March 18, 2015 - 7:10 PM
PENTICTON - A former Portage B.C. resident of The Crossing treatment centre is petitioning for its return.
A number of former residents at the company’s youth residential addiction treatment facility located near Keremeos, which suddenly closed earlier this month, want to see the program continue in B.C.
“We need more places like that. Portage made a difference in people’s lives,” said Robert Boretta-McLeod. The former Portage resident helped to start a Facebook page a couple of weeks ago after hearing of the treatment centre’s sudden closure. The page has 106 group members so far, most of whom were former Portage residents.
Boretta-McLeod said another former Portage resident created the page, but because she currently had limited internet access, he was administering the page. He has also started a petition advocating funding for the Keremeos centre.
“I’m basically doing everything I can to make the Facebook page public. I’ve tweeted Christy Clark, the Liberals — I’m trying to get it out there."
He said it was a shock to hear Portage B.C. closed The Crossing facility.
“I’ve kind of been a little bit out of touch with it, in terms of being associated with it, other than I went there, but last time I heard anything about it, six months ago, it was going strong. It was definitely a shock to hear about it.”
He said now a number of former residents are advocating for it to stay.
“It did us a lot of good,” he said. Boretta-McLeod was one of the first male residents to graduate from The Crossing.
“My experience with the program was it brought me deeper into my life than I had gone before, in terms of changing it,” he said, noting he had undergone numerous other attempts at treatment prior to going to The Crossing.
“Really, it was me just blowing smoke at that point, and I admitted one day ‘I need to fix my life’.”
Boretta-McLeod said the Portage program taught him to see the opportunities his life held for him. He described himself as being “young, wild and full of anger” at the time.
“I came out a completely different person. I don’t know if I can explain it,” he said. "I’m a lot healthier, not only physically, but mentally.... They not only taught me a way of living with the issues I had while there, they taught me a way to live after I was out as well.”
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015