After 12 years of keeping a low profile in Kelowna, the Venture Academy residential program for struggling teens spoke up this month.
“We’ve helped thousands of families at our Kelowna location, and we just want the community to know about the good work that we are doing and that the academy is a big economic contributor to the area,” said executive director Gordon Hay.
“We’re a private pay program, so we’re not doing any fundraising. We just wanted to invite some community leaders up and show them what we do here.”
For the tour of the academy’s Schoolhouse building in Black Mountain, Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray, Kelowna-Lake Country MP Ron Cannan and Kelowna RCMP Sgt. Wade Seversen showed up.
The Schoolhouse the academy leases is the former Black Mountain Elementary School just off Highway 33, which also had a short stint as the red Schoolhouse Pub.
The academy runs intense six-month residential treatment programs for 20 struggling teens at a time.
The academy likes to use the term struggling rather than troubled because the program is meant to be healing rather than punitive.
The 13-to-18-year-olds may be suffering from any one of multiple issues, including low self-esteem, being bullied, drug and alcohol abuse, high-risk behaviours, emotional problems, anxiety and depression, attention deficit disorder, and self-harm such as cutting and burning.
“We had a testimonial from a teenaged girl while the mayor and MP were up here and people had tears in their eyes,” said Hay. “She is suffering from depression and anxiety and is seeing progress.”
Families come from all over Canada to drop their struggling teens off at Venture for the six-month program.
“Before we set up (Venture also has a location in Barrie, Ont.), Canadian families had to go to the U.S. to find a program like this,” said Hay.
“It’s like going to boarding school, but with behavioural and environmental support with whatever the teen is struggling with.”
The program starts with a 30 Day Intervention and Assessment process by psychologists and youth workers.
Teens attend classes at the Schoolhouse and live with families affiliated with the academy to get further support and direction.
There are also specific therapies and treatments for whatever behavioural, mental or addiction issues the teen is dealing with.
With its constant intakes and graduations, Venture has 20 teens at a time at the Kelowna location and helps about 200 teens every year.
To learn more about our teen behaviour treatment model, call us today at (855) 281-5813.