award.
The key to Rosie’s turnaround was discovering her spirituality. During her stay, she was able to figure out who she really was and what she believed in. However, Enyart says the real work began after she left The Family School.
Paul was tired of the way he was living his life and needed to change. He knew he had to make the decision to turn over his will to his Higher Power.
“I couldn’t have done it without my family at home and Family 6,” said Paul.
After leaving The Family Foundation School, Passaretti remained sober and was involved in Alcoholics Anonymous for a short time. He got emotionally lost, however, and didn’t know where to turn. “I had people around me saying, ‘What are you doing?’ and again, I felt like everyone hated me until I eventually realized that they were right.”
For Rosie, she still had problems that she needed to solve, but once she solved them, it all came together and now she knows what makes her happy and she sticks to it.
Paul and Rosie were welcomed warmly by many staff members and some students who knew them during their stays. “It’s really good to have people excited about how good I am doing and that people have an interest in me and how I feel. It’s even better to hear it from people here because they are my family,” said Rosie.
Currently, Paul lives in New York City. He majors in Liberal Arts at Kingsborough Community College and walks dogs part-time. Rosie also lives in New York attends UConn and is majoring in English with a minor in women’s history. Both of them leave their futures in the hands of God and take life one day at a time.
Class of June 2007
In May of 2004, Dean arrived at FFS, straight from the heart of New York City, in a fit of anger and confusion. He was placed in Family Four but his heart set on leaving as soon as possible and he had no intention of changing his way of thinking.
Dean described his stay as “as hard as I could make it for myself. The first year or so, I was uncooperative and got myself into a lot of trouble.” When asked about what prompted him to change, he said that it was one student who made all the difference. “There was a senior kid in my family who helped me change my mind. He sat in the corner with me all the time and did everything he could to help me. Once I finally found someone I could relate to, I found that I wanted what he had.”
After his graduation in 2007, he continued onto school and started working and continues to work in union construction. His biggest struggle since leaving was “finding where I fit into things. My biggest support is still my dad and my faith, and they keep me going whenever I feel things aren’t going right for me.” Dean’s advice to the newcomer is, “Do what you need to do and everything will fall into place. I’ve been doing that since I left and I have developed a very clean sober life thanks to this principle.”
Class of June 2008
When Ian arrived at The Family School, his energy was invested in drug use. His constant family struggles and desire to get high led him to do things that he would later regret.
During his stay at The Family School, Ian had struggles, but in the end wound up receiving a tremendous amount of support from his peers and staff. “Bill, Rita, and Jan were definitely contributing factors towards my success at the school,” stated Ian.
After graduating in June of 2008 he attended Marywood College in Scranton, Pa. During his stay at college, he felt he was missing something. He was drawn back to The Family School to give back to the community that helped him achieve a life of sobriety and happiness. Ian worked with the students and helped give them advice using his experience. “When I came back to work for the first time, my main purpose was to reconnect with the people that helped me the most but I got a lot out of coming back,” said Ian.
During the interview with Ian, he also said that he would be coming back to work again. He plans to continue his life in sobriety here and aspires to one day have a profession writing screenplays. To the newcomer, he advises, “Keep talking to people about what’s going on inside yourself.”
Class of 1996
Former student and staff, Chris, visited The Family School to catch up with his old friends. Before arriving at FFS, “Nico” described himself as a lost young man who could not cope with his daily issues.
Chris had a knack for acting out on his anger, which led him to get into trouble with the law. When his misbehavior and violence caught up to him, he was sent to FFS in 1993.
After spending three years at FFS, Chris learned about himself and what he needed to change in order to be successful. He credits Terry, Father Stephen, Jan, and Chris S. for helping him work through his dilemmas and showing him how to achieve true happiness.
“A lot of the staff and students from FFS all had morals that I admired. I attribute my success today to people like them,” Chris said.
Thanks to hard internal work, Nico graduated high school in 1996. He returned a year after his departure to give back and work as a staff, but he still struggled adjusting to daily life. “The roots of the real world are different. I had to find the foundation that I wanted to live,” he said.“Life is a long journey, and I acknowledged I had to make the decision which foundations I valued.”
Class of June 2007
Brandon arrived at FFS in 2003 as an angry and defiant teenager with substance abuse problems and a bad relationship with his family. His stay was long and laborious, like a three-year-long roller coaster ride.
“I finally started to turn around once I got involved. I played sports and did the drama and choir stuff too. I struggled as I went through several different stages, but I was eventually able to find my footing.”
Brandon remained in Family Two for the majority of his stay. He credited Sid and Rita, his family leaders, as his biggest help during his stay at The Family School.
Brandon is currently sober after a recent stay in rehab and is working full-time while living in Long Island. He said that his biggest struggle is staying sober. His advice the newcomer is, “Keep your head up and express your feelings. Always seek good role models and stick with the winners.”