Having carved a national reputation in innovative aftercare for young-adult men, Turning Point founder David Vieau had gotten used to fielding the question, “When are you going to create a program for women?” An idea that has been in discussion for about six years will finally come to fruition this June, when Turning Point establishes a women's program housed in a refurbished mansion in New Haven, Conn.
With this long-awaited announcement also comes word of a new identity for Turning Point, which now will be known as Turnbridge—in order to eliminate brand confusion from overuse of the former name in the industry. “They've actually taken our name,” Vieau says of other service organizations that have emerged in recent years.
Vieau often had responded to the inquiries about a women's program by saying his organization first needed to fulfill its initial mission well. Its phased reintegration program for young-adult men, an approach that it refers to as “preparative care” (preparing for a productive sober life in the community), has received national attention for its integration of experiential activities that appeal to its target age group, such as mixed martial arts and music performance.
More specifically, Vieau has believed that in order for the organization to translate that success into a similar program for women, “You need the right women and the right facility.” Audrey Bell, the organization's director of women's programming, is spearheading the establishment of the team that will be in place when the women's program opens in mid-June. As for the facility, Vieau's organization was able to purchase a historic New Haven mansion that he excitedly describes as “over the top.” It will house around 14 women in each of the two most highly supervised phases of Turnbridge's three-phase program.
The 23,000-square-foot structure was originally occupied by Hiram Bingham, a former Connecticut governor and U.S. senator who, when serving as a lecturer at Yale University, made public the existence of the Inca city of Machu Picchu. Later, the building would serve as a women's dormitory for Albertus Magnus College, and more recently it was owned by a Wall Street investor, Vieau says.
Vieau says Turnbridge will stay close to its roots in designing the women's program, once again emphasizing sober activities that will directly appeal to the target group of women ages 18 to 25 (22 is the current median age of participants in the men's aftercare program). The women's facility will feature an art program, and the building will include a large hall for meditation, yoga and Pilates, Vieau says.
As with the men's program, “This will be a program run by people in recovery, with a healthy mix of technically sound clinicians,” Vieau says (clinical services are delivered off-site in Turnbridge's self-pay programming). People in early recovery “live in the real world, so the program needs to be based on life skills,” he says.
Regarding the organization's name, Vieau says it had gotten to the point where a Google search of “Turning Point” was placing his facility very low in the sequence of entries. Organic search of course is important to treatment and recovery support facilities, although Vieau says the vast majority of referrals to his program come from professional sources such as primary treatment centers and private-practice clinicians.
In considering a new name, “We didn't want to change very much,” Vieau says. The concept of a “bridge” seemed to fit will with the organization's mission, he says. Moreover, the name “Turnbridge” was available to trademark, so there should be no brand confusion going forward.