Summary History of Second Genesis

In 1969, internationally renowned psychiatrist Sidney Shankman, M.D. founded Second Genesis, which grew to become one of the largest nonprofit providers of therapeutic community services to combat addiction in the mid-Atlantic region. It's mission was to empower individuals and families with the tools to break the cycle of addiction, deploying therapeutic community model to provide a safe environment for individuals to confront their problematic thinking patterns and behaviors. This effective approach afforded clients the opportunity to absorb standards for healthy living as they were firmly and lovingly held accountable for their conduct and choices.

Throughout its history, the Second Genesis residential program was described as a “school” that educates people who have never learned how to feel worthy without hurting themselves and others. Through its highly structured treatment, Second Genesis combined the basic values of love, honesty, and responsibility with work, education, and intense group pressure to help correct the problems that prevent people from living by these values. Discovering self-respect in a family-like setting, residents were taught to replace behavioral deficits and substance abuse with positive alternatives. Of particular note, the Second Genesis Melwood House facility in Upper Marlboro, MD, earned national and international acclaim as it provided residential treatment for women and their young children, offering children's services, vocational counseling, parenting classes, and anger management workshops.

By the time of its fortieth year of 2009, Second Genesis was serving approximately 1200 clients a year at its one outpatient and five residential treatment centers in Maryland and Washington, DC. A second chance at life had been given to over 30,000 men and women, including pregnant women, women with their children, clients with co-occurring disorders, and teenagers with their families.

However, in the face of continuing and growing financial hemorrhages caused by continued reductions in government funding that severely undercut the ability of Second Genesis to provide quality treatment services, the Board of Directors determined that it was necessary to curtail all program operations in early 2014, and liquidate remaining assets.

As a result, a new Second Genesis Foundation was formed from the initial proceeds of the property sale to carry on the mission and vision of Dr. Shankman through funding effective programs that are focused upon the prevention and treatment of drug abuse among youth and young adults in the National Capital Region.