Carter Family Offers Sanctuary to Those in Need
April 9, 2009
by Patrick Rees - NJNETS.COM
East Rutherford, N.J. — Just like millions of others, Nets guard Vince Carter and his mother, Michelle Carter-Scott, have experienced drug and alcohol abuse within their family tree. Despite growing up in the affluent Tomoka Oaks neighborhood in Ormond Beach, Fla., Carter and his mother witnessed friends and acquaintances struggle with addiction. These experiences inspired Carter-Scott to present the idea of opening a state-of-the-art, world-class rehabilitation facility to her son in hopes that the eight-time All-Star would jump at the opportunity.
"You know, we can send people to the moon and back and build labs in outer space, but we can’t get a handle on this drug situation," Carter-Scott said. "It’s not making sense to me."
Just as he’s done on the NBA hardwood for 11 seasons, Carter sprung forward -- this time with a $1.6 million contribution to the Stewart-Marchman-Act Foundation, which will run the Sanctuary. The 100-bed addiction treatment center is expected to open this summer in Bunnell, Fla., just west of Carter’s hometown ( Daytona Beach).
"The idea was presented to me, and I’ve had a couple of family members who’ve abused drugs before so I think it will be a great place for people to get help," Vince Carter said. "The idea behind it, first and foremost, was to call it a sanctuary instead of a rehab center because that word gives you a sense of peace. I know a lot of people and I’ve had good friends who’ve abused drugs and have been victims of it, and I just felt this was an opportunity that I could get my hands on, to be a part of making something good happen."
The Sanctuary will include three buildings: a central community center named after Carter-Scott and then two other towers that will house approximately 50 beds each. The Sanctuary is open to anyone seeking help, with one of the towers offering services to those who might not have the means to pay for treatment. The second tower will be available for those who can afford the rehabilitation and will be able to accommodate patients from all walks of life. The Sanctuary will provide services such as WiFi, allowing professionals to stay productive and maintain contact with the "outside world" during their stay.
The folks at Stewart-Marchman did extensive research, visiting existing well-known rehabilitation clinics such as the Betty Ford Center in Riverside County, Calif. to gain an understanding of the pros and cons of operating a successful facility. One advantage that the VC Sanctuary will have is a partnership with the University of Florida’s McKnight Brain Institute. The Institute will be located on the grounds of the Sanctuary and will conduct research on drug and alcohol addiction, utilizing access to the Sanctuary's patients to aid in their studies. Carter-Scott is excited about this partnership and hopeful that the Institute’s work will make a difference in the lives of those who face addiction.
"If in my lifetime, they can come up with what they think is the answer to all of this, have it be successful and have done some of that research at the Vince Carter Sanctuary, you couldn’t bring me down from the stratosphere!" Carter-Scott said. "That would absolutely do it for me."
Carter-Scott will be busy with the grand opening of the Vince Carter Sanctuary, when combined with her existing duties overseeing the Embassy of Hope Foundation and the Vince Carter Youth Basketball Academy. But Carter-Scott and her son are excited for their new project. This summer, after the having spent the NBA season making a difference for the Nets, Vince Carter will be in Bunnell, at the site of his world-class rehabilitation center, standing next to his mother. Their only concern will be trying to make a difference in the lives of those who need it most.