Like many local organizations and not-for-profits in 2020, Langley’s Wagner Hills is working to stay connected with their community at a time when in-person events are difficult.
The faith-based addiction recovery centre for men and women typically host events like a large golf fundraiser, community dinners and a Christmas banquet – events that both raise valuable funds and build connections with donors and supporters. All are on pause because of COVID protocols.
It’s also what makes their annual fall campaign even more vital.
With a goal of reaching $400,000, with matching funds, “that really carries us through operating and some of the essential equipment needs we have,” says CEO Jason Roberts.
While the actual cost of the residential program is about $100 per day for room, board, counselling and programs, many who are otherwise ready and keen to enter recovery would be prohibited without the support of generous donors, he notes.
Part of a working farm, Wagner Hills participants work on the farm and in the workshop creating beautiful products and giftware that are sold at The Market, open to shoppers for on-site or online. They also participate in counselling, classes, worship services and other supportive programming.
“The program is a year long, but often we’ll have the men and women staying on and going to university or trade school; that’s been a really successful part of our program,” Roberts says, pointing to one who recently graduated flight school and another who become a paramedic and is now Wagner Hills’ safety officer.
All participants who need it also earn their high school diploma, adds Roberts, himself a graduate of the successful program.
“I went through Wagner Hills myself about 25 years ago and came back about 10 years ago to run it,” he says.
“It’s much more than just recovery; it’s about getting a solid foundation, and then beginning around the nine-month mark, making a plan for what will happen at a year.”
Beyond inspiring their fellow program participants, “this is what really inspires our donors as well,” Jason says.
Key to Wagner Hills’ success is their approach – participants are expected to work, as well as do their studies and recovery program, building resources and resiliency.
“There’s a real understanding that it’s a privilege to be in this program, not a right.”
Like most facilities, COVID made it essential to tighten up family visits and safety protocols, which presented an additional challenge for the staff and participants.
It also makes it more difficult to connect with their community.
“We are missing all of these things that give us an opportunity to get out into the community, share what we do and keep people’s hearts really attuned to the need,” Roberts says, noting that prayers are welcomed and encouraged during this challenging time.