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Founder of Rutgers’ Recovery House Program Honored at Raymond J. Lesniak ESH Recovery High School Graduation

Jul 12, 2022 | Press Releases | 0 comments

15, June, 2022 – Lisa Laitman, Rutgers Recovery House Founder (right) gives acceptance speech for the Pam Capaci Hero for Recovery Award alongside Recovery High School founder, Pamela Capaci (center) and Prevention Links CEO, Morgan Thompson (left). Photo Credit: Lesniak Institute for American Leadership

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ, July 12, 2022 – The Raymond J. Lesniak ESH Recovery High School, based out of Roselle, NJ, celebrated its 7th annual graduation ceremony on June 15th. The school, launched in 2014, is a public New Jersey high school that guides teens struggling with substance use disorder toward recovery while pursuing their education. The school’s annual graduation ceremony celebrates each student’s achievement, and honors individuals who have made a significant impact in the recovery community. This year, the Pam Capaci Hero for Recovery Award was granted to Lisa Laitman, who founded the Rutgers Recovery House program. The award was presented by Prevention Links CEO, Morgan Thompson, who is a Rutgers Recovery House alum.

When Lisa Laitman began working at Rutgers in 1983, she was the first drug and alcohol counselor in the school’s history, responsible for all of the university’s campus locations in New Brunswick, Newark and Camden. This was the first step towards the university’s Alcohol and Other Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). Throughout the early years of Laitman’s work at the university, her persistent advocacy for collegiate recovery resulted in a full-time drug and alcohol counselor being present on all three campuses.

Laitman later pushed for an on-campus recovery house to further support the sustained recovery efforts for students wanting to live on-campus. This housing would provide students with a 12-month, on-campus housing option, offering them the opportunity to have a fulfilling residential college experience living within a supportive community with other students in recovery. Despite some initial resistance from the administration at that time,  1988 marked the year of the world’s first-ever recovery house on a college campus, located at none other than Rutgers University in New Brunswick.

The Rutgers Recovery House is still in operation today on both New Brunswick and Newark campuses and is the first and longest-running recovery program on a college campus in the world. This has resulted in not only countless successfully attained college diplomas, but countless lives saved. Laitman’s work has appeared on CBS and NBC and ABC and the New York Times. Presently there are over 200 collegiate recovery programs in existence and being developed.

The Raymond J. Lesniak Experience, Strength and Hope Recovery High School came about through a unique public/private partnership between Prevention Links, one of the state’s leading non-profits focused on substance use prevention, the award-winning Union County Vocational-Technical School District and Simon Youth Academy. The program consists of academic success, health and wellness, recovery planning, mentorship and family involvement.

The school is an out of district placement, serving the northern region of the state, including outside of Union County. There is no cost to families and tuition is substantially lower than other out of district placements to combat barriers to enrollment.

If you have or know a student seeking or in recovery who would benefit from a safe, supportive environment to pursue their high school diploma and recovery, contact the Raymond J. Lesniak Experience, Strength & Hope Recovery High School by calling 908-793-9800 x3 or emailing smontanez@preventionlinks.org

Visit the Recovery High School Website at https://eshrecoveryschool.org

Contact Info

Prevention Links
121-125 Chestnut Street Suite 301,
3rd Floor Roselle, New Jersey 07203
phone: 732-381-4100
TTY: 732.381.4192
Fax: 732.381.0140

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