As they have for the past few years, the youth in treatment at the Portage Elora drug addiction rehabilitation centre recently welcomed a group of Ontario probation officers to the centre this spring for a sporting match and barbeque lunch. The girls’ community enjoyed a friendly game of volleyball with them, and the probation officers subsequently joined the boys’ community for a hockey match.
Whereas most of the contact that Portage residents have had with probation officers in the past has been because they were in trouble with the law, this activity was a positive experience for the youth. It helped humanise the probation officers in the eyes of the residents and helped them better understand the role of a probation officer.
To the delight of the youth in treatment, the probation officers brought medals for each. They also made personal contributions in recognition of both sporting matches towards a charity chosen by the residents. The girls’ community chose to donate the $160 to the Hospital for Sick Kids and the boys’ community selected the Salvation Army for its $85 donation.
This overwhelmingly positive activity had an important impact on both the residents and the probation officers, who continue to refer youth to Portage Elora.