By Jeff Clemetson | Editor
Michelle Kveen has been a resident of Del Cerro for just over a decade. Although originally from Westchester County, New York where she enjoyed “having the best of both worlds — horses on the property and just 30 minutes from downtown New York City,” Kveen has lived in San Diego for most of her adult life.
She has also been in the restaurant business most of her life.
“It runs in my blood, I can see 15 things at once happening all around me. I love it,” she said. “I love serving guests and giving them an experience that they totally enjoy. I love people and I love good food.”
Currently, Kveen is an operating partner of BO-beau Kitchen + Garden in the La Mesa Village. Beyond serving good food, she also serves the community and has recently joined the board of directors of the McAlister Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people with substance abuse issues.
“I believe as business owners, we have a responsibility to our communities,” she said. “Whether we own a restaurant or a lumber yard, we need to support our local communities.”
Before McAlister, what kind of volunteer work have you done in the past?
My callings have always been for animal causes and for people that are suffering drug addiction. I worked with Project Wildlife for several years helping put on their annual fundraiser. Most currently, I am available for 12-step calls when a drug addict reaches out and needs a meeting.
Having had personal experience with the pain of addiction, I have a deep empathy for those who still struggle. After more than two decades free of those struggles, I want to use my experience to help others whenever possible. On April 7, I will proudly be 23 years clean and sober, and I’ve been pursuing my dreams since.
What is the McAlister Institute? What does it do?
McAlister Institute has earned recognition as one of San Diego County’s leading resources for the compassionate care and treatment of individuals and families suffering from addiction, co-occurring mental illness, and homelessness. Founded in 1977, we dedicate ourselves to having a positive impact on all those who come to us, helping restore them to more productive and meaningful lives.
Mission: McAlister Institute provides professional services that heal the lives of individuals and families, improving the quality of life in communities through the miracle of recovery.
Philosophy: McAlister Institute believes that each individual has a positive purpose in life and that clients can recognize their strengths and regain their lives through recovery. Although each client is responsible for his or her recovery, it is a life-long process requiring a community of support. Toward this end, McAlister Institute helps build the foundation for recovery through intervention, counseling, mental health treatment, medical assistance, and community referrals.
McAlister Institute keeps its doors open to all those who seek help. High-quality, low-cost services are provided with dignity and respect, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.
McAlister Institute has earned recognition as one of San Diego County’s leading resource for addiction and rehabilitation.
McAlister Institute’s programs provide life-saving services in substance abuse treatment, mental health counseling, life skills education, and vocational training to more than 10,000 individuals each year, regardless of their inability to pay.
How did you get involved with McAlister Institute? Is there a reason this group stands out to you?
I was invited by McAlister Institute’s board of directors President Steve Allen to meet with another board member, Scott Hoover, and then with Jeanine McAlister, the agency’s founder and CEO, to discuss becoming part of the board in order to help make a difference. From my first contact, I was completely blown away by Jeanne’s work, her mission, her enthusiasm, as well as Associate Director Marisa Varond’s vast knowledge of the field. Being part of this board is an honor.
Anything you’d like to add?
McAlister Institute’s seventh annual Walk for Sobriety is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 25, at NTC Park, Liberty Station from 8 a.m. to noon. The event will offer both walk and timed-run options.
This year’s walk will include a U-Jam Dance Warm-up, Community Partners Resource Fair, kid’s zone with arts and crafts and face painting, and a photo-booth.
The walk is an opportunity to bring help and hope to thousands of individuals and families braving the unforgiving cycle of addiction. All proceeds from the Walk for Sobriety benefit McAlister Institute.
For additional information on McAlister Institute’s 26 programs, please visit mcalisterinc.org. For information about or to join the Walk for Sobriety, visit give.classy.org/McAlisterInc7thWFS.