Santa Barbara’s Casa Serena just elevated HLG’s Executive Director, Erin Schaden, as its incoming new Chair. Casa Serena’s mission is to (1) provide effective treatment services and a safe, sober living environment to women seeking recovery from the disease of alcoholism or from substance abuse, (2) introduce them to the philosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous and the “12-step” process and (3) promote community awareness of Casa Serena’s services. It has given thousands of women a firm foundation on which to begin their recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. We support this important organization, and we applaud Erin’s elevation.
Casa Serena opened its doors to alcoholic women in August of 1959 primarily through the efforts of its founder, Mildred Pinheiro. Recovering from alcoholism herself, Mildred wanted to open the home “because there was no place here for a woman alcoholic to go for help.” The home was originally a project of the Santa Barbara Committee on Alcoholism (now the Santa Barbara Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse). It organized into a nonprofit corporation in 1973.
At the core of Casa Serena’s successes are now three beautifully cared-for and welcoming homes. The original house on Bath Street is able to accommodate eighteen women. It serves as the initial entry point to Casa Serena’s program. In the early 1990’s the organization purchased a second home nearby on Castillo Street. This, the “Grad House,” is home to an additional eight women.
In 2000 Casa Serena acquired Oliver House, located on the Mesa. Oliver House is licensed for six women and six children. It is the only residential facility in Santa Barbara that will accept both recovering women and their children. With a total capacity of 32 women and six children, it provides caring staff and a simple, yet gracious and dignified, setting in which to live and grow.
· Is the only non-denominational program of its kind in Santa Barbara.
· Is the only residential treatment facility for women with children in SantaBarbara County.
· Is the oldest residential recovery program for women in Santa Barbara County.
· Is a comprehensive residential treatment program, licensed by the State of California.
Casa Serena’s staff consists of trained professionals in the treatment of substance abuse. Itsclinical team is made up of Marriage/Family Therapists (MFTs) and MFT interns,as well as Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors and counselor interns. Theclinical and program staff have experience in 12-Step recovery. The 12-step process is a social model fortreatment of addiction and addictive behaviors.
HLG’s practice often involves clients, opposing parties and related others with substance abuse concerns. Erin is a major asset in those cases. She is a natural leader for Casa Serena’s Board, as it quickly recognized after Erin’s first year of service as a board member (she was first appointed last November). We congratulate and thank Erin for her commitment to Casa Serena, as well as to HLG.