Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
RAP, Inc., the city's first privately funded drug rehabilitation center, is having problems. Therefore, it was appropriate for Ron Clark, RAP's director since it started eight years ago, to keep pulling the labels of guests at the Embassy of Senegal Thursday, saying, "this is a rough period. We are suffering."
Currently RAP has a deficit of $50,000, a sum that probably will double by the end of the year. In the last month RAP, a drug-free residential treatment program, has had its gas and telephone cut off but it continues to operate at its full capacity of 72 residents.
As about 75 people sipped long, cool drinks in the sloping yard of the embassy and inquired about the financial situarion, Clark was very blunt. And exasperated.
"The District government. It took them seven months to pay on a contract for our reentry program," said Clark sharply. RAP's City Council representative, David Clarke, confirmed that the District government had been slow in honoring RAP's contract. In addition, according to Ron Clark, RAP's budget of $600,000 has been affected by inflation. "The cost of living goes up and people don't think the cost of community programs should rise. We spent $27,40 a day to feed and clothe our residents."
Thursday's party was the second time this week that an African embassy sponsored a reception for a local, minority-run, private organization. On Tuesday the Nigerian Embassy introduced the Emergency Fund for Southern Africa, a refugee relief agency. "In the equation of a new economic order among the Third World countries, one fraction has to be a cultural order," said Ambassador Andre Coulbary, explaining his country's interest in the local program. "The catalyst for this new, enriching interaction is pure curiosity and a response to human needs."
As new one alliance grows, RAP, however, has watched the dissolution of an old partnership with the radical chic. "In the beginning it was chic, expedient for people to involve themselves, mainly because of the media attention given the drug problem. Now drugs are not looked at as a major problem," said Clark.
Instead the loyalists are the "friends, parents and loved ones," of RAP residents, who have formed a permanent component, Friends of RAP. At the reception, they were selling raffle tickets for a trip to Senegal, which had been donated by travel agent Marian Lieberman. RAP is also having an 8th anniversary celebration tomorrow at the Carter Barron, an annual event that last year attracted 5,000 people. The guests also included old RAP allies, such as politicians Marion Barry, Clarke and Marie Nahikian.