Adam's House Celebrates Graduates€ Achievements

Mary Wells | 7/8/2009, 8:12 p.m.

More than 60 men and women received certificates from a life skills programs designed to teach individuals how to reconnect with their children and families, manage their anger and embrace sobriety as a lifestyle during a 10-month program sponsored by Adam€s House on Mon., June 22.

The commencement at Expectation Bible Baptist Church in Suitland, Md., marked a new beginning in the lives of 56 men and five women who entered the program, many under court order, seeking guidance in various areas of their lives. Participants€ issues ranged from parental custody to anger management and from substance abuse to alcoholism.

Other participants attended the weekly classes at the center voluntarily to learn skills that would enable them to become responsible adults and better parents. For instance, Douglas Stancil, 27, of Temple Hills, Md., said that he attended classes in the hopes of regaining custody of his son.

€They taught me how to be a dad and a family man. [They taught me] just how to be a man,€ he said with his child in tow.

Adam€s House, a non-profit organization in Landover, Md., provides men and women with support and guidance in managing their lives and connecting with their children and families.

Established in 1999, at the request of Dr. Donald Shell of the Prince George's County Health Department, Adam€s House is the first center of its kind in the County. The comprehensive center provides a multitude of services and courses for fathers of all ages that include health screenings, social services, marital counseling, remedial math and reading classes and legal assistance with child support issues.

Five months free of substance abuse and legal issues, Lawrence Waller, Jr. of Upper Marlboro, Md., gives testimony about how he entered and benefited from Adam's House in Landover, Md. at the graduation ceremony on Mon., June 22. Photos by Maurice Fitzgerald
"We don't tell residents who come in that we can't do something. If we don't have the resources to do it, then we find someone else who can assist them," Shell said.

"They're normal guys that need help, direction and advice. Adam's House fills that gap," the doctor said.

During the ceremony the graduates, in groups of five, shared anecdotes about their lives prior to entering Adam€s House and where they are today with family and friends who attended the graduation ceremony.

"Look at this book called, €Me,€€ a proud young father said while pointing at himself.

"This Thursday, I will be five months sober. I thank God for ordering me to Adam's House. I thought, €why do I need anger management?' For years, I thought I could straddle the fence," he admitted.

Anger appeared to be the dominant issue that plagued many of the graduates, but they have learned to control their emotions. In the past several years, Adam's House has also opened its doors to women who want to join the program.

"You can't control life," another young man added. "I was here from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. everyday learning."

William Hall, the program director at Adam€s House, said that staff approach anger management through the viewpoint of the participants.

"We use their perspective, and sometimes we do more listening and I take what they are saying and give it back to them,€ Hall said.

"You are angry and I hear you. You're not going to take it anymore. I teach them how to manage [their anger],€ he said.

Prince George€s County State€s Attorney Glenn Ivey (D), visits Adam€s House frequently and joined in the day€s celebration. Ivey, along with Shell and Hall, conferred the certificates and congratulated each of the graduates personally.

€We start again in September and go until June with group sessions and individual counseling of the new attendees and their families, but we are also open to counsel those who have left, but who want to come in and sit down and talk,€ Hall said.

€Oh, yes, we still provide support for those who seek it. We are always open,€ he said with a smile.