September 30, 2015 — Debra Johnston, ECA Review Reporter
A new business with a focus on educational support and treatment for troubled teens, has opened its doors to clients in Delburne.
Executive Director Ed Rifo and Director of Operations, Teresa Hay of Venture Academy, attended Delburne’s Sept. 21 council meeting to address concerns expressed by some business owners about the school locating in Delburne.
Business owner, Tim Tufford requested to appear before council to voice his concerns about the school, fearing that Venture students may pose a risk to Delburne.
Tufford and other business owners who attended the meeting were worried that crime rates may rise if at risk teens were living in the community.
Hay reassured the owners that the kids attending the school are not high risk youth but rather teens experiencing more moderate difficulties with school or home.
According to Hay, the Academy has served 750 families at their BC and Ontario locations, many of which are from Alberta. Venture made the decision to start a facility in Alberta so families would be closer to their kids, enabling easier visitation.
Venture Academy aims to provide a safe environment for kids that are not at the level where they require serious intervention, like intense rehab, but still need help from professionals to get back on track with their life.
Students at the school live with host families, currently outside of Delburne, and attend the Academy during the day. Venture is responsible for students’ activities 24 hour a day, both at school and at home.
According to Rifo, there are currently only two students enrolled. The school has capacity for about 20. Rifo says that students undergo a thorough pre-assessment prior to coming to the school to determine if the school is the right environment for them.
Mayor Ray Reckseidler summed up the sentiment of the meeting saying that while residents have some concerns about the nature of the business, Delburne welcomes the Academy.
The Academy is holding an open house for anyone interested in finding out more about the business.