by Carol Tracy, Portage Atlantic

For, By and of the Community

Portage Atlantic provides bilingual treatment services for young people ages 14 to 21 with serious substance abuse issues. The residential centre is located on 165 acres nestled along the shores of Cassidy Lake, NB.

Upon admission, new residents are welcomed by those currently in treatment, who help them understand how the program works. Under the supervision of a team of clinical staff members, residents support and encourage one another through the program, helping each other to acquire the necessary competencies and knowledge to move through the phases and eventually become role models to new residents. The residential program lasts approximately 6 months and upon return to their communities, youth receive aftercare support for up to two years through regular meetings with aftercare counsellors and the aftercare community.   

Youth and their families in the Fredericton region benefit from weekly meetings and 24/7 assistance if and when required.  

A “Hand Up” Fredericton?

Rehabilitation at Portage Atlantic is not just about stopping drug abuse; it’s about gaining the confidence, self-esteem, and the tools to be able to handle the challenges of everyday life without resorting to drugs. It’s about understanding the core reason why a person is abusing drugs, and working through those issues. It’s about developing a healthy lifestyle – eating well, sleeping well, and enjoying social and recreational activities. It’s about developing the skills to be able to do well in school or at work, and to make plans for the future.

Portage Atlantic is committed to promoting the importance of education among the youth in treatment, and is recognized as an alternative school by the NB Department of Education. Upon admission, an individualized academic plan is put in place for each resident in the language of their choice.  

Every year, high school credits are earned by the youth in treatment. Some students work towards their general equivalency diploma (GED), some participate in a hands-on training program in seven skilled trades through the NB Department of Education, Training and Labour, and some have even acquired their First Aid/CPR training during the residential phase.  

Youth who pursue post-secondary education after completing a treatment program at Portage are eligible for the Portage Atlantic Bursary Program, provided by a long-time donor and the Lion Ron Evans Bursary Fund. Recipients are selected based on exceptional personal growth and dedication to their sobriety.  

Some Portage Atlantic graduates are back in schools in our region. Some are employed in the Fredericton Region thanks to businesses willing and able to give them a “hand up”. Are you able to give a “hand up”?  

With all of the courage and perseverance they have put into their residential rehabilitation, opportunities in the workforce once they return home, can make all the difference. Opportunities can vary but one thing is for sure; opportunities will help youth gain self confidence and self-esteem so that they may make meaningful and positive contributions to their community. 

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