'This place saved my life': Penticton's Discovery House inching closer to fundraising goal for recovery beds

'This place saved my life'

Casey Richardson

Hoping to decrease the stigma individuals face that are suffering through addiction while raising funds for their recovery program, Penticton's Discovery House is nearing its biggest fundraising event.

The Shed the Light on Addiction campaign aims to build the brightest house on the block to remember those lost to addiction in the past year.

On Wednesday, the Recovery Resource Society accepted a $20,000 cheque from one of their biggest supporters, Janet Parker. She’s been working with Discovery House since her son Colin passed away from an overdose on Oct. 4, 2016.

Thanks to her donation and many others, Discovery House is now halfway to the $150,000 goal.

"We understand that things are tight all the way around and we just ask people to give what they can and support us in other ways if they can do that," Brent Rowland, program coordinator with the house said.

"The goal of $150,000 does pay for four treatment beds. So it helps guys get through Discovery House and do their program. So many of our guys who come in, don't pay anything out of pocket. They're on government assistance through the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. But unfortunately, the ministry only pays us less than $36 per day to support these guys. And so that's well below what we actually have to pay out in order to give them the care that they need."

Rowland is in recovery himself and shared that when he got to a point where he wanted and could give back, he reached out to Discovery House.

"I started off as a support worker, just part time and over time, I grew into the space where I was running the programming here and becoming more of a managerial role," he added.

"I'm now in the process of finishing my master's degree to be a counsellor, so I can help in more ways around the house."

Richard Thompson, who's only been a part of the house as a staff member for the last eight months, said when he was a client, it was inspiring to see how much the community rallies for the organization.

"I wouldn't have been where I'm at, or I might not even be alive without coming to the house. I was in a pretty bad spot before coming here and this place saved my life," he said.

"I think addiction touches almost everybody in the world right now. Even if you don't struggle with addiction, you know somebody that struggles with addiction or know somebody that knows somebody, it's woven in all fabrics of life I think and something that's not going away."

This past year, nearly 80 men have come through the program.

A holiday open house and the annual light-up will be taking place on Saturday, Dec. 16 at Discovery House.

"It's definitely our biggest fundraiser of the year. But it's also the time where we can reflect on the work that we've done during the year. It's just a way for us to also say thank you to this community who supports us so much. We're proud of the work we do, but we know we couldn't do it alone," Rowland said.

The community is encouraged to attend with open heart and minds.

"I think a lot of people understand that addiction is a problem in our society and our community especially but [it's about] understanding that these guys aren't the invisible population, they're here trying to change their lives," Rowland added.

"To get to put a face to some of these stories that we've heard about addiction and what goes on on the streets, and when people come out of their addiction and everything like that, and meet some of these guys who are amazing individuals who are really working hard to change their lives."

The event at Discovery House located at 633 Winnipeg Street will begin with an open house and refreshments from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. before the recovery speakers and house light-up takes place from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

To support the campaign, people can purchase a Christmas light bulb for $10 or a string of 25 bulbs for $250 to help light their recovery house. The campaign runs until Dec. 31.

For more information, head to their website here, e-transfer to [email protected] or call 250-809-6075

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