THEN . . .
In the mid-60’s, David H. Kerr, a parole officer in Newark, recognized the need for a support system to help the many drug addicts on his caseload. For three years, he researched the problem of drug addiction and solutions in the form of treatment. Dave started his own support system rather than expecting others to provide the services to meet the needs of his parolees. One-on-one discussions led to group counseling sessions and eventually to the development of a social club.
Soon the social club grew so large that it could no longer meet in backyards and garages. In 1968, the club moved to a Belleville storefront to continue its sessions. Richard Grossklaus began his work at the club by locating a more permanent site for the club’s activities. He looked at buildings in Newark, following the 1967 riots, because rental properties were abundant.
Founders David Kerr and Richard Grossklaus gave up their jobs to work with addicts full time at no pay. In August 1968, the social club incorporated into Integrity, Inc., the name Integrity, meaning oneness, honesty or unity.
NOW . . .
Since 1968, Integrity House has grown to be the largest non-profit provider of substance abuse treatment services licensed by the State of New Jersey, Division of Mental Health & Addiction Services. It continues to fulfill its mission-based responsibility to rebuild lives, families and communities by addressing the wide-ranging needs of persons caught in the complex web of addiction. Each year Integrity House assists approximately 2,000 individuals in their recovery.
The foundation of Integrity House’s programs is the therapeutic community; a support system that provides a hand with a firm grip to help substance abusers stand again – to stay drug-free on their own. It also offers stability and encouragement to help individuals change their lifestyles and move toward integration into the community. The goal of the therapeutic community is to foster personal growth which is accomplished by changing an individual’s lifestyle through a community of concerned people working together to help themselves and each other. Being part of something greater than oneself is an especially important factor in facilitating positive growth. Clients learn self-reliance within a setting that has family ideals.
Integrity House is very different from what it was in 1968 but the mantra remains:
Integrity House provides the opportunity for people to reclaim their lives. Like all dynamic, successful organizations, it continues to change and respond to the needs of individuals and the community. While substance abuse is increasing in New Jersey, the funding for treatment is decreasing. Our work invites your involvement in a world that needs every one of us to resolve its many challenges.