TORONTO, October 24th, 2013 – For the seventh consecutive year, 200 guests gathered Tuesday night in Toronto to raise awareness and funds in support of the Portage Ontario Youth Treatment Fund. Since the establishment of Portage in Elora, in 1985, the drug rehabilitation centre has treated more than 4,000 youth from all over Ontario.
Through overwhelmingly generous donations and the purchase of auction items, the event, masterfully emceed by Christine Bentley, who used to anchor the CTV News at Six, raised over $135,000. The proceeds of the evening will give at least twelve additional youth the opportunity to change their lives and overcome their struggles with addiction this year.
“This year marks the 40th anniversary of the opening of the first Portage centre,” stated Harriet Stairs, member of the Portage Ontario Board. “During this time, Portage has helped thousands of individuals and their families deal with the impact of addiction on their lives. Over the years, the Fresh Start Dinner and Auction event has raised close to 1 million dollars. These funds are crucial, without them many Ontario youth would not have received the help they needed to overcome their addictions. Your support this evening helps us protect our country’s future by investing in these children.”
The evening included a powerful address by Dan, a Portage graduate who started using drug at the age of twelve and came to Portage after a criminal conviction.
“When I arrived at Portage, I was scared and nervous because I was anxious to begin my sober life,” he explained. “Through therapy and the support of other residents, I learned so much about myself. They helped me understand who I was and this paved the way to heal all the deep wounds I had. Today, the Portage philosophy is still inspirational to me, it gives me the strength I need on my worst days : ‘From here I will go forth whole once more, self-knowing, confident and aware, never to live in the shadows again.’
Portage is a non-profit organisation which fosters the strengths and skills of substance-dependent persons to enable them to live lives of sobriety, filled with dignity, self-respect, and accomplishment. In its 40-year history, Portage has assisted thousands of people to take back control of their lives and seek Freedom from Addiction. Portage operates drug addiction treatment programs in Québec, Ontario, Atlantic Canada, and British Columbia.
Pictured above: MC Christine Bentley with Portage Ontario graduate, Daniel; Jill Veale receives the Governor Recognition Award from Peter Howlett, President of Portage