Ashlan is leaving Venture Academy for troubled teens with a future that looks brighter than the bleak one she was heading towards.
Today, just a few months from graduating high school, she is a sober 17-year-old who is excited about reconnecting with her family, finishing high school, and studying nursing in Montreal.
“Before I came here I just hated myself. I was smoking pot every day, all day, fighting with my parents and doing stupid things like stealing,” Ashlan remembers. “I wanted to change but I couldn’t do it with the people I was hanging out with.”
Ashlan’s parents wanted her to change too. They sat her down, told her about Venture Academy for troubled teens, and asked if she’d like to go.
“We had our last fight and my mom gave me this opportunity to go to Venture. She gave me the choice so I said sure I’ll go.”
At first Ashlan hated her parents for suggesting she go, but as the drugs cleared her system she realized how lucky she was to have parents who cared enough to reach out for the help she so desperately needed.
“After the first month you just crazy miss them (your parents). You miss everything about them and you don’t even care about all the fights you’ve had,” she says. “Venture Academy takes you out of your environment and shows you that the ones who really care are your parents.”
Ashlan has accomplished many firsts while at Venture Academy – from zip lining for the first time to swimming in an Olympic-sized pool – however the most important had to do with her education, including passing math after many failed attempts.
“I took math10 three times and failed three times back home but when I took it here I got a lot of help and now I’ve finished the course and just have to take an exam,” she said. “I think Venture Academy is a really good thing.”