BY FERNANDO RODRIGUEZ
In English, the Spanish word Ave Fenix refers to one of the constellations. Here in Mexico, the non-profit organization, Ave Fenix, is a rehabilitation center that plans on opening a new facility here in Cabo San Lucas, somewhere in the western foothills of the impoverished neighborhoods or “Colonias” of Gastelum and Caribe.
Ave Fenix decided on this location based on a 2014 study conducted by the Gulf of California University, which identified the Leonardo Gastelum and Caribe areas with having the greatest social disintegration and very high rates of violence and drug addiction. The Ave Fenix organization wants to make a difference within these two Cabo neighborhoods.
Established in 1999, Ave Fenix has helped more than 12,900 patients with their highly effective methods and treatment in helping people get straight and start their lives over. In Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Ave Fénix has both a men’s and women’s facility run by Marcela Martínez de Haro (Women) and Hernando Ponce Luevano (Men). A third facility in the state of Chihuahua is located near the airport in Chihuahua City.
Their other three facilities in Mexico are situated above the hills of Mexico City, in the state of Morelos in Cuernavaca. Like Chihuahua, one of them in Cuernavaca is a women’s only site, run by director Laura Isabel Bustos Yañez, who also oversees the men’s center. The Ave Fenix Rehab organization sports a very modern effective method, whose success is evident by their very low recidivism rate of just 5.7%.
The Ave Fenix method of rehabilitation is based on the work of founder Father Ignacio Larrañaga who graduated from Harvard University and the School of San Andrés de José Prado. His mission was to help people change their self-destructive ways and become positive and productive members of their families and community. His centers stress the dignified and caring treatment of their patients.
According to their doctrine, the Ave Fenix Center’s first focus is on the physical rehabilitation of patients to regain their awareness and achieve an optimal level of energy that prompts them to work towards rebuilding their lives. Physical rehab includes a medical evaluation and clinical analysis, a detoxification process, (if necessary), a well-balanced diet, aerobic exercise, muscle tone exercises, stretching and education about alcohol and drug damage to internal organs.
The Rehab Center then focuses on a patient’s emotional, mental and spiritual health. They learn how they have been negatively affected by circumstances that have wounded their emotional well-being. An inability to heal these wounds causes some people to seek escape from situations and eventually leads them to engage in harmful addictive behaviors that destroy and enslave them. The resulting low self-esteem, anguish, neurosis, depression, and sometimes death causes entire families and society to suffer as well.
The third phase of their rehab process includes a skills development component that teaches patients life skills and better habits. It addresses a person’s destructive, obsessive, pessimistic, scattered, fantasy thoughts, dishonest attitudes, unconscious commands, and deals with a person’s victim syndrome mentality. And of course, the Ave Fenix Rehab Center process includes prayer and knowledge of God, the teaching of the bible as per its creator, Father Ignacio Larrañaga, and his mission to help save and change lives.
And yes, there is a cost to help change and save lives. The Ave Fenix program is divided into three fundamental stages, in which a patient’s stay can run anywhere from 2, 4, 6 or 12 weeks. And the cost depends on the duration of the treatment. But in the interest of a person or persons who do not have the economic resources to pay for their treatment, the center offers a partial scholarship. If a patient prefers a single room alone, the cost for his rehabilitation increases by 50%.
Requirements for entry into the Ave Fenix healing and rehab center are that a patient attends of their own free will, knows how to read and write, is in good physical health, is 15 years and older, and must be willing to isolate themselves during the length of their stay. Material that an approved addict must bring are 1) two bath towels, 2) shampoo, soap, toothpaste and toothbrush, 3) comfortable clothes, and 4) sandals. Upon completion or graduation from Ave Fenix, patients are educated on conflict resolution, new life goals, relapse prevention, and free time management.
The First stage of the Los Cabos Ave Fenix Facility will be the construction of the Parish and Multi-Use Center. It will cost $1.15 million USD and take at least 12 months to complete. The Second stage plans for the Dining Room and Classrooms will cost $850K and also take around 12 months to finish. Having seen the architects’ drawings, blueprints and photos, I must say, the facility will look fabulous.