The Movement 29 Years Strong
How does one sum up Fresh Start’s impact on the Recovery Community over 29 years in a few short paragraphs? The simple answer is you can’t.
A Fresh Start is not a place. It’s a Movement.
A Movement made up of so many dedicated Board Members, Employees, Alumni, Residents, Community Partners, Donors, and of course, the community in Alberta that has embraced this Movement and has helped it thrive. When a person first walks into Fresh Start, they see the world-class facility that includes a gymnasium, weight room, and theatre, but those are not reflections of the humble beginnings of this Movement. Stories of the Abbeydale facility that housed 23 men from where we moved in 2012, back to the founders Tom and Carol Berthelotte starting in their home in Inglewood and then moving into the St. Mary’s Centre back in 1992 bring smiles when they are shared.
What makes the Fresh Start Movement is the people behind it all. Without all of the amazing people in Calgary and Lethbridge and those that came before, there would be empty buildings. For example, the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous in the chapter working with others on page 89, states: “Life will take on new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends—this is an experience you must not miss.” It is this experience that one takes home after witnessing the Fresh Start Movement firsthand.
Shortly before our 28th anniversary, we acquired our second location in Lethbridge, Alberta. Again, the atmosphere is electric, and the amazing staff have embraced the culture, and so quickly, our family has grown. The Alumni have also combined to build stronger relationships, increasing our ambassadors’ front line back in the community. With the shift to virtual, it has been much easier to tune into the celebrations together, showing solidarity across Southern Alberta.
Over the past year, we have seen so much change, continuing to trudge in the new normal of masking, physical distancing and only a few moments actually to engage; things have been very different. They say the opposite of addiction is connection, which we have not experienced enough of. So we were very grateful to have been able to have an in-person Stampede Barbecue and our 12 Stop Ride For Recovery Motorcycle Road Rally in August. It was overwhelming to finally see some of the supporters after so much time apart.
After 17 years and so many wonderful memories, Stacey Petersen decided to leave the organization and left it in the capable hands of our interim Executive Director Bruce Holstead and Jennifer Kent-Charpentier, who has moved into the interim Director of Operations role. Both of whom have an amazing vision of what the future holds for Fresh Start. Former Olympian Rod Garossino has joined us in our Director of Funds Development role. The transition has been wonderful, with Wayne Steer handing over the reins in his preparation to move east. Our National Director of Communications, Lisa Simone, has decided to focus on her passion for building a Recovery Community in beautiful Chippawa, Ontario. Robby Sidhu has taken over the Communications and Recovery Advocacy for Fresh Start. We are so grateful to have shared their journeys and wish them continued success in the next chapter of their story. We are extremely excited to see the development of our Movement under the new Directors.
We want to thank everyone who has impacted Fresh Start over the last 29 years, and we hope that all of you will continue to be a part of our Family and the Movement for the years to come. We continue this work in the memory of those we have lost, the ones who have not made it here yet and the ones that carry this Movement in their hearts everywhere they go.
Top 10 Impact Charity
We will close by announcing that Charity Intelligence has selected fresh Start as a top 10 Canadian impact Charity. We are honoured to announce this on the same day as our 29th anniversary. We have also been selected as one of the Top 5 Calgary Charities. Most charities claim that they “make a difference” in the lives of those they work with. Charity Intelligence’s rigorous analysis measures the difference, or the impact, charities make to see how each dollar we give can create the most positive change.
“Some charities create a lot of change with the donations given to them. Others have almost nothing to show for the money coming from donors,” says Greg Thomson, Director of Research at Charity Intelligence. “Of the 300 Canadian charities we have analyzed for impact, these Top 10 have the highest measurable demonstrated impact. Our calculations estimate this group of Top 10 Impact Charities delivers average returns of almost 7 dollars for every dollar donated, compared with overall average returns of only 1-2 dollars.”
2021 Top 10 Impact Charities cover frontline charities providing social services in Canada and international programs. These charities bring evidence-based programs to developing countries, like clean water and education, producing a high impact per dollar. Because of this, six of this year’s Top 10 Impact Charities work overseas in developing countries.
Read more here: Top 10 Impact Charities of 2021 – Charity Intelligence Canada