STAR Program Graduation Ceremony Held for 8 Participants – Largest Number in STAR History

Posted by on September 21, 2017 in Press & Internal News

The Substance Abuse Treatment and Reentry (STAR) Program in Los Angeles celebrated the largest graduating class in its history with 8 participants who successfully completed the program. The graduation ceremony was held in the U.S. Courthouse in Los Angeles and presided over by the Hon. Otis D. Wright, II.  Also in attendance were Hon. Virginia Phillips, Chief U.S. District Judge, and Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver. Friends and family attended the graduation ceremony. Staff from the Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Central District of California attended the graduation, led by Deputy Federal Public Defender Raul Ayala. STAR team members from the the U.S. Attorney’s and Probation Offices were also in attendance.

The graduates spent an average of 18 months in STAR. Combined, they have attended over 1700 Narcotics Anonymous meetings and spent over 180 hours serving food at the Midnight Mission. The graduates account for 10 substance abuse residential treatment placements; 10 prior supervised release revocations; they completed 8 cognitive behavior treatment groups; 5 are currently receiving mental health treatment; 3 completed Moral Recognation Therapy (MRT) – a cognitive behavioral program focused on good decision-making skills and 3 completed the Emerging Leaders Program (a life skills program run by retired LASD Officer Clyde Terry, Director/Founder).

Check out the photo gallery of the graduation ceremony.

Each graduate spent time speaking to the court, friends and family.

I was tired of all the negativity. Tired of going to jail. Tired of being so damned paranoid all the time. . . . I love myself and surround myself with positive energy. Albert

I regained my self-worth, my independence and my family. I had to ask myself: ‘Do you want to live or die?’ I chose to live! Alissa

I want to be an independent woman. I want to reconnect with my family and to improve the quality of my live. Yvonne

I’ve tried every possible way to be successful. Using drugs was killing me slowly and painfully. My use prevented me from engaging in important things in life. I was a skeleton. Now I know that the ‘meat’ is applying what I know. Solomon

I’ve learned to stay away from the negative people I used to hang around with. I want to be healthy. I want to be a role model for my children and my community. Mayra

Drugs are not an option. I have a job now. I pay rent and other bills. My dream is to be a better person and stay clean. Juan

I stay away from old friends that use. I don’t go to areas where I know there are drugs. I want to be a better person and role model to my family. Jose

The road I was on wasn’t leading to anything prosperous in my life or for my future. I will continue to use the tools that I’ve learned and keep doing positive things for me and my children. Emmanuel