The Campaign to build The Crossing at Keremeos

British Columbia youth challenged by addiction will soon be able to receive long-term residential care at a new treatment centre near Keremeos, about 55 km southwest of Penticton. “For the Board of Central City Foundation, this seemed an ideal location for young people to recover their health, reclaim their lives and reconnect with their families” said Jennifer Johnstone, President and CEO of the Central City Foundation.

“Research shows that the longer a young person stays in treatment, the greater the likelihood they will remain drug and alcohol free when they return to the community,” said Health Minister George Abbott at the public announcement in Vancouver on September 6, 2007. “This project – the first of its kind in British Columbia – is an example of the community and government working together to ensure our young people receive the services they need.”

From Grief to Action, a parent support and advocacy group, and Central City Foundation (CCF), have been working with the Ministry of Health and the health authorities to create a program for young people between 14 and 18 years of age.

img1Young people would enter the program after withdrawing from drugs and alcohol, then stay in the residential program for six months to a year, depending on their needs.

This is about families

“Addiction can unexpectedly strike in any home and, when it does, the whole family is thrown into turmoil,” said Susie Ruttan of From Grief to Action.

“This program will give hope to families in crisis and help young people reclaim their future. We believe this program will save lives.”

Central City Foundation to lead Campaign
CCF will provide The Crossing, a 58-acre property near Keremeos, to use for the treatment centre, and will lead a capital fundraising campaign to raise the $6 million needed to renovate and retrofit the existing buildings on the site. The Ministry of Health, through Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health, will contribute $2.4 million annually to cover operating costs and costs associated with reintegrating young people back into the community when they complete the program.

For Central City Foundation, this project started with one Board Member, Peter Spencer. One afternoon, some seven years ago, Peter was listening to the CBC, to Catherine Gretsinger interview From Grief to Action’s Rob Ruttan. “Peter was so moved by Rob’s depiction of his own family’s struggle to find support for their child and the plight of young people and their families challenged by addiction throughout British Columbia, that he rushed back to his colleagues on the Board at Central City Foundation” said Jennifer Johnstone.

“ Before long, they too shared his concern about the lack of services in BC and, as had been the case so many times in the history of Central City, they wanted to help solve a critical problem in the community.”

“Central City Foundation has been helping people in need from the inner city for the past 100 years,” said CCF board member Peter Spencer. “We purchased the land near Keremeos in response to the very serious need in B.C. for services for youth and their families and in hopes of jump-starting a long-term residential treatment centre much like The Crossing will be when it is complete.”

A Canadian Solution
Portage Program for Drug Dependencies will operate the centre. Portage has been successfully treating young people since 1973, and operates similar programs in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

“ Before I went to Portage, my life was a mess I had absolutely no had no direction in my life and I was worn out and ready to give up. I had attended over 10 different drug and alcohol facilities and yet continued to live in the cycle of drugs the street life, depression, and self-destruction,” Lauren, 18, a recent Portage graduate shared. “And the peer-driven module, being with kids my own age and having them be mentors and role models to me was amazing and then eventually being put in a position in which I could role model to others was unbelievable! Portage gave me the tools to go back out into the world, self knowing confident and aware; never to live in the shadows again.”

img2We’re confident that many more British Columbians will join us in supporting this critical project. With your help, The Crossing will be completed by the summer of 2008 and ready for the Portage Program to be providing long-term residential treatment services for British Columbia’s young people! You will be contributing to a bricks-and-mortar legacy that will nurture a succession of young people poised to make a change in their lives, and a change in the world.

We are so very close to realizing this critical resource for BC families…for our neighbours.

The Campaign to renovate and retrofit the site, a former adventure camp, has begun. The first youth are expected to arrive Fall, 2008. Donations made to the Central City Foundation to help build The Crossing are eligible for a charitable tax receipt.