June 29, 2021 – Diverse in age and race, the group is assembled for a monthly Birthday Night, which will celebrate three residents whose birthdays fall in May as well as 18 men who are marking sobriety anniversaries of one month to 14 years.

Executive director Brent Burmaster, who marked 14 years of recovery from alcoholism in June, stands behind a vintage wood lectern exuberantly dispensing gold-plated sobriety coins along with personal praise for each recipient. Many of the residents have cycled in and out of rehabilitation programs. Most have been in jail — some prison — so Burmaster developed Soul’s Harbor’s six-month residency program using a holistic approach along with principles from his 25-year career as an IBM sales executive. The strategy incorporates occupational therapy in service of the nonprofit or its four thrift stores — a major source of funding — as well as mental health therapy, CrossFit exercise, money management training, yoga, temporary jobs with partner companies like Eddie Deen & Co. Catering, health care via a weekly mobile clinic operated by Parkland Health & Hospital System, pet therapy with Pepper and guidance about educational opportunities and trade school.

Most of the residents have children, and a Nurturing Fathers Program is set to start in September.


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