Donna Jones, who was born and raised in the Cowichan Valley, is the executive director of the documentary ‘Bobbi Jo: Under the Influence’. (Submitted)

Donna Jones, who was born and raised in the Cowichan Valley, is the executive director of the documentary ‘Bobbi Jo: Under the Influence’. (Submitted)

Producer from Cowichan Valley proud of new documentary that offers hope to those with addictions

Donna Jones and husband Brent just released Bobbi Jo: Under the Influence

No matter how bad your life may have gotten, you are not alone and there’s always hope you can get back on track, says Donna Jones.

It’s a lesson that Jones learned from Bobbi Jo Reed, the founder of Healing House in Kansas City who has rescued thousand of people with addictions from the streets since the non-profit organization opened its doors in 2003.

Jones, who was born and raised in Duncan, is the executive producer of a new feature-length documentary called Bobbi Jo: Under the Influence that she developed with her husband Brent, a film maker and director with whom she formed Gold Room Films with the intention of creating socially impactful films.

The documentary is the couple’s first feature film collaboration.

Before Reed began her mission to help others, she first had to help herself, a description of the film reveals.

After a middle class upbringing, Reed turned to drinking and drugs at a young age, and soon after, her life spiralled out of control.

Addiction led to abuse, prostitution, and homelessness.

But when she hit rock bottom, Reed had a spiritual awakening, and with newfound strength, she was lifted out of her personal hell.

That strength gave her the courage to return to the streets to help others.

Jones’s powerful documentary follows Reed into and out of her experiences on the streets, celebrates her recovery, and shows how she is using both of those experiences to serve the more than 8,000 individuals who now call her “Mom”.

Jones, who helped open one of the first Lululemon stores in the U.S. and was the project manager of the construction of the Saddle Ranch Chop House at Universal Studios before she and Brent started Gold Room Films, said when you are with Reed and immersed in her community, you quickly get the feeling that you are simply not doing enough to give back.

“Bobbi Jo has been giving her life to her community 24/7 for 18 years, but she is not just helping people get sober,” Jones said.

“She is literally building an army for good. She’s creating a groundswell of positivity through faith, hope, and love. Every person that Bobbi Jo helps gives it right back. That spirit of helping and giving is infectious.”

Jones said she, Brent and the rest of the film crew spent 40 days with Reed, her helpers and clients and were amazed at what she has accomplished.

“Bobbi Jo is an absolute joy to work with,” she said.

“She doesn’t slow down for anyone and we had to work hard just to keep up with her. She is obsessed with helping and serving people in her community non-stop. We are so grateful that she entrusted us with her story.”

Jones said Reed offers lessons that can be helpful in the Cowichan Valley which, along with many other communities on the Island and beyond, is experiencing its own drug and homelessness crisis.

“I think every community needs a Bobby Jo,” said Jones, who has been coming to the Cowichan Valley regularly to visit her father in Maple Bay for years.

“There really is power in openly sharing your experiences, as Bobbi Jo does, and encouraging others to talk about the deepest, darkest parts of their lives. The message will reach people, like drug addicts, who believe that no one has it as bad as they do. There is power in knowing there are others like you, and that you can reach out and share with them.”

Jones said there is strength in numbers, and sharing with those with similar experiences provides inner strength and provides hope that a better life can lie ahead.

“If there is one thing that Bobbi Jo has taught me is that there is hope for everyone, and everyone is worthy of it,” she said.

Bobbi Jo: Under the Influence is available now on-demand and all major platforms, including iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Arts and Entertainment

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Shore RCMP arrested a 42-year-old man April 11 following numerous reports of someone firing a rifle in a Malahat campground. (Courtesy of West Shore RCMP)
West Shore RCMP arrest man after shots fired at Malahat campground

Police received numerous reports of a man firing a rifle outside his camper trailer

Dave Kral, owner of the Cobblestone Inn in Cobble Hill, and his staff are frustrated with the new health restrictions banning indoor dining at restaurants in B.C. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Cowichan Valley restaurants try to survive with new restrictions

Dining rooms ordered to close for three weeks as COVID-19 cases surge

The City of Duncan has begun the process to prepare a new transportation plan. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Duncan gets on board with transportation plan

But high cost raises concerns

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

In Ontario, COVID-19 vaccine clinics have been set up at local mosques. (Submitted photo: Rufaida Mohammed)
Getting the vaccine does not break your fast, says Muslim COVID-19 task force

Muslim community ‘strongly’ encouraging people to get their shot, whether or not during Ramadan

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Police: mental health crisis likely in car driven through Saanich Walmart wall

Man in his early 20s drove through a parkade wall, no serious injuries reported

A plane is seen through the window on the tarmac of Vancouver International Airport as the waiting room is empty. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
100+ international travellers who landed in B.C. refused to quarantine

The Public Health Agency of Canada says it issued $3,000 violation tickets to each

A health-care worker holds up a vial of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Montreal, Thursday, March 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
PHAC receives first report of blood clot linked to AstraZeneca

The federal agency says the person is now recovering at home

The Campbell River Gun Club outdoor range is located on Argonaut Road west of Campbell River. CRGC/Facebook photo
Campbell River Gun Club range shut down after complaints of stray bullets

Neighbour says bullets hit caretaker’s RV and shattered a glass panel on his deck

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve’s Green Point Campground saw an unprecedented flurry of reservations last week. (Pacific Rim National Park Reserve photo)
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve campground sees ‘unprecedented’ interest

Reservations being accepted as Green Point Campground scheduled to open May 1

Restaurant owners Oura and Kymon Giakoumakis visit the PQB News/VI Free Daily studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PODCAST: COVID-19 pandemic hits Island’s food service industry hard

Pair of Vancouver Island restaurant owners share thoughts and advice

A real estate sign is pictured in Vancouver, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward
1 in 3 young Canadians have given up on owning a home: poll

Data released Monday says 36% of adults younger than 40 have given up on home ownership entirely

Most Read