Programs like Reach make difference for all Islanders

By Rose Barbour (a reader's view)

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian)
Published on March 25, 2014

I enjoyed reading the article about the Reach Foundation that you printed on March 13, 2014. Thank you. It is important to get the word out that this excellent new resource is available for Island youth in recovery and their families.

I would like to commend Janice Coady, Cheryl Roche and Verna Ryan for all their work to get the Reach Foundation off the ground. They took a great idea and made it happen. Thanks to their passion for helping Island youth, many will now have the support they need to maintain recovery from their addictions, and become healthy and productive members of society. This will benefit our province for years to come.

My son was fortunate enough to be one of the first participants involved in the Reach Centre. At that wonderful place, he is earning a living, developing new skills, attending recovery meetings, benefitting from healthy peer interactions, and smiling. We really missed his smile during the very difficult years of active addiction. He is now almost six months into his recovery. This is the longest period of time that he’s maintained recovery, and we owe a lot of that to the support he receives at the Reach Foundation. Our family is very grateful to Janice, Cheryl and Verna.

As a volunteer with the Foundation, I am in regular contact with the staff. When they heard that I was working with a few other individuals to bring a SMART Recovery group to the Island, as well as working with another mom to start a support group for parents, they offered space at the Centre for both meetings. It is not easy to find meeting spaces so this was welcomed news. These two meetings will be open to the public in late April and all ages are welcome. Offering space for recovery meetings is just another way that the Reach Foundation will have an impact here on P.E.I..

Recovering from addiction is not easy. Addiction now kills more people in North America each year than car accidents because individuals struggle to find and maintain recovery. Programs like those offered at the Reach Foundation will make a difference for all Islanders. We are all impacted in some way by addiction.

In closing, your article mentioned the “Art for Addiction” fundraiser that the Reach Foundation is having in the Memorial Hall of the Confederation Centre of the Arts on April 5 at 7 p.m. I do hope that Islanders and our talented artists will get behind this non-profit organization by either donating or purchasing art or, if they can’t make it to the event, sending in a donation. Every contribution helps.

Rose Barbour of Charlottetown is an advocate for Islanders battling addiction. She does public speaking on the issue and writes a blog “Living in the Shadows in Prince Edward Island.”