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FAU's Life of Purpose Puts Education at Treatment's Center
Written by Ted Jackson   
November 2014

Andrew Burki had a teenage experience that was as harrowing as it gets. He was sent to a Samoan island in what sounded to us here at Treatment Magazine almost to be in prison-like conditions, our guess that being the exact point which was to recondition Andrew.

Big Motivator

That was all a big motivator for the young entrepreneur, who managed to escape the clutches of the "treatment center" he was sent to only after completing the program after spending an entire year. After a period of struggle, he got himself degrees and decided to open a place that helped youth. Now he is working closely with Florida Atlantic University, FAU, in Boca Raton. Burki now has a psych undergraduate and a graduate degree from FAU in social work and his parents, by now realizing their profound mistake based on bad advice in sending him to the horrific center halfway around the world, are backing Burki's FAU-based Life of Purpose treatment center, along with a friend with real estate experience who negotiated a complex lease deal with a committee of the FAU board and handled the 27-bed multi-house property deal in the off campus housing.

Professors Lend Support

Also lending their support was a phalanx of FAU social work professors, who got behind Burki and  helped present his White Paper. They showed up at FAU board committee meetings that were needed for approval for LOP's presence and lease commitments in the closely watched FAU Research Park. "We are the only treatment center located on a campus and students attend school even while they are in primary care," says Burki, adding that LOP will also drop students off at other area colleges. "There's no question that the social work professorial leadership's backing was a critical part of getting LOP off the ground," Burki admits, adding that he has now enlisted the help of FAU student recovery leaders like Michael Clinch to pass the word throughout the campus and beyond to young people that help is at FAU for youth and LOP is open for business. The focus is on young people who, many away from home for the first time, may be getting into danger by having too much fun, that later turns out to be far from that as they mature and develop a slew of bad habits that when you are an adult don't serve any purpose but to bring regret.

Philosophical Attitude

Now, much later, he was just 17 years old when carted off to the anything but "Paradise Cove" nightmare center, Burki takes an almost hilarious - if anything about the situation can be found funny - philosophical attitude: "at least I stayed alive another year when I was there," admitting his problem was "totally out of control." And that's exactly what the problem is on campus after campus throughout America, totally out of control with secret "rave" parties pushed by the new social networks and binge drinking the very worst problem of them all. And what is scandalous, as the news concentrates on the admittedly huge opiate and heroin problem that has now engulfed the middle class, is that very effective laws forbidding hard liqueur ads have now been thrown out the window so that young people now compete over what brand of hard booze they guzzle in much the same fashion as they would over what kind of car they buy. So stepping into the breach are now the Andrew Burki's of the world, whose serious working of the crowd at this year's Moments of Change was absolutely a thing to behold.

Right on Campus

"Our location right on the campus in the research park was a lot of work but worth it to get," he says as he now concentrates on filling nearly 30 beds of the Florida Model Life of Purpose. "For me the educational component is what makes all the difference as young people stay in recovery in our long-term step down care program." And he's not alone as Sober College on the West Coast brings education into the center of the youth treatment process. And states like New Jersey introduce legislation requiring that all colleges and universities begin to offer on their campus' housing specifically designated and oriented to students who are in recovery or who just don't want to be part of the crowd where "partying" is paramount and getting an education something that comes in some kind of distant second place while bad habits are formed that are paid for later on. TJ

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