“Life in full circle” is how Julia Floyd-Ventura would describe her journey through addiction to her position as The Child Center of NY’s Senior Program Director in our Behavioral Health division, responsible for managing the Substance Abuse programs at our Stuart and South Jamaica Clinics.
Prior to her joining The Child Center in October 2018, Julia worked in various capacities at Phoenix House for more than 18 years — beginning in 2000 as a counselor through 2005 when she was named supervisor and then director of the Brentwood Mental Health Community Residence. In 2009 she was appointed Director of Mental Health Services of Phoenix House facilities on Long Island, and in 2012, she became Vice President and Director of Mental Health and Military Services.
“What drew me to The Child Center at this stage in my life was a yearning to pay it forward,” Julia explains. “I am woman in recovery for 28 years… I wanted to let parents of children who suffer from this disease know that they can recover, they can change.”
This possibility to turn things around is something Julia knows very deeply. She herself began using at the age of 10 to numb the pain of her own parents’ neglect. Her mother was an alcoholic, and she hadn’t yet met her biological father. To this day, she gives credit to her “wonderful stepfather” who always told her she was smart and could do better things with her life. What drives her every day, she says, is “wanting to be a powerful example that there is hope.”
It was upon finally realizing she did not want her daughter to grow up in the same environment that she did that ultimately made Julia seek her own treatment. “My daughter was born into this disease, and my love for her encouraged me and gave me the strength to change,” Julia says. She entered treatment at Phoenix House when she was 25, and she hasn’t used since.
When she completed treatment, Julia worked in a nursing home for nine years, and her ultimate calling toward providing mental health services began when she reconnected with a former Phoenix House counselor who was a new patient at the facility. When she admitted to him that she didn’t really like being a nurse, he’d asked her, “What do you really like?” and it was then that she realized a nascent passion for helping others through their own recovery. Soon thereafter, she applied to be a counselor at Phoenix House, and 18 years later, she has landed here.
With regards to goals for her position as Senior Program Director for our Stuart and South Jamaica clinics, Julia says, “I plan on integrating my 18 years of experience into an already fabulous team that provides both Mental Health and Substance Abuse services to individuals — adults and children — and families.”
She continues, “I am not just looking at how to make this program remain successful — I want to make sure that we continue to provide quality services that help save many lives in our community.”