ZAP, the Substance Abuse Program headquartered in the City Neighborhood House, has just completed its first year and graduated its first class of participants. They began last month with ten participants, seven of whom have satisfactorily completed the program. Three others of the original group have either moved away or dropped out for various reasons.
Graduation from the program depends on a commitment to six days a week, five hours a day, of group therapy, individual counseling as needed, job skills preparation and education leading to GED diplomas. No drug or alcohol use is permitted.
Random urine testing is conducted. However, a positive test will not lead to expulsion from the program, as relapses are considered part of recovery.
Ages of participants range from 12 to 25. Currently, there are 42 young people in the program, most of them under age 17. Most of them are self-referrals, though some are referred by Youth Guidance Center or the Adult Probation Dept. Completion of the program qualifies a participant to a certificate of completion recognized by the court system.
Several of the graduates have earned their GKDs and are attending City College. One graduate who learned computer skills at ZAP is now working in Assemblyman Peter Lambert’s local office. Another has a job in a city business.
Major emphasis is placed on getting those who have left the educational system back into school. This can be a difficult problem when a young person has dropped out for a significant length of time. Many of the clients have special educational needs and are difficult to place.
ZAP staff consists of project director Hannah Brown, two full-time and one part-time counselors, a part-time family therapist and an administrative assistant.
Some 72 percent of the funding comes from Proposition C funds while 26 percent comes from the General Fund through the Department of Public Health.