Vineyard House campus, leadership enters new phase

From left: Brian Mackey, Dawn Bellante, Kate Desrosiers and Mark Jenkins.

The new Vineyard House campus, a residential community for Islanders in early sobriety, was years in the making. Now with a major capital campaign behind it, construction and landscaping completed, and the men’s and women’s houses operating near capacity, the nonprofit is transitioning into a new phase, according to a press release.

Mark Jenkins, who has served as president of the board of directors for 10 years, will step down at the end of January, and Dawn Bellante-Holand, who as executive director ran the final phase of the capital campaign and oversaw construction, is also moving on.

Incoming president Brian Mackey, a past director of Vineyard House, will preside over a new slate of officers, and Kate Desrosiers, who has served both on the board as treasurer and as administrator for Vineyard House, will take over day-to-day supervision of the campus as operations manager.

“Thanks to a remarkable effort by a group of very committed people, Vineyard House has arrived at a place where we can now focus entirely on our core mission, which is to help men and women recover from drug and alcohol abuse in a safe, sober setting,” said Mr. Mackey. “So many people were involved in realizing this longtime dream but none more dedicated and hardworking than Mark and Dawn.”

Vineyard House was founded in 1997 by a group of volunteers who recognized that people recovering from substance abuse needed support to successfully reintegrate into the community. With the help of key donors, Vineyard House provided temporary housing in several houses it acquired around the Island, ultimately launching a capital campaign with the objective of creating an innovative sober-living community to foster recovery.

That goal came to fruition in December 2014 when the new Vineyard House opened. Designed for group living, the campus can accommodate up to 24 residents in separate men’s and women’s houses, which include private and semi-private bedrooms, fully equipped kitchens, laundry facilities and common areas. A separate administrative building includes a meeting room where members of the wider community can take part in 12-step meetings and other recovery programs.

Mr. Jenkins, who will remain on the board of directors, said the obvious pride residents of Vineyard House have taken in the new campus can only help in their successful recovery.

“People helping people has always been the hallmark of Vineyard House, but we’re just beginning to understand how important physical environment is in promoting healthy outcomes,” he said, adding, “It is wonderful to see.”

Ms. Bellante-Holand said the success of Vineyard House’s capital campaign also exceeded expectations.

“The enormous generosity of donors enabled us to build and furnish a beautiful facility without taking on any debt,” she said. “With a strong financial foundation and with a newly energized board and volunteers, Vineyard House can play an increasingly important role in helping our community deal with a crisis that affects us all: addiction.”

In addition to Mr. Mackey, the new officers of Vineyard House are: W. Eric Adams and Jane Seagrave, co-vice presidents; Brian McBride, treasurer; and Lois Kanter, clerk. Lucy Patterson Cox is chairman of the development committee.