Portage ATL newsletter_Recognition Ceremony 2010

50 graduates celebrated at the 14th annual Portage Atlantic Recognition Ceremony

Every fall season brings with it the Portage Atlantic Recognition Ceremony, a very special event that is dear to the hearts of the residents and their families, staff and friends of Portage. This annual ceremony recognises individuals who have successfully completed all five phases of the rehabilitation program at Cassidy Lake, and those who have lived free of drugs and alcohol for one year since leaving Portage.

On September 19th, community members from throughout Atlantic Canada came together at Hampton High School in support of 50 young men and women at the 2010 Portage Atlantic Recognition Ceremony.  All present applauded them for redirecting their lives from the isolating shadows of drug and alcohol addiction, to reconnect with their families and communities. Of the 50 graduates being recognised, 20 were honoured for having lived the past year free of drugs and alcohol. A special address was given by New Brunswick’s Lieutenant Governor, Honourable Graydon Nicholas.

Portage Atlantic wishes its graduates all the best with their plans for the future, as they step forward with new confidence and self-fulfillment.

Pictured above: Lieutenant-Governor Graydon Nicholas; graduates Erich and Katie; and Russell H.T. King, Portage Atlantic chairman, at the Portage Atlantic Recognition Day.

Bursaries awarded to Portage Atlantic graduates

The summer of 2010 wraps up on a happy note, as eight Portage Atlantic graduates were selected to receive bursaries from the Ron Evans Foundation and a second, anonymous donor.  The purpose of these bursaries is to help graduates with their tuition expenses and other costs associated with enrollment in a post secondary educational program.  Congratulations to the recipients and best wishes to them all for their fresh start!

Future Focus Foundation’s “Stride for Success” charity relay raises funds for the Portage Atlantic Recovery Trail

Portage ATL newsletter_Stride for Success

On Sunday July 11th, teams from Portage Atlantic, T4G and The Girls Bra Shop came together to take part in Future Focus Foundation’s “Stride for Success” charity relay, which raised $4,000 for Portage Atlantic’s Recovery Trail project.
Future Focus Foundation is the charitable organisation founded by technology company T4G Limited.  With their help, Portage is raising money for the Recovery Trail Project over a three year period by encouraging individuals and businesses to register a team in the annual “Stride for Success” charity relay.

Read more…

Back to school! Residents return to Portage Academy

Portage ATL newsletter_Portage Academy2All Portage centres for youth offer mandatory on-site school programming, recognised by local school boards and adapted to the needs of the residents.  Whereas in the past many Portage residents have struggled with school and some have even abandoned their studies altogether, Portage Academy helps them rediscover their academic abilities and often reawakens the drive to complete secondary school and even to go on to post-secondary studies.

The Portage Cassidy Lake centre has an agreement with the Ministry of Education, School District 6 to deliver self-paced learning programs to the residents as well as provide the teachers to facilitate the Portage Academy program.  

Randy Davis, Educational Coordinator for Portage Atlantic, answered a few questions to explain how Portage Academy works at Cassidy Lake.
Read more…


Take a look at the new Portage Atlantic 2010-2011 Table of Needs designed free-of-charge by a Moncton marketing firm, Smithy Creative Group. This organisation is lead by Portage Atlantic graduate, Fred Laforge.  

Portage ATL newsletter_Statement of Needs

Click here to view the Portage Atlantic 2010-2011 Table of Needs


Portage Atlantic Community Breakfasts

The Portage Atlantic Community Breakfast series continues, with another informative gathering in the works for early October. This breakfast will be held at the Amsterdam Inn in Quispamsis, and guests will include government representatives, RCMP and local police force representatives, addiction & mental health service professionals, and other interested community members. If you live in the KV area and would like to learn more about the programs and services provided by Portage Atlantic, please contact Katie at or (506) 472-4847 for event details.


Portage ATL newsletter_Portage Academy1

“I have wasted many years of my life because of my substance abuse problems. Portage has helped me realise that I want more from my life – I realise that getting an education is an important way to do that. The road ahead is long and costly, but now I am driven to follow through.”

– A former Cassidy Lake resident and Portage Academy student who has now gone on to university

Cassidy Lake residents explore the importance of having passion in their lives with Canadian contemporary artist, Reg Noël

Portage ATL newsletter_Reg NoelThis spring, Moncton artist Reg Noël approached Portage Atlantic with a proposal to volunteer his time to conduct a collective art project with the residents of Cassidy Lake.

Using his trademark materials of copper and concrete, Noël worked with 39 youth from Portage Atlantic’s Cassidy Lake facility to create a contemporary art expression that now hangs proudly in the centre’s main entrance.

The result,” writes Noël, “is an artistic expression representing the great things we can accomplish through cooperation and teamwork. It also represents Portage Atlantic’s commitment and dedication to helping its residents regain a healthy and productive lifestyle.”
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Celebrating the staff at Portage

Portage is very proud of the quality of its personnel at the Portage centres across Canada, many of whom have been with the organisation for a long time.  To celebrate and show appreciation for the dedication and hard work of its employees, Portage has recently established an Employee Recognition Program.

The program recognises staff members who have been carrying out the Portage mission for over five years, marking each five year anniversary with a commemorative pin.  Those who have been with the organisation for over ten years also receive a small gift (and for every five year-mark that follows).

Employees are at the very heart of Portage’s mission, contributing immensely every day to the rehabilitation process of our residents. 

The following five people, who have devoted over 25 years to Portage, are of particular note:

Portage bulletin_Peter Vamos.jpgPeter Vamos
Executive Director
36 years of service

Portage bulletin_Sonia Leblanc.jpgSonia Leblanc
Unit Manager – External services
32 years of service

Portage bulletin_Ghislaine Daigneault.jpgGhislaine Daigneault
Accounting Clerk – Lac Écho
31 years of service

Portage bulletin_Louis Hodess.jpgLouis Hodess
Clinical Advisor
29 years of service

Portage bulletin_Robert Perron.jpgRobert Perron
Accreditation Coordinator
25 years of service


Portage across Canada
Portage is accredited!

                                            News_Accreditation2.jpgPortage is pleased to announce that its rehabilitation services are now accredited by Accreditation Canada.  This recognition is the culmination of a process that started in 2007, which sought to obtain certification for the quality of services provided at Portage, the capabilities of its employees, and the managerial expertise of the organisation.

The four surveyors from Accreditation Canada who visited the participating Portage centres during the week of June 7-11, were especially struck by the dedication, involvement, and creativity of the staff.  They noted Portage’s continuous quest for best practices and its approach based on the needs of residents and their families as among the organisation’s greatest strengths.  

Portage is pleased to have participated in the accreditation process and is committed to maintaining the standards that have earned this certification, while continuously bettering its service in all areas.
The only Portage establishment to have yet to obtain accreditation is the centre in Keremeos, BC, which was not yet established when the accreditation process began.  It will be accredited sometime next year.

Portage across Canada
GAIN Program update

Portage is currently in the process of preparing for the implementation of the GAIN (Global Appraisal of Individual Needs) system for the assessment of all new residents.  Staff training is moving along rapidly and the technical preparations are in process.  The GAIN is an evidence-based assessment technique that has received widespread recognition.  It will replace the IGT assessment, providing Portage with a more powerful tool for the initial establishment of each new resident’s treatment plan.

Portage across Canada
Research results

Portage is committed to the evaluation of its programs and services in order to continuously improve its service offering.  To validate the impact of Portage’s treatment approach, the Research Department coordinates program reviews, surveys, and research projects.

A formal research project was carried out from January 2003 to October 2008 on the adult and adolescent residents who spent more than fifteen days in therapy at Portage’s Lac Écho centre in Québec. It was performed under the direction of Dr. Serge Brochu and Louis-Georges Cournoyer of the Université de Montréal.

The research highlights are available:
    Youth population at Lac Écho (January 2003-October 2008)
    Adult population at Lac Écho (January 2003-October 2008)

The research demonstrates that:

•    After treatment at Portage, there is a high rate of sustained sobriety – excellent results in a field where relapse is expected;
•    After treatment at Portage, there is a significant reduction in the use of hard drugs;
•    After treatment at Portage, clients can better contribute to and participate in the community, which leads to harm reduction and increased benefits for society;
•    The longer the length of time in therapy, the greater the success.


$25,000 from McKesson Foundation for new beds at Cassidy Lake
Cassidy Lake residents will be sleeping soundly, with a $25,000 McKesson Foundation grant awarded for the purchase of new beds for the dormitories.
This upgrade is long overdue and warmly welcomed, as many of the taller residents look forward to saying “Goodbye!” to their undersized bed frames. Life at the centre can be difficult, and a good rest for residents is very important to the atmosphere in the community.  The McKesson Foundation’s financial support for this need is deeply appreciated.

Summer fun at Cassidy Lake
Socio-cultural and recreational programming at Portage Cassidy Lake provides residents with opportunities to be active and to try new things.  This summer, they have been involved in rowing, Judo, archery, music, golf, and art, among other activities.  
Read more…

Portage ATL newsletter_Judo 2

Pathfinder Program pilot project
In 2009, Frank Hartt of NB Power contacted Portage Atlantic to propose a pilot project whereby he offered the use of his company’s “Pathfinder” Program to Cassidy Lake residents. The Pathfinder Program is a tool to help individuals explore ideas for potential career paths, asking them about their interests and skills in order to make career suggestions.
Read more…



For more information, to participate in our activities, or to share comments, please contact:

Carol Tracey
Director of Development
Portage Atlantic

For Admissions information, please contact the Cassidy Lake Centre at:

Toll Free (from anywhere in Atlantic Canada): 1-888-735-9800
Tel.: 506-839-1200
Fax: 506-839-1210


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Portage is a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping people who are suffering from substance abuse-related problems to overcome their dependencies and to live healthy, happy and productive lives. Portage is a vital and progressive force in the drug addiction treatment field in North America, with service centres in Québec, New Brunswick, Ontario, and British Columbia. Through drug addiction treatment best practices and the therapeutic community approach, Portage helps residents develop their self-esteem, confidence, and the competencies necessary to overcome addiction.

Portage has been operating drug rehabilitation centres in Canada for over 35 years.  Portage Atlantic was established in 1996.

Read more about Portage’s mission, vision, and values.

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