Recovering addicts seek both volunteer and paid work

It’s common to find organizations seeking volunteers, but things are the other way around at Lake Cowichan’s Teen Challenge faith-based residential program.

Hired by local man Norm de Wit

It’s common to find organizations seeking volunteers, but things are the other way around at Lake Cowichan’s Teen Challenge faith-based residential program.

Now in its second year of operation, six recovering addicts are seeking a means of giving back to the community.

“That’s really our heart. We don’t want to just be takers,” program director Andy Peters said, adding that the six participants are open to doing any kind of general labour. “We’re not all about taking. We want to be a blessing to this community.”

They’ve also had some skilled participants available for doing plumbing, gas fitting,  mechanical and carpenter work.

“It all depends on who we have,” Peters said. “These guys are great in the kitchen.”

The Teen Challenge faith-based 12-month addictions program for young adults started up last year at the previously vacant Sylvan Acres Bible Camp, north of Lake Cowichan. Its participants range in age from 19 to 55.

“God really is the only one that can set these people true,” Peters said.

Its participants come from across Canada, and in some cases have come from even further.

Should someone from the Cowichan Lake area choose to take part in the program, it may be more beneficial for them to participate at one of Canada’s many other Teen Challenge camps, for a necessary change of scenery, Peters suggested.

Although its participants are open to volunteer work, they’re also looking to raise some funds.

Its participants pay a $1,000 entrance fee to take part in the program; a small percentage of total costs associated with each participant.

“It gives them a  little bit of ownership,” Peters said.

The remainder comes through donations from people, as payment for participants’ work.

“A lot of these guys have never worked a job,” Peters said.

Teen Challenge also takes in old vehicles, which its members fix up and re-sell, or scrap.

A large scale grand opening will take place October 1, during which time the public will be able to drop by the camp to learn more about it.

Participants will share their life stories during the event, as well as speak to the importance of Teen Challenge.

The Gazette will print more information on this grand opening as it approaches.

For more information on the local Teen Challenge group, and how to help out, Peters can be contacted at 250-732-6145.