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Greenhope Services for Women, Inc. Announces the Opening of Kandake House

New Facility Offers Holistic Programs & Services for Women Ex-Offenders

Greenhope Services for Women (www.greenhope.org) will open Kandake House, a substance abuse treatment center and alternative to incarceration residence in May 2011. Kandake House, located at 435 East 119th Street in East Harlem, will be home to 72 women, including 28 women with children, as well as Greenhope administrative offices. The new facility is a design and program model developed from the vision of Executive Director Anne R. Elliott, Ph.D. as an alternative to incarceration.

"Kandake" is the title for queens and queen mothers of the ancient African empire of Nubia. The name embodies the spirit of the new facility. It is a holistic and cultural space designed to create a safe space for women to learn new skills, have new experiences and receive the support that they need to lead a life free of drugs and crime.

The Mission To empower women involved in substance abuse and the criminal justice system to reclaim their lives, reunite with their families, and rebuild their communities.

The Programs & Services Greenhope Services for Women provides residential treatment services, supportive housing, family services and a range of prevention and outpatient programs to formerly incarcerated HIV-positive and at-risk women, women referred by the courts as an alternative to incarceration (ATI), and women from the community seeking substance abuse treatment.

  • Residential Treatment
  • Day Treatment
  • Outpatient Services
  • Drug and Alcohol Counseling
  • Family & Criminal Court Involvement
  • Case Management/Benefits Assistance
  • Permanent and Transitional Housing
  • Vocational and Educational Program
  • Domestic Violence Education and
  • Prevention Program
  • Family Therapy and Reunification
  • Aftercare Programs
  • Statewide Policy and Advocacy Program
  • On-Site Medical Assistance
  • HIV Service
  • Nutritional Health
  • 12-Step Programs
  • Nutritional Health
  • Creative Arts

In addition, there will be educational, healing and creative arts services such as yoga, gardening, cooking classes, art programs, an African dance workshop, technology and other classroom learning. A Learning Center will offer Pre-GED, GED and Degree for Me classes (to encourage students to get a college degree), tutoring, TABE classes, and an extensive Literacy Initiative with a seminar, book club, word games and a Metropolitan Museum of Art Project that ties in culturally-relevant content done in collaboration with their education department.

The Approach Greenhope is a value-driven organization. Core values include Voice, Choice, Integrity and Trust. Greenhope creates an environment where a woman can come to terms with herself and her past. The program helps each woman to find her voice, take responsibility for her choices and move forward rebuilding her life on a firmer footing.

Kandake House reflects the organization’s holistic, woman-centered treatment approach. Its design integrates elements of pride, cultural and gender roots, family, community, learning, comfort, creativity and healing arts at large -- from sky-lit spaces, to a restaurant-quality kitchen, to classroom chairs that rival any Manhattan office for comfort.

The People
All of the residents at Kandake House are homeless, in the process of transitioning from incarceration to independence, or referred as an alternative to incarceration. They are predominantly women of color and ex-offenders. 95% have substance abuse histories; 75% have no GED or high school diploma and no work history; 75% have been physically abused; 60% are incest and/or rape survivors; 30% are HIV-positive; and 80% are mothers with two or more children.

Kandake House is the vision of Dr. Anne Elliott, Ph.D. Dr. Elliott was a founding advisory committee member of Balm in Gilead, the HIV African American church program. She worked with the Minority Task Force on AIDS and co-conducted a study for the Mayor in 1987 on HIV prevention and education needs. She has a B. A. from Davison College, Davidson, NC; a Master of Divinity, a Master of the Philosophy of Religion, and a degree of Doctor of the Philosophy of Systematic Theology from Union Theological Seminary, NY. Dr. Elliott joined Greenhope in 1994. Key staff includes Jennifer Yasmeen Sutton, Deputy Executive Director of Finance and Administration; Alethea Simon, Rh.D., Deputy Executive Director and Certified Rehabilitation Counselor; and Chantay Jones, BA, MS, CASAC, Director of Family Services.

The Place
Kandake is a “green” building, designed by Anthony K. Shitemi of Urban Architectural Initiatives of New York city and built by Galaxy Construction. The eight-story structure includes program and administrative offices, a medical center and pharmacy, rooms for group counseling sessions, a learning center, nursery and child development center, a classroom kitchen, a professional kitchen and cafeteria, a greenhouse (10’ x 37’), a play ground (30’ x 7’), and two roof decks for planting.

Green features include: High efficiency central HVAC system using gas-fired boilers; Energy star light fixtures throughout; highly insulated exterior walls; motion sensors for stairwell and hallway lights; low water consumption plumbing fixtures; materials with low VOC’s; green roofs with plantings and high reflective pavers; materials high in recycled content (steel, sheet rock, floor tile); and maximized natural light.

The façade of Kandake House is a rich weave of metal, brick and stucco based on the colors and patterns of African textile Kente cloth. In contrast to most such facilities, the bright colors boldly announce the presence and pride of the residents to the neighborhood.

Elements of form, texture, color, light, artwork and inspirational spaces, from skylights and terraces, to a children’s playground all work together to foster a fresh space to think about, and claim, a new life. It is a very ‘uninstitutionalized’ environment for women who have either just come from an institution, or are at risk of going to one.

The History
Greenhope was established in 1975 in a convent that was transformed into a comprehensive residential treatment program for formerly incarcerated women. Over the years, it has developed formal relationships with the criminal justice system and has expanded its work to include services for women on parole and those referred by the courts as an alternative to incarceration (ATI).

Greenhope maintains a 75% successful completion rate among parolees, which is significantly higher than the 25% standard set for this population by the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, and a recidivism rate of less than 10%. This year, Greenhope also achieved a 65% job placement rate for its clientele.

The Difference
Kandake House offers elements unusual in ATI facilities, including: • Housing for mother and child. • "Uninstitutionalized" environment that empowers rather than manages residents. • Holistic approach, from healing arts to a doctor of alternative medicine. • Leadership with an exceptional vision and ability to implement. • Alumnae Association of successful graduates who can guide others.

About Greenhope Service for Women, Inc.
Greenhope Services for Women, Inc., established in 1975, is a comprehensive treatment program serving formerly incarcerated and at-risk women located in East Harlem, NYC. The mission of Greenhope is to empower women involved in substance abuse and the criminal justice system to reclaim their lives, reunite with their families, and rebuild their communities.

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