Discovery House is kicking off their Shed the Light on Addiction fundraising campaign with a boost of funds and a new goal.
The campaign kicked off in front of Discovery House’s third location, Parker Place, on Edna Avenue, where the Penticton Recovery Resource Society aims to build a fourth building once they reach their $150,000 fundraising goal.
The holiday season started the fundraising with with donations of $25,000 from Parkers Chrysler and $50,000 from Janet Parker to go towards the campaign.
“Parkers is really proud of the work that we see Discovery House do within the community, we see this as a fantastic next step as they grow as they need to grow,” said Parker’s general manager Jim Tabler.
Those funds will be going towards building a carriage house at Parker Place, which will add three more spaces as part of the program’s semi-independent living spaces that Parker Place also provides. Those spaces allow indefinite stays for those in the program’s care to get the support they need until they are all ready to move out on their own.
Shed the Light on Addiction aims to both raise funds, but also to help break the stigma around addiction and treatment, by selling lights that are displayed on the Discovery Houses in Penticton.
The Christmas lights will be strung up on all three of the program’s currently locations, capping off with a light-up on Dec. 18 outside the 633 Winnipeg St. Discovery House from 5 to 6 p.m. During the light up, you can stop by and pick up some hot chocolate.
The addiction treatment program opened up their third building in April 2021 after purchasing the property in March, and future expansions like the carriage house are being considered for the future.
“The need for sober living, when our clients finish at Discovery House they need an affordable sober place to live so this is a great thing that is happening right now, but the need is still great,” said Parker.
Once the third building is built, with construction aimed to begin in the spring, the program will have a total of 25 spaces for their residential, abstinence-based program.
The Parker Place building is just one aspect of the society’s strategy for providing continuing care, with weekly meetings for alumni and residents at Parker Place, monthly alumni meetings and dinners and weekly availability for the programs counsellor.
The program is supported not only by the community, but by the many alumni of the program who have returned to continue supporting and helping others with addictions, like Somerville, who joined the staff after coming out of the program and initially heading back into construction.
“Those thoughts get back in your head, you’re not going to meetings, you’re not working with a sponsor in a solid program, your mind starts to slip and that’s where it gets dangerous,” said Somerville. “I noticed that and I needed a change. It was daunting at first, but it totally changed my life.”
Since going through the 90-day program, Somerville has been four years clean, and he said he loves going to work and giving back. When he came through the program, there was no continuing support, something that he sees making a big difference.
“When I went through, there was no room in the other house so I couldn’t to a supported living house, and I ended up moving into an apartment with another guy who ended up relapsing, “said Somerville. “If I had something like this, I would have definitely been supported. If I didn’t have the support network I had, it probably could have ended badly.”
From October 2019 to Oct. 2020, Discovery House’s family of alumni lost seven members to fatal overdoses, which contributed to the program’s strategic planning.
In 2021, a year when Penticton is closing in on its worst year on record, there were three fatal overdoses among alumni.
“They were in Discovery House quite a while ago when we didn’t secondary housing, we didn’t have continuing care, we had five or six beds and limited funding and staffing,” said Abraham. “We’re hoping that number is zero this coming year, and we’ll continue adding services for people for long-term.”
The easiest way for people to donate is through the Canadahelps page, but Discovery House will also accept E-Transfers to: email@example.com or cheques mailed to Discovery House, 633 Winnipeg St., Penticton, B.C. V2A 5N1 You can also contact Jerome Abraham at 250-462-1388 for more information.
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