Adrienne Santaularia: The Dallas 24 Hour Club’s mission of recovery and renewal

Interview and video by Angelica Villa. Photos provided by Dallas 24 Hour Club.

Dallas 24 Hour Club is a non-profit organization that has been a cornerstone of support for homeless individuals seeking a life free from addiction since 1969. The Dallas 24 Hour Club offers not only shelter but also essential resources and guidance for long-term sobriety and independence.

Meet Adrienne Santaularia, the Development Director of the Dallas 24 Hour Club. She joined the organization in 2017 as the Communications Director and transitioned to her current role in 2022. Adrienne is deeply committed to raising awareness about addiction and recovery, using her storytelling skills to share the impactful work of the Dallas 24 Hour Club.

Can you tell us more about Dallas 24 Hour Club’s mission and approach?

Since 1969, Dallas 24 Hour Club has provided transitional living support services and essential life skills for homeless alcoholics and addicts so they can embrace long-term sobriety and become contributing self-supporting members of the community.

We have three phases in our program. When a newcomer comes in and starts at Phase One, they have to find a job, get a sponsor, and start working the program. Once they can do that and can afford their guest service fees, they can move to Phase Two, where they can stay up to six months. Once someone successfully completes Phase Two, they then apply to move on to Phase Three, which is our sober living apartment complex named Tillman House after our founder, Lee Tillman. Tillman House can house 41 Residents for up to a year.

The main goal of our program is to assist individuals in both their recovery from drug and alcohol addiction and their reintegration into society. We instruct people in a multitude of life skills. So, fundamentals like how to make a budget, how to cook healthy meals on a budget, and how to open a bank account. Many people either never learned those abilities or lost them as a result of years of addiction.

What treatments and partnerships are offered through the 24 Hour Club?

At Dallas 24 Hour Club, we have many resource partners within the community that we refer people to and because the front of our building is open to the public, people walk in seeking help. If they are not eligible for our program or if they’re just not the right fit for our program, we will refer them to where they can get help. In 2023, we referred 473 unduplicated individuals to partner agencies

Can you tell us about your background and how you became interested in working with 24 HR Club and helping those who are battling with addiction and recovery?

I graduated from the University of Kansas with my bachelor’s in Journalism and Mass Communications. I started at The 24 Hour Club in 2017 when Marsha Williamson, who is now CEO Emeritus and a family friend, asked me to help her with the 2017 Dallas All-Star Chef Classic Event. Ten months after I started, my brother-in-law passed away from an addiction. That experience really cemented to me that I am exactly where I should be.

The great thing about The 24 is that our residents live in the same building as my office, so as I walk the halls, I see the people we are impacting every minute of every day. This constantly inspires and motivates me to keep fundraising, pushing for more, and doing more for them.

Can you share a success story or a particularly rewarding experience you’ve had in your practice?

One of my favorite stories is about LaShunda, who lived at The 24 a few years ago. During her stay, she recovered and worked on her life skills. Today, LaShunda has custody of her children, which she didn’t have when she was at The 24, and she works in the recovery industry helping others. She is the perfect example of the miracles that happen at The 24!

Is there anything else you would love for others to know about the 24 Hour Club?

Our message for this year is about how addiction affects the entire family, not just the individual who is struggling. The Chairs for our annual fundraiser, Dallas All Star Chef Classic, are families who have suffered through addiction together and are now working to raise awareness. When someone is dealing with substance abuse, they may feel isolated and alone. However, they may not realize that their addiction affects the people around them, who are also struggling and affected by their experience. I always tell people that addiction is a family disease.

How can the community get involved or support your cause?

Of course, fundraising. We don’t take any city, state, or federal funds, so we rely on private donors, corporations, and foundations for funding. Our organization costs over $5,500 each day to operate, so donations, even $25 helps. We also have a clothes closet where our residents can come in and get clothing, shoes, etc that they need so gently used items are always appreciated.