In 1973, the Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans (AAMA) established the Sanchez Charter School to help provide equal educational opportunities for Mexican-American students. Since then, AAMA has extended its services to provide inpatient treatment for adolescent boys living in Houston, Texas at Casa Phoenix. The young men are housed in a facility on the charter school’s main campus and are required to attend during treatment. Though many of the teens who attend Casa Phoenix are court ordered, all are welcome.
Accommodations and Food
The dormitory-style housing on campus holds anywhere from 16 to 18 boys at a time, with shared bedrooms of up to four. Rooms are equipped with bunk beds, dressers and desks and bathrooms are shared on a per floor basis. While the set-up may seem somewhat institutional, the interior decor gives the residence a homey feel and there is a large living room, dining room and kitchen for all clients to use. Every day, an hour is set aside for physical activities; during which time the boys have access to an on-site gym, basketball court and soccer field.
Meals range from a variety freshly cooked dishes, prepared three times a day by an on-site chef, and are enjoyed around the large dining room table. Breakfast typically consists of eggs and bacon while lunch and dinner options include pizza, pasta, macaroni and cheese, fried chicken and traditional Mexican food.
Treatment and Staff
Boys, age 13 through 17, are offered a 90-day inpatient treatment program that includes weekly group and individual therapy as well as 12-step participation. After school, residents go into groups until 8 pm where qualified counselors lead educational and discussion-based sessions addressing topics like anger management, relapse prevention, STD and HIV awareness, trauma, life skills and goal setting.
Individual sessions are offered on a weekly basis and last from 45 minutes to an hour. During which time, the boys can openly discuss issues in a more intimate setting and counselors have the opportunity to monitor each client’s progress. It is recommended that family members involve themselves through family therapy, which is scheduled as needed.
On the weekends, there are morning and afternoon AA/NA meetings that accompany their regular therapy. Residents are also taken to sporting events on some weekends to help them bond and relax.
Staff is primarily comprised of LADCs and social workers. There’s also a Response to Intervention (RTI) counselor and residential counselors on-site around the clock. All staff members use evidence-based modalities like CBT and DBT, along with 12-step principles, during therapy.
AAMA Casa Phoenix specializes in giving teenage boys a new start with their well-rounded inpatient substance abuse and educational program. It even provides court-ordered and under-privileged clients treatment at no cost, something that you would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. For those who have sons that fall into this demographic, Casa Phoenix is an excellent choice for treatment.
AAMA Casa Phoenix
6001 Gulf Fwy
Houston, TX 77023
AAMA Casa Phoenix Cost: Free (90 days). Reach AAMA Casa Phoenix by phone at (713) 967-6700. Find AAMA Casa Phoenix on Facebook
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Photo courtesy of By University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Office of Communications (Wikimedia Commons) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons (resized and cropped)