Shawn Marvel and six other graduates of a drug and alcohol treatment program will live in a positive environment, thanks to a $5,000 Venture grant from the United Way of the Great Salt Lake Area. Relapse-prevention is the goal of the Transitional House for Graduates of Drug and Alcohol Treatment Programs.

Venture grants were awarded in January on the basis of non-profit program innovation, level of agency collaboration, significance of the need addressed, management quality, likelihood of success, affordabil-ity and the quality of the proposal.Marvel started drinking when he was 13. By age 15, he lived on his own. At 16, he went on a drinking binge when his closest brother died. Then he entered the two-year residential, therapeutic program.

The transitional housing program was one of five proposals accepted by the United Way volunteer committee. The program is also supported by a $10,000 grant from the Salt Lake County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services Division.

Operated by Odyssey House, the house is the first of its kind in the area. It opened in mid-December and can accommodate eight residents.

Graduates from Salt Lake County-funded treatment facilities are referred to the house. "Those selected for the program must be drug-free and alcohol-free and have an after-care plan. This after-care plan is reviewed regularly and keeps residents on track," said Paul Ruybal, Odyssey House manager.

Each resident is also required to participate in weekly meetings with Santiago Cortez, part-time counselor and Odyssey House Program director. Residents also receive private therapy.

Residents maintain employment, save money, set and meet goals and pay partial rent and utilities. They must remain drug- and alcohol-free.