On Friday, November 1st 2019, an Open House Day for partners took place at Portage’s Drug Addiction Rehabilitation Centre for Adolescents in Saint-Malachie. This event, organized for the centre’s 20th anniversary, was an opportunity to invite Portage partners to a meeting with the young residents in order to understand the importance and scope of the Portage mission.
To mark its 20th anniversary, the Saint-Malachie Portage Centre opened its doors to various partners and actors from the addiction medium. Among attendees were: Alliance Jeunesse, ADOberge from Lévis, Carrefour Employabilité-Travail de rue from Saint-Gervais, Maison des jeunes from Saint-Raphaël and Montmagny, CIUSSS de Mauricie-Centre du Québec, CISSS Chaudières-Appalaches, Équi Justice Beauce, and École Envol always present on the Saint-Malachie site. Thus, about twenty people gathered to visit the facilities and have several meetings with young residents in the program. The latter were at the heart of the organization. “It was important that residents also took part in this day. We tried to involve them in the organization and in greeting partners as much as possible,” said Nathalie Santerre, Partnership Relations Coordinator at Portage.
Counselors also wanted to emphasize the importance of creating and maintaining relationships between the various players in the field. For example, adolescents have a mandatory school program recognized by the Commission scolaire Côte du Sud thanks to École Envol’s exceptional partnership since the beginning. The latter allows Portage to have teachers directly on its site and for residents to continue their education. Every partnership developed in Saint-Malachie brings an important added value to the rehabilitation program thanks to better communication between support services for youth struggling with addiction and the implementation of activities that positively contribute to their social reintegration.
Residents are best placed to talk about the program and their daily life reality at Portage. In fact, each visit organized at the rehabilitation centre is conducted by a teenager who walks the partners through what his or her surroundings are for the duration of the program. During this open house event, residents and counselors hosted seven booths to introduce the program’s various segments. There was a kiosk about the residential program, one about the admission process and another about the aftercare program and continuing care. These booths were a great opportunity for partners to discover Portage, and for young people to tell their story and convey a message of hope, hope for a better life through mutual support.