A tour and presentation at Lennon Recovery House in Rustico proved so inspiring for a group of Prosper West participants that the entire group decided to go back and spend a full day there volunteering to help get the recovery house ready for opening.
The former Belcourt Retreat Centre is being redeveloped as the Lennon Recovery House to assist people facing addiction and mental health challenges.
It was founded by Dianne Young and named in memory of her son, Lennon, who lost his life by suicide in 2013 after being long tormented by schizophrenia and drug addiction. Lennon Recovery House is a non-profit organization run by a board of directors.
Joyce Newcombe, program coordinator and job coach for the Prosper West Program, delivered by the Est Prince Youth Development Centre, said a tour of Lennon House was inserted into the recent five-week program because addiction and mental health are very prominent barriers to employment.
Funded by the provincial government, Prosper West’s mission is to assist employers find and maintain employees in the Shellfish, Tourism, Construction and Agriculture sectors and is directed at participants who are experiencing barriers to employment.
This class was able to relate to the dire need of a recovery house for all of P.E.I.,” Newcombe related. “Some spoke of how they could have used Lennon House, or they know of someone who could really benefit from having a recovery house that has the capacity to house 55 + persons in need.”
Besides volunteering as a group, Newcombe said participants plan to return on their own to volunteer.
She shared comments and observations made by participants.
“Diane is an inspiration to me and many others for her ability to turn her story around into this much needed project.,” said a participant who is in a more than seven-year struggle with addiction.
“I would have loved to have a place like Lennon House to go to when I was struggling and in a bad place where I was struggling and needed support and had no friends, family, no money, no home and dealing with addiction,” said one participant who also mentioned losing close family members to addiction and suicide.
“Diane’s story really touched me as I too struggle with drug-induced psychosis like her son. For me to volunteer at Lennon House is an extremely rewarding experience in being able to give back.,” said another.
Prosper West, Newcombe said, was developed specifically to raise self-awareness and confidence, develop new skills, overcome barriers to employment, to assist in job searching and resume-building, and in finding and maintaining employment. A job coach service is provided to participants who may experience some transition to employment issues.
The program provides for a continuous intake of participants of all ages, referred to EPYDC from other agencies.