Since it was established in 2004, a number of graduates of the Portage adolescent programs in the Montréal region have benefited from the “La Rive” project, a social reintegration program through which participants develop their employability skills through the production of a multimedia play, performed in schools and youth centres in the local community.
Still in the aftercare stage of the Portage program, the graduates are responsible for the creation of all the elements involved in the production of the play, which focuses on drug addiction. This enables them to consolidate and put into practice many of the skills acquired throughout their residential treatment phase, while developing new competencies which will facilitate their return to school or to the workforce.
In 2010-2011, the “La Rive” project is being carried out in partnership with Intégration Jeunesse du Québec, which provides 66 hours of employment and social reintegration workshops to the participants during 19 of the 26 weeks of the program.
This year’s play is called “Le Naufrage” (The Shipwreck) and tells the individual stories of three young people who are trying to prevent relapses after going through drug addiction treatment. They are feeling shipwrecked and in the middle of a storm as they try to hold onto to their lives and cling to their dreams. They realise that, even in a storm, they are never alone. The play explores various forms of abuse and shows the importance of making good choices and persevering in order to achieve goals and change one’s life.
“The main message is that just because you fall doesn’t mean that you can’t get up,” explains Stéphanie, a participant of the program. “When you ask the right person for help, you will receive it.”
Under the supervision a Portage staff member, the participants are responsible for writing the script, playing the roles, as well as for the design and creation of the sets, the sound and lighting, and the production of the multimedia components. Participants set personal goals and objectives for themselves and the group dynamic motivates and reinforces each participant’s drive to achieve them. These elements are essential to achieving the ultimate therapeutic goal of self-realisation.
The 2009 “La Rive” troop was honoured at the Festival de théâtre Art Neuf de Montréal, where its play, “L’impasse” (The Dead end) was granted three prizes: the interpretation prize/PAP prize, the directing prize /NTE prize, and the scenography prize/ Théâtre Denise Pelletier prize.
The “La Rive” program benefits from the financial support of Service Canada (Human Resources) and from the Québec Youth Foundation.