Thorpe to safeguard kids

By Geoff Lee

January 31, 2018 1:29 PM

An envelope held by Sara Fox, left, business development assistant with the Thorpe Recovery Centre in Blackfoot, and Kathy Smithson secretary of the Lions Club of Lloydminster, contains a $600 cheque donation from the Lions on Wednesday to help fund new Children’s Programs to help youth cope with disease of addiction. GEOFF LEE LLS PHOTO

The Thorpe Recovery Centre has secured funding to run a new round of educational programs in 2018 for children affected by a loved one’s addiction.
Funding from Family Community and Support Services in Lloydminster, Kitscoty, the County of Vermilion River, and private and corporations donations have poured in since the first Children’s program last November.
“It was phenomenal—we had an amazing response and now we’re going to run it again,” said Sara Fox Thorpe’s business development assistant.
“‘It really helps the whole family with healing and it’s on the prevention side too.”
The program aims to equip children aged seven to 12 with the skills to develop healthy coping mechanisms to the disease of addiction, and express their emotions in a safe environment.
Each workshop can have a maximum of 10 kids along with an adult each child can rely on to help them with their own recovery.
“The adult could be a parent in recovery,” said Fox.
“They do just need to be sober for a minimum of 30 days before attending the program.”
Three-day sessions will run Feb. 23-25, March 25-27, Aug. 24-26 and Nov. 23-25 thanks to generous donations.
“There has been an overwhelming response from the community, so it’s been fantastic,” said Fox.
The program just received a donation of $600 from the Lions Club, bringing the total close to $40,000 for the year.
The program uses art, games and stories to teach kids about the nature of addiction and how to release shame and self blame among other skills.
“It’s more of an education workshop; it’s kind of therapeutic but not therapy,” said Fox.
“If you have a problem you actually get to talk about it knowing there is a safe place to do it.”
Through the program, children will be able to feel heard and regain their confidence.
They will learn everything from the effects of addiction on family relationships and identifying and expressing feelings in healthy ways, to having fun in a safe and supportive atmosphere.
In the first workshop in 2017, each child was asked to draw a picture of their self before and after the program.
“One girl drew a “Feelings Bucket” so before the program it was overflowing; she didn’t know how to control her feelings and after the program, her feelings bucket was empty,” said Fox.
The Children’s Program got rolling in December 2016 when a private foundation wanted to support a program that would benefit children while honouring Greg and Laurie Hnatuk, who have both made significant contributions to Lloydminster.
Fox said as soon as the Thorpe Centre released news of the first Children’s Program, the money just started rolling in, along with some grant applications.
“To be honest, when you involve kids, people are really generous,” said Fox.
Addiction is a disease that impacts the entire family dynamic including finances, relationships, and most importantly, the development of children.
“Kids who are exposed to addictive behaviours and addictive homes are eight times more likely to develop an addiction themselves,” said Fox.

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