Toronto, June 2, 2009 – Friends and supporters gathered on Tuesday evening in Toronto for Portage Ontario‘s 3rd annual Fresh Start Dinner & Auction in support of the Portage Ontario Youth Treatment Fund. The event was hosted by Dr. Peter and Mrs. Susan Schaal, and raised $85,000 in support of Portage’s residential rehabilitation facility in Elora, Ontario.
“We are grateful for the show of support we received this evening,” said Michael Howlett, chairman of Portage Ontario. “If children are our future, then supporting this organization is an investment.”
Following Michael Howlett’s address, Toronto Chief of Police Bill Blair stated, “Drug addiction is an illness. It can affect everyone. There are too few places like Portage to send our youth to. Drug addicts don’t belong in jail. They belong in treatment.”
The evening included dinner in a Rosedale garden, a silent and live auction. Midway through the event, Catherine and her mother, Jane, revealed the story of their family’s struggle with drug and alcohol addiction. Catherine attributed her 2-year sobriety to her stay at a Portage treatment centre.
“We are grateful to the Portage organization for being so instrumental in Catherine’s recovery,” Jane told the guests. “They helped her find laughter again. They helped her find the joy in a new day and be grateful for the life she has. Mostly, they helped return our darling daughter, who, we feared, we had lost.”
Portage Ontario has recently entered into a partnership with the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network (WWLHIN), which has allowed for the expansion of its Elora facility for adolescents.
Portage, a not-for-profit organization, is a leading North American treatment provider with a 35-year history of successfully helping people with addictions. To date the centre has treated more than 30,000 individuals using its therapeutic community approach. It operates twelve drug addiction treatment programs across Quebec, Ontario, Atlantic Canada and British Columbia. For more information on Portage visit www.portage.ca.