TOGETHER WE CAN – A 25 Year Long Legacy
In 1993, a single recovery house at Kingsway and Moss Street in Vancouver opened it’s doors and took in the first few clients under the direction of founder, Calvin Lee. Today that house has grown into an organization, Together We Can. We’d like celebrate our 25th anniversary with a trip down memory lane.
After opening that first primary treatment residence, it took only until 1996 for TWC to add three more; all located next to each other. It was then too that they built a fully integrated kitchen to serve all four houses more effectively.
With more recovery education space available, TWC Centre was born.
As TWC grew and saw more men advancing in their recovery, they soon realized that there was a need for more sober living homes beyond primary care for graduating residents. So in 2000, Together We Can opened up its first transitional housing location in Vancouver’s Marpole area. Today, that number has risen to 10 transitional residences located throughout the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.
In 2005, Together We Can expanded to add their 5th primary treatment home at TWC Centre. For the following decade, TWC continued the important work of educating and supporting men and families who struggle with the challenges of addiction by fostering positive, meaningful, and beneficial partnerships with communities, industries, agencies, and the health care system.
Fast forward to 2018. That single house on Moss Street has now grown into 26 residences with over 300 beds, and 110 staff members and volunteers. We look forward to the days and years to come, as we all seek our Recovery Life.
DID YOU KNOW?
Together We Can serves on average over 328,000 meals per year to our residents.
In 2015, under the guidance of Stacy Wilson, Together We Can embarked upon one our most ambitious and meaningful stages of growth.
Building upon the foundation that our past board of directors and Executive Directors Calvin Lee, Rita Loftsgard, Alan Nielson, and Robert Waring had built for Together We Can, Stacy Wilson unveiled a new vision for the organization that was bold, ambitious, and daring.
Strengthening relationships, and working harder towards creating more meaningful and effective addiction services is the focus moving forward.
Trusted and experienced leaders from the First Nations, LGBTQ, Veterans, First Responders, clinical, and therapeutic communities were identified and charged with the important tasks of creating treatment and support programs for Together We Can that were impacting their worlds.
The Alliance program is Canada’s only LGBTQ designated treatment program.
New Programs & Services at TWC
First came our Veterans Services and Outreach program in 2015 run by Canadian Navy Veteran, and Together We Can staff member Mike Cain. Our organization put together a comprehensive treatment program tailored to the specific needs of veterans struggling with addiction, which includes targeting PTSD, neuro-feedback therapy, acupuncture, meditation, after care housing, fitness, athletics, financial literacy, sober coaching, and a weekly veterans support group.
Second, came the Alliance program in 2016, a one of a kind safe and supportive addiction treatment space for the LGBTQ recovery community, built around the principles of acceptance, tolerance, compassion, and service.
Originally started in 2013 under the name Discovery, the Alliance program was spearheaded in 2015 and managed by Don Presland until his passing in 2017 and today is championed by Rico Pulgar, who brings a passionate, dedicated energy to our unique program.
In addition to the incredible work that the Alliance program does in its two houses, they also have a strong belief in the power of service and volunteerism, and created the TWC Street Reach program, which gives clients and staff the opportunity to help others in need by handing out clothes, food, drinks, and hope to Vancouver’s homeless population.
MAKING AN IMPACT:
All My Relations is the only indigenous treatment centre in the Metro-Vancouver area.
All My Relations – Ignite the Fire Within.
Next came one of our most groundbreaking initiatives in 2016 when Together We Can launched All My Relations, a culturally authentic treatment program for indigenous men under the leadership of Program Director Dan Bernard and Indigenous Cultural Coordinator, Tyler Craig.
Through government policies such as the Indian Act, many indigenous communities nearly lost their cultural and spiritual practices. Addressing the collective and individual traumas that many indigenous men face is critical to overcoming substance abuse issues.
The All My Relations Indigenous healing program was developed through extensive consultation with Elders from different First Nations. The use of traditional medicine wheel practices, culturally appropriate trauma informed counselling, daily smudging ceremonies, workshops with Elders, contact with knowledge keepers, and sweat lodge ceremonies are all key to helping men recover from drug and alcohol addiction.
By integrating 12 step programming, and numerous ceremonies to enhance wellness, the All My Relations program has been able to help over 300 indigenous men on their paths to sobriety. Today there are three AMR recovery residences in Metro-Vancouver serving the indigenous community.
IT”S IN THE NUMBERS:
In 2017 over 1200 men successfully completed treatment through our program.
In 2017, Together We Can entered into the premier recovery market when Elevate Life Wellness Centre opened its doors for the first time. Designed for clients who desire a private and intimate treatment experience, Elevate Life combines residential comforts with privacy and the highest quality of clinical care already offered by Together We Can.
Elevate’s mission: to carry on providing the finest treatment services available anywhere, while also catering to a client’s individual needs for exclusivity, privacy and comfort.
Elevate Life is staffed around the clock by qualified clinicians and treatment professionals, and offer structured, intensive and effective individual and group therapy sessions, and access to numerous fitness and wellness facilities not found anywhere else.
Today, Together We Can with their growing suite of addiction recovery models has one of the most comprehensive, forward leaning, inclusive, and diverse recovery programs offered around the world.
Looking Into the Future
The only thing more exciting and inspiring than the history of Together We Can, is the future of our organization and the monumental goals we have set for ourselves and the clients that we serve.
In September of 2018, Together We Can will be opening the doors to our brand new resource centre that will give our clients unprecedented access to more mental health, counselling, and medical services.
Psychiatric, one on one counselling, and clinical services will also be available on an out-patient basis so that we can help to better serve the recovery community both inside, and outside of our treatment program.
October of 2018 will also mark the second annual Together We Can Elevate Life Gala fundraiser, which last year raised enough money for our organization to make a sizable contribution to our Fallen Sons Memorial Fund, upgrade our administration office, make significant upgrades to several of our first stage houses, and make meaningful contributions to our music therapy, hockey, baseball, family, and numerous support programs.
Above and beyond all the exciting and impacting initiatives that Together We Can will accomplish this year, we will be making headway on our most important long term goal: to partner with private, public, and healthcare stake-holders to meet the needs of our community by building a new, up to 100-bed treatment facility in Metro Vancouver.
This new facility will include 24/7 clinical staff, a comprehensive addiction education centre, on-site addiction doctors, a collection of specialized addiction therapies, and recreation and physical fitness amenity spaces. Our goal is to have the doors of this new facility open by 2023, and all this will be made possible in large part because of our Elevate Life Gala Fundraiser.
On behalf of the staff, volunteers, board of directors, alumni, and most importantly, our clients, we want to thank each and every person, partner, and organization that has helped and supported us over the last 25 years.
We would like to invite you all to be a part of our next 25 years as we continue our mandate to educate and support men and families who struggle with the challenges of addiction, and desire a new life in recovery.
The list of addiction programs and services we offer has grown to be one of the foremost centres for treatment in North America.
First Responders Support
First Nations Programming
Family Support Program
Subsidized Recreational Passes