Month: December 2016

Recovery Is Possible: A Paramedic’s Story

TWC Alumni Clive Derbyshire Shares His Truth On CBC

Together We Can alumni and first responder Clive Derbyshire was recently asked to conduct a video interview on CBC News Vancouver. Clive shared his thoughts pertaining to the overdose epidemic in our city as well as his own personal struggles and triumphs in recovery.

Paramedics and firefighters in our province have experienced an onslaught of misery and trauma this year due to a seemingly endless successions of overdoses. There were 622 apparent illicit drug overdose deaths from Jan to Oct 2016 in BC and the death toll at the end of the year is projected to be over 800. 

According to B.C.'s ambulance paramedics union representatives, first responders have dealt with as many as 170 calls a day related to the fentanyl crisis this past year. 

With emergency rooms more crowded than ever and naloxone failing to counteract fentanyl overdoses, these brave men and women have a difficult time seeing any light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

Clive speaks about how important his time at TWC’s Alliance Program was for him to form a solid support group of like-minded individuals with similar goals and aspirations in recovery. Before his interview on CBC, Clive spoke at the Overdose Candlelight Vigil on December 17th  in honour of those who have lost their lives. 

As a BC paramedic, “empathy fatigue” and PTSD symptoms fill Clive’s ongoing journey in recovery with a complex series of barriers and obstacles. The resilience and perseverance he has shown is truly remarkable and we could not be more proud of his accomplishments thus far.

"They have to reach out for help. They have to ask, and for that to happen, the stigma of addiction has to go away. Until people can see through that and people feel safe to reach out and ask for help then there's a barrier to any kind of help."

– Clive Derbyshire 

TWC Gets In The Christmas Spirit!

Volunteers Give Back at The Maritime Labour Centre

Together We Can addiction counsellor Dan Bernard has been organizing volunteers to help in preparation for the Labour Community Christmas Dinner that is held as an annual event for the last eight years. Alumni, staff and residents consider this to be a fantastic opportunity to have fun and give their time to ensure the less fortunate have a hot meal and gifts during the holidays. 

The BC Federation of Labour has been hosting the Labour Community Christmas Dinner for over two decades. 1500 meals will be served in Vancouver on Christmas Eve and 1500 will be served in Surrey the same day.

1600 hampers will also be distributed equally between two locations – The Maritime Labour Centre in Vancouver and The Whalley Legion in Surrey. These hampers will include gifts for infants and teenager as well as clothing and non-perishable food items. 

Thank you to all the residents, staff and alumni from TWC's Straight Path and Alliance Programs who seized the opportunity to make someone else's Christmas special.

Dinner will be served in Vancouver at 3 pm on December 24th at the Maritime Labour Centre, 1880 Triumph Street, and at the same time and date in Surrey at the Whalley Legion, 13525 – 106th Ave. Everyone is welcome to join in the festivities and nobody will be leaving with an empty stomach. 

If you want to volunteer serving meals or distributing hampers either in Surrey or Vancouver, feel free to contact Marisha Zuckerman at 604-430-1421. Volunteers and union members have been donating their time at this event for over twenty years and the positive effect they produce is truly remarkable. 

Overdose Awareness Candlelight Vigil

Honouring the Memory of Overdose Victims

On December 15th, 13 people died of drug overdoses across our province with eight confirmed deaths on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The latest government strategy of banning pill presses has done nothing to curb the steadily growing death toll in BC.

Rico (far left) and Clive (far right) from TWC’s Alliance Program

Members of the recovery community gathered on Saturday at the Vancouver Art Gallery to hold a Candlelight Vigil to honour those who have lost their lives in the overdose epidemic.

TWC Alumni and first responder Clive Derbyshire was asked to speak at the podium and delivered a heartfelt message about the tragedies he has witnessed. The mood was solemn as those in attendance held candles and bowed their heads as a show of respect for those who have lost their lives too soon.

The province has fallen short on its promise to create 500 new treatment beds by the end of 2016. Individuals who seek treatment and change are met with long wait-lists and countless barriers on the road to accessing crucial services and resources. Substitution therapy using prescription opiates such as methadone and suboxone are clearly not an effective solution as the number of fatal overdoses grows.

Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer with Mayor Gregor Roberston (right).

Gregor Robertson, the Mayor of Vancouver, as well as Vancouver Chief of Police Adam Palmer have announced the drastic need for more treatment beds. Recently reported overdose statistics from the month of November put the death toll from illicit drugs in BC at 128.

“Right now there’s a huge gap in the system and it’s failing those people who put up their hand and ask to get clean.”
–  Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer

Christmas at The Lighthouse

Thank You Anawim House!

TWC Vancouver Island Representative Trevor Franklin has started a tradition of purchasing a Christmas tree for TWC’s Lighthouse transitional home in Victoria every year. The past four years, Trevor has been going down to the Anawim House in Victoria during their annual Christmas Tree Sale.

Trevor and Anawim’s Director, Terry Edison-Brown, have established a relationship built around helping those who struggle with addiction. The Anawim House provides day programs, residential programs and outreach services for men and women at need. Each year, Anawim House serves more than 13,500 meals, approximately 35,000 cups of coffee and provides 1,800 showers and loads of laundry to those in need.

Together We Can’s Lighthouse Residence on the Island is a great stepping stone for men transitioning out of residential treatment programs. A safe, supported living situation around like-minded individuals in recovery provides an ideal platform for continued growth.

Lighthouse Managers Martin and Will with Trevor Franklin (far right)

The Lighthouse on Quadra is located in downtown Victoria and is within walking distance of over twenty different recovery based meetings. It is also in close proximity to the Crystal Pool Recreation Centre where clients can participate in a variety of athletic activities and workshops within the community.

The Lighthouse ensures that TWC clients returning to the Island, or men from other recovery programs, have a safe and stable environment to call home. The house itself is a spacious, inviting space for clients to grow and succeed in recovery.

Click here to send Anawim House a donation now!

North Shore Round Up 2017

Tickets Available Now!

There are many AA Conventions held around the world and Vancouver’s Annual North Shore Round Up is proud to participate in the tradition of coming together as a community to celebrate success in sobriety. This is a self-supporting event organized and planned by a committee of local AA members dedicated to ensuring that newcomers to AA hear a message of hope and strength.

Tickets to the 46th Annual North Shore Round Up tickets are now available to purchase! Click here to visit the official North Shore Round Up website and get yours through PayPal before they sell out. You can also visit AA Central Office Vancouver, the North Vancouver Alano Club, the Burnaby Fellowship Centre, and various individual ticket sellers.

The venue, entertainment and line-up of circuit speakers is sure to be world-class. Thousands of sober alcoholics will be participating in a grand show of fellowship and unity aimed at spreading a message of hope and inspiration for the newcomer. The weekend will be jam-packed with activities including a sobriety countdown, speaker meetings, workshops and dances. There is something for everyone, from a newcomer with one day sober to a seasoned AA member with multiple years of sobriety.

TWC volunteers collect tickets during the 2015 North Shore Round Up.

The convention has taken place in downtown Vancouver since the mid 1970’s, being held at the Hyatt Regency from 1979 through 2015. Beginning in 2016, the Round Up moved to the Convention Centre to better accommodate the thousands of sober alcoholics who participate on a yearly basis.

Together We Can will be providing over 120 tickets for our first-stage treatment residents, many of whom will be volunteering in a number of different capacities. The event will be taking place at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour with the theme of “Bridge to Shore.”

Click here to send a message to the North Shore Round Up committee!

TWC Staff Christmas Party 2016

 A Great Night of Laughter, Food and Fellowship

Together We Can’s Executive Director Stacy Wilson spoke with pride and enthusiasm as he addressed TWC staff with highlights and achievements from this past year.

“It has truly been a remarkable year for TWC staff members, alumni and residents as our programs and facilities continue to evolve. Helping to meet the demand for treatment beds during the current fentanyl crisis is no small task, but TWC now has more primary treatment and transitional housing beds than ever before.”

The evening commenced with appetizers and refreshments in the lounge as guests arrived to the fabulous Cotto Enoteca Pizzeria in Burnaby. The atmosphere was warm and inviting as board members and staff entered and embraced one another in the spirit of the holidays.

As everyone made their way into the dining area, Stabilization Counsellor Jesse Kiss fired up the microphone and commenced his duties as the night’s MC. The jokes came fast and furious and, with the crowd roaring, Jesse began handing out awards including “best facial hair in the office” and “biggest hypochondriac.” 

After dinner was served, Stacy began his speech in which he captured the true essence of what Together We Can stands for: helping as many people as we can on a daily basis. Stacy thanked staff members Don Presland, Betty Conroy, Bill Sinclair and John Ruth for their immense service and dedication since joining the organization.  

Together We Can has grown substantially this last year and there are many more exciting projects on the horizon. Thanks to the hard work of our 50 full-time and 30 part-time staff who continue to flame the fire of compassion at the core of TWC.

A special thanks to Sonaiya Wilson for all of her hard-working organizing and planning this amazing event.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all of the staff at TWC! 


Thank You For Your Generous Donations!

Raising Awareness for Testicular Cancer

Nathan MacMaster, former WHL Hockey Player and TWC staff member, took it upon himself during the month of “Movember” to raise $1000 for testicular cancer research. His efforts paid off as he was presented with a cheque for $500 by TWC Financial Controller Karen Hogge. Testicular cancer is an issue close to Nathan’s heart as it has impacted his loved ones in recent years. Nathan has also benefited greatly from his involvement in the TWC Athletics Program

Testicular cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in young men, and rates have doubled in the last 50 years. The Movember Foundation has been working to halve the number of deaths from testicular cancer by 2030, and Nathan is passionate about helping them attain this goal. 

Daniel Maceachern (left), Funding Coordinator at TWC, may be clean shaven is the picture, but this certainly was not the case last month. Daniel took it upon himself to grow the most impressive moustache in the office to show his support for a great cause. 

Nathan and Daniel have committed to grow ‘staches for many years to come in the month of “Movember”.  Thank you to everyone at TWC and in the community abroad who sent Nathan donations and helped to make his dream a reality. Movember was a great bonding experience for many of our staff and moved an issue largely ignored to the forefront of our minds. Let’s rally together next year and make testicular cancer research a priority in support of health and wellness. 

“I grew up a high profile athlete, in addiction I lost touch with sports and recreation. Together We Can has numerous recreational programs, including my personal favorite; ice hockey, to allow people to begin living a healthy lifestyle again. After 90 days here, for the first time in a long time, I look forward to tomorrow and what the future has to offer.”                                          

Nathan MacMaster 

Click here to learn more about Nathan and his journey in recovery.

TWC Alumni Retreat 2016

 TWC Alumni Retreat – Mountain View

Don Presland and Rodrigo Rementeria from the TWC Alliance Program had a vision that began earlier this year. On November 25th to November 27th of this year, this vision was realized and 20 TWC alumni took part in a weekend of fun, fellowship and connections at the Mountain View Country House in Chilliwack. 

TWC alumni and staff were treated to an amazing experience – many thanks to the gracious donations of those in the TWC community. Vans and cars were loaded up on friday afternoon as the guys began their adventure with the Mountain View Country House as the destination.

The majestic view, fresh air and warm fellowship provided a great platform for reflection and appreciation of how vastly their lives have changed. 

Participants were led through an extensive Big Book Study Workshop in between fabulously prepared meals by Rodrigo and Dale from TWC's Alliance Program. A testament to the principles of recovery in action, twenty men with different backgrounds, personalities and experiences were able to appreciate and learn from one another over the course of the weekend. 

Together We Can imparts a philosophy with a foundation based on the lasting bonds and memories created on trips and retreats such as the latest Alumni Retreat. Everyone who participated had a blast and can't wait for the next alumni funded event to take place. Thank you to Don Presland and Rodrigo Rementaria for all of your hard work organizing the retreat – your efforts never go unnoticed!

"A great group of guys! But the best part about it was Daniel. His knowledge of the book and how to apply spiritual principles in his life is an amazing thing to behold. Going into this I knew I would be richer for the experience. But nothing could have prepared me for that. Thanks everyone!"

– Joseph Mcgeough, TWC Resident Services and Alumni 

“REPRESENT” – 15% Off All TWC Apparel

TWC apparel is on sale now – we have toques, tank tops, shorts, hoodies, t-shirts and golf shirts available at a discounted price. Both functional and stylish, our apparel is made with high quality materials at an affordable price.

Please come by in person, call us or visit our online shop today to place your order! TWC merchandise is great for Christmas presents and will keep you or your loved ones warm this season.

We offer all of our apparel in a variety of sizes – small all the way up to 3XL! Hoodies come in a different styples, we offer zip up and pull-over style to meet your wants.

The baseball caps have been a best seller, they are high-quality Flexifit brand material! Get yours now!

Together We Can – Custom Apparel


Regular Price

Discount Price

Hoodie $40 $32
Ball Cap $25 $21.25
Toques $15 $12.75
Tank Tops $15 $12.75
Shorts $20 $10
Golf Shirts $20  $17
T-Shirts (White and Black) $15 $12.75