On April 12, 2020, in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic sweeping through Canada, Portage Atlantic received a $10,000 donation from long-time supporter Dan Martell and his family. This generous donation helps maintain admission services for youth struggling with substance dependencies in the Atlantic provinces.

A former resident of the Portage rehabilitation centre for youth in Cassidy Lake, New-Brunswick, Dan Martell is now a successful entrepreneur, as well as a philanthropist committed to helping the youth in his region. His time at Portage having no doubt instilled an awareness of the importance of giving back to the community, it was especially important for him to help others during these dark times.

Dan Martell has a clear understanding of the socioeconomic situation stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and explained his offer to provide funding as follows: “Now, more than ever, the social sector is counting on private philanthropy to step up and give so that all Canadians stay safe and healthy […]. People are losing jobs, businesses are shutting doors, we are stuck at home, and we are relying on our charitable sector more than ever.”

Because of the pandemic, the admission and integration of new residents has become very complicated. To deal with this new reality, Portage has created quarantine areas for new arrivals in order to safeguard the health and safety of the other members of the community in its centres. The new residents interact with the other members of the community through videoconferencing, and a dedicated team is assigned to them for the duration of their 14-day quarantine period. After the 14-day induction, the new residents can join the other members of the community. 

On May 13, the first group, made up of five girls, to have completed their quarantine were able to join the rest of the community at the Cassidy Lake Centre and continue the rehabilitation process with their peers.

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