NORTH OKANAGAN – The Round Lake Treatment Centre first opened on the shore of Round Lake between Vernon and Falkland in 1979; it has been quietly helping addicts for 35 years.
It all started with an idea from an Okanagan Nation member who believed in a treatment centre for First Nations.
“If we created a treatment centre that had First Nations healing First Nations, we’d be more successful,” says board member Allan Louis.
When it first opened its doors the centre was unique.
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Executive Director Marlene Isaac says it was the first its kind in Western Canada: a treatment centre run by First Nations for First Nations.
Although most clients here are of First Nations descent, you don’t need to be aboriginal to seek treatment at the centre.
“Our success rates [are] so high because our counsellors are First Nations. Most of them have had addictions problems before so when the clients come here they know that they’re are talking with somebody that has actually walked the walk,” says Louis.
Consellor Juanita Joe is one of the centre’s success stories. She first came to the centre battling alcohol addiction.
“The modality of Round Lake Treatment Centre is culture is treatment and for me that was a big part of my acknowledgment of my healing,” says Joe who is now five years sober.
The centre is celebrating its anniversary this weekend.
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