Thank you for supporting Together We Can!
Together We Can's Premiere Elevate Fundraiser at the Imperial Theatre on March 5th was a massive success. Our plans to increase our number of treatment beds and renovate our current facilities are now coming to fruition as Together We Can remains on its trajectory of rapid growth. We cannot thank our valued community partners enough for supporting us as we create more solutions for those struggling with addiction and mental illness.
Funds raised at the event will allow us to select our first beneficiary of the Fallen Sons Memorial Fund, help support TWC Athletics, and complete renovations to our reception area and family lounge. The Fallen Sons Memorial Fund will allow Together We Can to subsidize comprehensive one year treatment programs for at-risk individuals who would not otherwise be able to fund their stay at TWC.
Vancouver Kingsway MP Don Davies shared his extensive knowledge and insight around progressive strategies for effective substance misuse treatment in our province.
Noting the need for a greater number of abstinence-based treatment beds, Don was critical of "band aid" policy moves that fail to implement any effective long-term solutions.
Don shone a spotlight on BC first-responders who have been tirelessly caring for overdose victims as the fentanyl crisis claims more lives everyday in our country. Terrance Kosikar, a former paramedic and creator of the "It's Not Weak To Speak" PTSD awareness campaign, was visibly moved by Don's poignant words.
Tim Nichols, who's son John Nichols died tragically of an overdose in May of last year, presented a powerful and emotional testimonial to the audience.
The Fallen Sons Memorial Fund, which will provide a comprehensive one year treatment program for a man who would not otherwise be able to afford it, will ensure that those who have lost loved ones due to overdose find a measure of solace and peace.
Together We Can as an organization was honoured to have the Nichols family present at our event. Tim's words remain present in our hearts as we forge onward on a mission to help men find a new way of life free of substances.
Stacy Wilson, Together We Can's Executive Director, found himself deeply humbled as he took the microphone on stage. The impact of support from our community partners, alumni and honoured guests was felt throughout the room while Stacy articulated his emotions with a moving address to the crowd.
Stacy was thrilled to have his mother and daughters in the audience as he spoke on his vision for TWC as an organization and those struggling with addiction and mental illness in our communities.
Once again, thank you for everyone who participated, performed, donated and supported Together We Can. The impact you have made will help us provide greater access to addiction services to vulnerable populations in our community. We look forward to seeing you at TWC Elevate Galas for years to come!
"TWC has saved my son's life. He is now living a happy and productive life having been given the tools through the residential first stage program at TWC. His lifelong program of recovery has carried on now back at home as he enjoys the life which he has been given back. I am forever grateful to all of the staff and executive at TWC who were loving and supportive throughout his treatment." – Sandy P, Mother
A Celebration of Indigenous Peformance and Art
Long-time Together We Can staff member Bill Sinclair accompanied a group of our residents on a visit to the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre in Yaletown this past month.
The Talking Stick Festival is an annual gathering of indigenous artists and performers which includes drumming, dancing, and a variety of indigenous on display including paintings, carvings and sculptures. Bill has been attending this showcase of indigenous creativity for many years and is passionate about helping indigenous men in our program find their roots.
Dancers twirled and ominous chanting could be heard reverberating through the hallways as performers dressed in traditional regalia evoked a strong sense of appreciation and inspiration from the crowd. Coming together to embrace their heritage, the deeply healing effect felt by our residents in early recovery left them feeling "optimistic and proud." Staff and alumni look forward to attending Talking Stick festivals for years to come.
Together We Can Addictions Counellors Dan Bernard and Jackson Dionne have been working closely with indigenous residents at our Straight Path Treatment Home to instill and carry on the values and traditions of their ancestors. From a perspective of respect and appreciation, counsellors incorporate activities such as smudging, sweat lodge ceremonies, pow wows, cedar brushing and talking circles.
Together We Can strives to remain a culturally-inclusiveness and progressive program with staff equipped to treat men suffering from a range of mental health and substance misuse issues.
"O Great Spirit whose voice I hear in the winds, I come to you as one of your many children. I need your strength and your wisdom. Make me strong not to be superior to my brother, but to be able to fight my greatest enemy: "Myself" – Chief Dan George
Spreading Awareness About PTSD, Addiction and Mental Health
Together We Can Staff members Mike Wilson and Nathan Macmaster drove up to Whistler on Sunday, February 12th with fifteen primary care residents in support of Terrance Kosikar and the “It’s not weak to speak – Not all wounds are visible” campaign.
The purpose of this trip was support Terrance in his quest to provide first-responsders suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder with the resources they need to find relief and stability in their lives.
The mission is to garner support for Bill M203, which aims to provide resources and aid for British Columbia’s first responders affected by PTSD.
Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre, where the two nations, mountains and the rivers meet, hosted our group in Whistler for a demonstration of smudging and traditional dancing. TWC residents and staff in attendance were awestruck by the beauty displayed by these gentle people and felt spiritually centred on their way to Whistler Village afterwards.
Prayer and meditation then commenced at Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili's memorial site as those in attendance paid respect to this incredible athlete who passed away in an accident during the 2010 Summer Olympics. Terrance was the first paramedic to respond to the horrific scene and suffered from PTSD as a result.
TWC volunteers and staff spent the day flipping a 400 pound tire and speaking to the public about PTSD, addiction and mental health. A number of onlookers stopped what they were doing and began to help flip the tire themselves in a show of appreciation for this effort and the cause.
Terrance very generously treated TWC participants to dinner and a soak in the hot tub at the Summit Lodge in Whistler. Together We Can finds inspiration from Terrance's tireless efforts as he continues to find support for first-responders who suffer in silence due to stigma and lack of resources.
***The relationships that were forged in Whistler have already made a difference. Thanks so much to Summit Lodge, Mongolie Grill Whistler, Whistler-Blackcomb and the Scandanave Spa for supporting ELEVATE – Gala on Sunday March 5th. Your gifts for our Live auction were amazing!!! Someone got themselves an amzing weekend away. Thanks again.
“We should not have to prove our PTSD happened at work. We are first responders and we take the trauma home with us daily. It affects not only us, but our families and our friends. It is unacceptable and our provincial government needs to make changes.” – Terrance Kosikar