Portage Ontario News - Spring 2011

Fresh Start is just around the corner

Portage ON news_Fresh Start2On Tuesday, May 31st, Portage Ontario will host the 5th annual Fresh Start Dinner and Auction in support of the Portage Ontario Youth Treatment Fund.  Once again, Portage Governors Dr. Peter and Susan Schaal have offered to host this exclusive garden party in their private home and garden in Rosedale.

Since its inception, Fresh Start has successfully raised over $350,000 by bringing together leaders from the business, philanthropy, civil service, and health sectors in support of the Portage Ontario Youth Treatment Fund. This fund provides much needed residential care and treatment for youth and families who would otherwise be unable to get the help they need to overcome their addictions.
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New Community Engagement and Volunteer Program, made possible by the Ontario Trillium Foundation 

Portage Ontario is pleased to announce the launch of a new Community Engagement and Volunteer Program at the Portage Elora rehabilitation centre for youth, made possible by a $125,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation over the next two years. This funding will allow Portage to expand volunteer opportunities at the Elora facility and in the surrounding community.  
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New Outward Bound Coordinator impressed by the youth at Portage Elora

Portage Ontario News - Outward Bound new coordinator“I’ve led a lot of adventure-based trips, but I have never felt so appreciated for it as I did with my first group of Portage Elora residents,” says Sarah Connolly, who took over as the centre’s Outward Bound Coordinator at the beginning of February.  “Portage is a great, empowering program.  The kids are given a lot of responsibility and are very motivated to change.”
Ms. Connolly, who has several years of experience with a similar adventure-based program for youth at risk, and has recently completed a carpentry course and a yoga instructor training course, has a lot to offer the residents seeking substance abuse rehabilitation at Portage Elora.  In addition to the several day Outward Bound wilderness trips for graduating residents in Algonquin Park, she is maintaining the successful programs already in place, such as cross country skiing, hiking, and rock climbing, and adding some new ones, including yoga.
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Fresh Start Dinner and Auction
The 5th annual Fresh Start Dinner and Auction in support of the Portage Ontario Youth Treatment Fund will take place on Tuesday, May 31st.

For more information about Fresh Start or about corporate sponsorship opportunities, please contact Amber Matthews, Manager of Development, Portage Ontario at 416-531-1333 or at amatthews@portage.ca.



Portage Ontario’s new Manager of Development
Portage is pleased to introduce Amber Matthews, who has recently joined Portage Ontario as the new Manager of Development. Amber has extensive experience working in fundraising and special event management.  She holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Western Ontario and a Certificate in Fundraising Management from Humber College.  She joins Portage after several years with the ErinoakKids Foundation, where she began her development career. 

Portage Ontario News - Amber Matthews-2

Mardi Gras at Portage Elora!
Portage Elora residents and staff members created their own version of Mardi Gras.  Residents dressed in their brightest clothes and sported Mardi Gras beads and the hand-decorated masks that they had each made.  Prizes were handed out for the “most creative” mask and everyone enjoyed a night of great music and traditional New Orleans cooking – Cajun chicken and jambalaya!


Portage ON news - Jennifer testimonial

“Since I came to Portage I’ve stopped using drugs, I’ve stopped talking to negative people. I started becoming more independent and respecting others and myself, learning basic skills of life and just having fun without being high.”

New faces on the Portage Ontario Board

The Portage Ontario Board is pleased to welcome three new members:   Matthew Standish, Diane Stoneman, and Michael Mundy.
Portage Ontario News - Matthew StandishMatthew
Standish is a partner and founder of Everest Management Networks Inc. and has been in the recruitment and staffing industry since 1983. A University of Western Ontario graduate, he has also earned his CPC and served for many years on the APPAC (now ACSESS) Ontario Board of Directors.

“As parents, imagine knowing your child is suffering and in pain but you’re helpless to stop it!  We’ve experienced this nightmare, and whether it’s an addiction problem or some other form of disease, as in our case, the havoc and heartbreak to families is very real.  I believe Portage Ontario makes a difference and helps families wake up from the nightmare.” – Matthew Standish 

Portage Ontario News - Diane StonemanDiane Stoneman has been working in the financial service industry for 19 years; the past 16 years of which have been with MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier Inc. Diane is originally from Montréal and attended Concordia University to obtain her Commerce degree. She is both a certified financial planner and portfolio manager.

“Portage provides the resources that youth need to get that second or third chance.  I am thrilled to be part of the Portage Ontario Board and I look forward to raising awareness about this excellent organisation.” – Diane Stoneman

Portage Ontario News - Michael MundyMichael Mundy is a Partner at Odgers Berndtson in Toronto, with extensive executive search experience in a wide range of industries throughout both Canada and the United States. Michael holds an Honours Bachelor’s degree from Trent University and sits on the Board of Directors for the Ireland Canada Chamber of Commerce.

“Addiction is something that has touched many of us at some point in our lives; whether a family member, a neighbour or a colleague at work.  We have all see devastating effects to families and the community at large.  When I was asked to be a part of this wonderful organisation, I was delighted to help drive awareness, funding and hope for those afflicted with addiction.  I am a big believer that all people, especially young people, deserve dignity, self respect and sense of personal self worth.” – Michael Mundy

Portage Ontario is most appreciative of our new Board Members’ involvement and their interest in lending their expertise and various resources to Portage’s mission.

Spring Break at Portage Elora

Portage Ontario News - CurlingFrom March 14 to 18, residents had a week-long break from school programming at Portage Academy, and staff members planned a fun-filled week of activities for them.

Residents did a lot of cross country skiing, hiking, and team-building activities, and even attended a workshop to learn how to curl.  A highlight was the trip to Saint-Jacob’s Sugar Shack, where a local maple syrup festival was taking place.  Residents also greatly appreciated an arts and crafts workshop where they hand-painted and decorated ceramic pots and planted seeds in them, as a representation of their personal growth throughout their substance abuse rehabilitation.

Portage Canada
Portage’s Therapeutic Approach

Portage’s substance abuse rehabilitation treatment approach is based on the therapeutic community model with core self-help principles and individual case management. Portage offers a psychologically and physically safe residential program in a positive peer culture environment.
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Portage Canada
Portage celebrates its 38th anniversary!

Portage QC Bulletin_Lac EchoFebruary 14th, the anniversary of the opening of Portage’s first substance abuse rehabilitation centre in Prévost, Québec, is known as Metamorphosis Day at Portage.  It is a day for all members of the Portage community to celebrate the transformation that the residents undergo during their rehabilitation treatment.
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About Portage

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 Ontario was established in 1985.

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


Portage Elora Winter Olympics
Portage Elora held its annual Winter Olympics on February 4th.  The residents had a great time playing snow soccer and going ice skating.  Along with the staff members, they all went on a group snowshoe across the Portage Elora property to the pond, where the community sat around a roaring campfire, each with a mug a hot chocolate.

Portage Elora Native Culture Night
At the end of January, the Portage Elora community partook in a Native American Culture Night, hosted by several Aboriginal residents who are currently undergoing rehabilitation treatment at the centre.  They spent the afternoon preparing a meal of Indian Tacos and Bannock, which they served to the entire Portage family for dinner.  The diners greatly enjoyed their meal.

Portage Elora residents back from an Outward Bound dog-sledding trip
From January 16th to 20th, a group of graduating Portage Elora residents went on their Outward Bound trip to Ontario’s Algonquin Park, alternating one day of dog-sledding and one day of snowshoeing.
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Portage Ontario News - Outward Bound dog sledding 2011


For admissions information, please contact our centre in Elora, Ontario:
Tel. 519-846-0945
Fax 519-846-5703

For the Portage Ontario Board, Campaign, and volunteer activities, please contact:

Jennifer Blunt
Director of Development
Portage Ontario


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