June has been a month of milestones for Jeffrey Bellissimo of Eagle Rock. Not only has the former meth addict been sober for five years but on Friday he graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Cal State Los Angeles.
Bellissimo’s pursuit of a college career began after he faced the prospect of either being sent to a rehabilitation center or to state prison. Bellissimo elected to receive treatment for his methamphetamine addition. In addition to attending college, the 35-year-old has volunteered at the Burbank Healthcare Center, SOBER International in Montebello and as well as 2nd Call in Inglewood.
Bellissimo, according to a summary provided by Cal State L.A., said of his turnaround:
I dug deep into my soul to clear away the wreckage of my past … Seeing that most people do not escape meth addiction, I consider it as miracle that I did. Being granted the opportunity to change has allowed me to recognize my value, and to humbly share my life with others.”
Bellissimo has been accepted to CSULA’s forensic social work graduate program and plans to become a professor with a focus on helping youth offenders, substance abuse and gang intervention.