Idle hands… – 

Dec. 27, 2020 – As Mendonca spent his days knitting yarn and making his own unique creations, fellow residents at the facility began to take notice.

One by one, Mendonca’s solo hobby turned into a little community. 

Among his group is 31-year-old Michael Prokopchuk, who spent years struggling with his own drug addiction, which led him to a suicide attempt before he joined Phoenix. 

“After almost four years of addiction, it was time to turn my life around,” Prokopchuk told CNN. “Our knitting group has helped me by keeping my mind busy and giving me a sense of community. I’ve connected with everybody in our looming group and have learned some quality life lessons from sharing with the group during my time here.” As members of the facility complete the 90-day intensive residential treatment program, they are given the option to remain at the facility for two years as they continue their recovery.

Mendonca, who finished the program and chose to stay, is used to his group of toquers constantly changing. But with every new member, the group only becomes more tightly knit. 

“It’s really nice to have something to do, and the conversations we have are about pom poms, colors, brims, and we catch ourselves sitting there like we can’t believe what we’re talking about,” Mendonca said. “Somehow our group is solely men, and it turned us all into softies.”