Fredericton – October 23, 2006 – A not-for-profit organisation that helps youth from across Atlantic Canada overcome drug and alcohol addictions unveiled a $1.25-million fundraising campaign today aimed at improving its New Brunswick treatment facility.
Officials for Portage Atlantic launched the Making Miracles Happen capital campaign in Fredericton. Portage, an internationally recognised charitable organization, offers a variety of services, including a residential treatment facility at Cassidy Lake, near Sussex, New Brunswick. Approximately 1,000 youth, aged 14 to 21, from the four Atlantic Provinces have received treatment at the facility.
Dr. Russell King, Chairman of Portage Atlantic, said the future ability of the organisation to help young people in distress lies in the success of the fundraising campaign.
“The facilities at the Cassidy Lake site must be improved and expanded,” Dr. King said. “Permanent structures are needed to replace the temporary trailers now being used. And we desperately need to expand the facility. It is no longer adequate to meet the demand of a growing population.”
Dr. King said renovations to the Portage Atlantic facility, opened in 1996, would provide proper sleeping, dining, recreational and learning facilities. Formerly a summer church camp, the 165-acre facility at Cassidy Lake has one main building, several small outbuildings and several portable trailers, which were purchased or donated.
Dr. King said the renovations would contribute meaningfully to the recovery of young clients and instill confidence in those responsible for referring youth to the care of Portage.
Honorary chairs for the Making Miracles Happen campaign include Dr. Rowland Frazee of St. Andrews, former Chairman of the Royal Bank of Canada, and Gilbert Finn of Dieppe, former New Brunswick Lieutenant-Governor. Campaign co-chairs include Rod Nolan of Fredericton, Vice Chairman, Neill and Gunter Ltd., and Frank Wilson, former Vice-president, Research, University of New Brunswick.
To date, the capital campaign has raised more than $730,000 in donations and pledges. Major donors include local Lions Clubs and the Lions Clubs International Foundation, the T.R. Meighen Family Foundation, T4G Limited, the J.T. Clark Family Foundation, the McCain Foundation, the Children’s Foundation of the New Brunswick Protestant Orphans’ Home, the Royal Bank of Canada and the Bank of Montreal.
The Portage program is based on the therapeutic community model, which places emphasis on self-help, positive peer influence and a family-like environment. The goal of the program is to develop responsible individuals who have respect for themselves and others. Although treatment is voluntary, some clients agree to go to Portage under a legal obligation.
Portage, which was founded in Montreal in the early 1970s, has treatment centres in New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario. The residential program at Cassidy Lake lasts six months during which participants live in an enriched and structured environment supported by highly qualified staff. Portage offers a continuum of care, providing constant support for residents and their families from pre-admission until after graduation.
The transformation of youths at Cassidy Lake from substance abusers to caring, loving, and productive youth can only be described as miraculous, Dr. King said.
“A contribution to this campaign will provide donors with the opportunity to help young people from Atlantic Canada regain a place in society and may very well save a life,” he said.
John Maunder of Fredericton, whose son was a past participant of the treatment program, gave Portage high accolades.
“The darkness of drugs and alcohol addiction took my son away for three years,” Maunder said. “Portage brought him back to me for which I will be forever grateful.”
New Brunswick Senator Marilyn Trenholme Counsell was guest speaker at today’s campaign launch.
Those wishing to contribute can send donations to: Portage Atlantic Capital Campaign, P.O. Box 1041, Station A, Fredericton, New Brunswick, E3B 5C2 or phone (506) 459-1284.