Program manager Ken Jones (left) and Discovery House resident Chris have fun preparing one of the strands of Christmas lights at the new Winnipeg Street facility Thursday. The lights are part of a fundraiser for the treatment program. The official opening of the house is Dec. 15 from noon to 6 p.m. Mark Brett/Western News

Discovery House shedding the light on addiction

Campaign to raise funds and awareness on addiction and treatment options in Penticton

To break down the stigma of addiction and “light the way to recovery,” Discovery House has launched a fundraiser to help with its commitment of returning sons and husbands to families.

Through the Shed the Light on Addiction Campaign strands of Christmas lights are available for purchase to the end of December and will be put up at the newest and second Discovery House located at 633 Winnipeg St. which is now open.

Along with other fundraising efforts, the goal is to raise $17,000 to cover the shortfall cost of two client treatment bed spaces for up to a year.

The official grand opening of the Winnipeg Street house is Friday, Dec. 15 from noon to 6 p.m.

Read more: Fathers and families together again

The new location provides 12 beds to go along with the six already in place at the Wade Avenue house which has been in operation for over a decade.

“What we’re trying to do with the grand opening is celebrate the fact that we’re open but also inviting the community to come and have a look,” said Discovery executive director Jerome Abraham. “The big thing about this campaign too is not just the funding, but helping raise the awareness of what recovery resources look like and breaking down the stigma of addiction.

“That it (addiction) can happen to anybody and a wide cross section of people. When you see people’s behaviour that is unbecoming because of their addiction you have to remember they have families, they had homes, jobs, lives. We’ve always been really supported by the people of Penticton and we just want to say thanks and invite people to come over and have a look at the place and see the impact of lives being changed.”

So far the campaign has raised over $8,000.

Sadly, according to Abraham, even though they more than tripled their beds with the new facility, the waiting list for those wanting help has not been shortened.

“We were averaging about 37 or so a year on the waiting list and since we opened this house we have a very similar wait list,” he said. “We could build three more (recovery houses) and they would be full the need is so great.”

Abraham added it’s the small victories he sees on a daily basis that makes the work most gratifying.

“Seeing the lives of individual guys being changed, we had a guy who came to us just two days ago who is from Penticton but gravitated to the downtown (Vancouver) east side and he was sharing with us about being grateful just to have a pillow because he had been using and sleeping on the streets for six months,” said Abraham, who was once a Discovery client.

“Last night (Wednesday) the Vees gave us some hockey tickets and he got to go out on the ice between periods and do one of the little games. The change in two days for that guy is huge. When I see that kind of stuff it’s, ‘yeah this was all worth it.”

Discovery House offers a peer-based, holistic recovery approach employing a 12-step philosophy combined with life skills training along with the up-to-date, evidence-based treatments.

There is a 90-day, open-ended program which can be extended to up to one year. Discovery is operated by the Penticton Resource Recovery Society.

A number of organizations, businesses and individuals will also be recognized by Discovery at the grand opening.

Parkers Chrysler, the United Way of the South Okanagan Similkameen, the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen and Victory Church will all have rooms dedicated to them for their ongoing support.

Read more:Parkers supports Discovery House

Abraham also credited the “championing” of the new house project by MLA Dan Ashton and the work of Coun. Judy Sentes on city council for helping the cause.

Parkers recently donated over $25,000 to Discovery and is continuing its partnership with the facility in memory of dealership owner Janet Parker’s son Colin who died in October 2016.

“Support for recovery is necessary and is sorely missing in our community due to lack of funding. It is my hope that Parker’s leadership in this will encourage other local businesses to get involved as well,” said Janet in announcing the partnership earlier this year. “Colin personally donated to Discovery House and it’s important to his memory that we continue helping however we can to return men to their families.”

Abraham described the dealership’s contributions as “a real game changer” for the operation.

Christmas bulbs are $10 each or strands of 25 for $250. To purchase or for more information call 250-462-1388 or go to prrs@shaw.ca. Tax receipts will be given for donations over $20.

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