On October 16, 2011, the Théâtre Maisonneuve in Montréal’s Place des Arts was filled to the brim for Portage’s Recognition Ceremony, where the courageous individuals who have overcome their addiction issues this year at one of Portage’s substance abuse rehabilitation centres in the Montréal region were honoured. 230 graduates of Portage’s programs for adolescents, adults, mothers with young children, pregnant women, and people with mental illness, celebrated their victory over substance abuse, surrounded by their family and friends, Portage staff members, and supporters.
It was a very emotional ceremony with many touching moments. Two young residents from the Portage centre in Saint-Malachie performed a rap, which they had written as an apology to their mothers for the pain that they had caused them. The audience barely had the chance to dry their eyes before being moved once again by a heartfelt testimonial from a young Portage graduate and her parents.
“It’s not the way you fall down that people remember,” stated the young woman, “but how you pull yourself back up.”
Two special addresses paid tribute to the courage and success of the graduates, one by Jeff Stinco, of the Simple Plan Foundation, and the other by Geoffrey Kelley, Minister responsible for Native Affairs.
Jeff Stinco expressed his admiration for the graduates’ journey and for the work being done by the staff at Portage. He stated that the members of his band, Simple Plan, are committed to a healthy lifestyle, and that they strive to be role models for all the adolescents they encounter around the world. Geoffrey Kelley, who has been a supporter of the Portage Beaconsfield centre for many years, expressed the community’s pride in the success of these graduates, who have overcome enormous obstacles to start a new life, free from drugs.
Portage’s President, Peter A. Howlett, and Executive Director, Peter Vamos, also addressed the graduates, wishing them much success and happiness in the future. Click here to read the Executive Director’s speech.
The Employees of the Year were then announced and invited on stage to receive commemorative plaques: Jean-François Lampron, of the Adult Program in Prévost, Jean Lamoureux, of the Adolescent Program in Prévost, Elsie Bossicot, of the Adolescent Program in Beaconsfield, Johanne Cadieux, of the Mentally Ill Chemical Abusers (MICA) Program, and George Stavropoulos, of the Mother and Child Program.
At the end of the ceremony, as blue and white balloons fell from the ceiling, the audience cheered enthusiastically for all those on stage who had just completed the residential phase of their substance abuse program or who had come back to celebrate their one year anniversary of living a positive drug-free lifestyle.
Congratulations to all the graduates and their families on this remarkable achievement.