About Portage


Elora, ON, September 28, 2015 – Thirty-seven teenagers from across the province assembled in Elora on Sunday to celebrate the healthy lifestyle they are now living after having completed a residential drug rehabilitation program at Portage. Surrounded by family, friends, and peers, the youth were recognised at Portage Ontario’s annual Recognition Day for having achieved various milestones over the past year. Struggling with addiction problems, self-harm, and an eating disorder, nineteen-year-old Roxana had run away from her home in Woodbridge.

Recognising that she needed help, she began substance abuse rehabilitation treatment at Portage in September 2014. “Portage has changed my life in unfathomable ways…I have regained family relationships, become more responsible, and am living the life I always wanted to.” This weekend’s Recognition Day celebration was a very special and emotional day for Roxana and all the Portage alumni and families present, whose lives had been turned upside down by addiction. The thirty-seven youth have been able to rebuild broken relationships, get back on track at school, and build some sort of plan for a brighter future.

“There is nothing more important than recognising how far these teens have come, and it’s heartwarming to see them return to celebrate their accomplishments as well as those of their peers,” said Michael Howlett, Chairman of Portage Ontario. “Their personal successes are truly inspiring and they make every one of us extremely proud.”

This year marks thirty years that Portage’s drug treatment centre in Elora has been helping youth and families to develop the necessary tools and confidence to take back control of their lives. In order to commemorate this special anniversary, Portage Elora invited Emily, a graduate of the program who is currently completing a Social Service Worker program, to share her story. She encouraged the youth currently in the program to make the most of the community and told the graduates to continue to use the tools they learned while at Portage. “Every day I face something that reminds me of everything I pushed myself to achieve at Portage,” she said. “I’m not saying those six months were the best months of my life… I’m saying the hardest of times tend to be what shape us the most as people. This program is not easy… but it sure as hell is worth every second and pays off if you let change into your life.” When asked about what they would tell other youth struggling with addiction, graduates offered words of encouragement to seek treatment. Cole, an 18 year old from Aurora, calls Portage “the spot” and attributes Portage with giving him the ability to take back control of his life.