With the financial support of the Regroupement Courant-Nord de Québec en Forme, Portage has been able to establish a three-part healthy lifestyle program for its adolescent community at Portage Prévost. Since last fall, the program has been teaching residents about physical fitness, healthy eating, and tobacco reduction. The project encourages the youth to take responsibility for their personal health and to enjoy an active lifestyle, which will help them better manage stress and also increase their self-confidence.
Since the beginning of October, residents have been receiving three hours of physical education instruction from a fitness specialist. Before going for a hike in the mountains, playing a team sport, doing Zumba, or going for a run, the instructor leads a discussion on the importance of a good nutrition, how smoking harms the lungs and affects athletic performance, the importance of both physical and mental health, and the importance of accepting ourselves as we are and embracing both our strengths and weaknesses.
In November, the healthy eating component of the project began. Through cooking workshops, offered in partnership with Tablée des chefs, residents learned how to make a food budget, how to use kitchen equipment, and how to reproduce the dishes they prepared together in the workshops once they will be out of treatment and living on their own.
The third component of the program is intended to help residents better understand the effects of tobacco on the body, so that they can make more informed decisions about their cigarette consumption. In partnership with the Youth Coalition Against Smoking, Portage has organised activities and discussions focused on how tobacco use begins, the influence of the media, prevention efforts, and more.
The skills and tools that residents have been acquiring through this healthy lifestyle program are helping to prepare them for reintegration back into society, once they have completed their treatment program at Portage. “In the context of therapy at Portage, residents are expected to develop 21 skills ranging from problem-solving to self-awareness,” explains François Bourdon, Director of Portage Prévost. “Perseverance and encouraging peers during activities, organisational skills required during the Tablée des chefs workshops, and the ability to ask for help when trying to quit smoking are all important skills that our residents are acquiring through this program.”
Portage’s partnerships with Québec en Forme and with various community groups in the region have therefore allowed Portage to improve its therapeutic services for residents. Portage is very grateful to Regroupement Courant-Nord de Québec en Forme for their support and hopes to maintain this partnership for many years.