"Seek help for your child at the onset of any suspicion of alcohol or drugs," advises Gillian Thorp M.A. ’01, Three Stones Wellness CEO and co-founder with Kathryn Spelman, COO. "You don’t want to wait until your child hits rock bottom and is expelled from school or in the hospital. Early intervention is important."
Three Stones Wellness, which opened in a cozy home in Santa Clara last November, is a residential program providing alcohol and drug abuse treatment for adolescents, ages 12 to 17. The home can accommodate up to six teens for stays of 30 to 90 days. It is one of just nine residential facilities for adolescents in all of California (compared with some 2,400 facilities for adults).
"There is a huge, unmet need for help for adolescents suffering from substance abuse," says Thorp, a mother of two daughters. Thorp holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from Santa Clara University, where she was Director of the International Student Services before leaving the university last April to focus her efforts on establishing Three Stones Wellness.
"It’s been quite a leap of faith, but it’s something that speaks to my heart for personal reasons," says Thorp, a Santa Clara resident who was born and raised in South Africa.
"I wanted to do something in our community because I have long-standing roots here," continues Thorp, whose late husband, Deron, was a native of Santa Clara.
Thorp and Spelman are neighbors living on the same street, and Thorp’s daughters are friends with Spelman’s daughter. As the moms got to know each other, they discovered that they shared concern for teens struggling with substance abuse, which sometimes co-occurs with underlying disorders such as depression, anxiety, trauma, bipolar, and attention deficit.
"The establishment of a holistic, compassion-based program for adolescents to address very real problems was needed. The opportunity to develop and create a new program with a fresh perspective, incorporating evidence-based treatments and drawing upon the expertise of professionals in the field, while working with a dear friend, was a privilege not to be passed by," writes Spelman in an e-il.
A native of Southern California, Spelman brings her problem-solving and organizational skills as an attorney—with a law degree from the University of San Diego—to the partnership.
"What began as simply an idea and good intentions has blossomed into a program that we are extremely proud of. With the incredible support of our families and friends, and the commitment and work of the team that we have brought together, we expect that this program will create positive change in the lives of our adolescent clients and their families," states Spelman.
On the Three Stones Wellness website, it states that its core belief "is that alcohol and substance abuse is a treatable condition and that recovery is best achieved through a process that heals and nurtures mind, body, and spirit." This holistic approach to wellness is symbolized by three stacked stones, sometimes used by travelers along trails to mark the way home or to a new destination.