The Mission of the Palmer Drug Abuse Program is to be the most effective prevention and recovery program helping young people and families avoid or recover from the devastating effects of drug and alcohol abuse.

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To increase the availability of PDAP services to areas currently under-served, while maintaining free prevention and long-term drug and alcohol recovery programs of the highest quality that are readily accessible to Houston area youth and their families.


The Palmer Drug Abuse Program – Houston (PDAP) was founded in 1971 by Father Charlie Wyatt-Brown, the Rector of Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church. Father Charlie reached out to a man in need of recovery and offered him love, support, and hope.

Through their collective experiences, these men recognized that a youth population was affected by drugs and alcohol in need of a safe place to recover.

A vision was developed to reach young people who were lost on drugs and bring them into a new and sober lifestyle.

For over 50 years, PDAP has gone from its inaugural meeting of six teenagers to positively affect countless youth and their families in Greater Houston and beyond.


Traditionally, the monkey fist is a knot used by ships in the docking process and stands as an important symbol of recovery to each and every PDAPer. When a ship reaches land, the volleyball-sized knot is thrown to the shore, to make first contact with land. The ship is then pulled in by the crew, and secured to the dock.

In 1972, the Monkey’s Fist was adopted as a symbol of connection to the group, a connection that brings to reality the recovery each PDAPer works so hard to earn. It is a representation of resilience through the power of the group, reminding each person of the acceptance they’ve found.

The Monkey’s Fist is seen as a tradition of growth and unity for PDAP participants. The Monkey’s fist, a necklace with a marble-sized knot, is created by each participant during their first 30 days of recovery — symbolizing a person’s ‘first contact with reality,’ and the hope for their bright future ahead. Members wear the necklace proudly, signaling to all, the connection and security found in healing.

No one could have guessed the impact this would have on the recovery community and the movement nationally. There is a special feeling we get when we see someone we do not know with a fist. It is the feeling of knowing, “There is a friend.”


Drew Baker

Walter Andrew Baker

Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary

Sunnova Energy Corporation

President & Chairman

Kristy Manteris

Kristy Manteris, CPA


The Siegfried Group, LLP



Amelia Zhang

Senior Attorney

Norton Rose Fulbright, LLP


Lauren Anderson

Associate Director, Education & Community Engagement

Houston Ballet

Development Chair

Jeff Gorski

Energy Executive


Julius Leitner

Vice President, Marketing

Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation



Mary Oxford, Ph.D

Program Director

Pathfinder, The Menninger Clinic


Pat Pollan


Pollan Hausman Real Estate Services, LLC.


Marc Schkud

Senior Vice President – Global Wealth

BBVA USA now part of PNC



Beth Eversole LCSW-S, LCDC
Chief Executive Officer

Kelsey Reynolds

Kelsey Reynolds
Office Manager

Mariah Fountain

Mariah Fountain LMSW
Program Director

Lateef Givens, PRSS Recovery Coach

Lateef Givens, PRSS
Recovery Coach


If you are looking to work for a well-respected organization, a fun atmosphere and the knowledge that you directly impact the lives of those seeking recovery? Then you’ve come to the right place! PDAP is the pioneer of the alternative peer group model so if you join our team you will be a part of 50 years of experience in saving lives. PDAP staff, volunteers, and interns create opportunities with participants and their families to build a solid foundation for brighter futures free from drugs and alcohol.

If you are a peer in recovery then you may be uniquely qualified to join the PDAP staff. We value the wisdom and integrity of staff members who actively participate in a recovery program and believe the peer-to-peer model not only best informs our practices it helps create powerful insight into the professional work we do.


There are no current positions at PDAP, please check back.


There are varieties of ways to get involved with PDAP. If you are looking to volunteer and help support the cause, PDAP offers services in both events and direct care of participants throughout the year and volunteers are always welcome.

  • Communications Assistant: assist with the newsletter, content creation, social media strategy, and posting.
  • Events Support: assist with events throughout the year through mailing, calling, event day setup/takedown, and general event tasks.
  • Admin Support: assist with everyday administrative duties such as filing, scanning, and returning calls.
  • Mentors: share your story of hope in recovery (we need teens, young adults, and parents).

If you are interested in volunteering, please fill out the form below along with emailing your resume to admin@pdaphouston.org and a team member will reach out about the next steps.