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News (Media Awareness Project) - CN SN: Leading The Way In Youth Treatment
Title:CN SN: Leading The Way In Youth Treatment
Published On:2012-01-25
Source:Regina Leader-Post (CN SN)
Fetched On:2012-01-27 06:03:23

Leading Thunderbird Lodge the youth treatment centre, in Fort
Qu'Appelle, has been changing lives.

The centre opened its doors in 2007, the goal was to focus on
spirituality and culture.

It has evolved over the years, but culture has remained a key component.

Michael Tyance, a former client of the centre, is happy such a place exists.

Originally from Thunder Bay, Ont., the now 20-year-old took a chance
and travelled to Saskatchewan to seek treatment for his addictions.

On Oct 12, 2009, Tyance walked through the doors of the centre and
says it was "best decision I ever made."

Although he was only 16, his life was already in a downward spiral
addicted to drugs, living on the streets and in trouble with the law.

"I started smoking marijuana at 14 and was addicted to pills by age
16," said Tyance. "I committed crimes to help fuel my habit and had
legal problems."

That's when he heard about an aboriginal youth treatment centre in
Fort San and agreed to treatment.

He admitted that it was hard at first but eventually came to love his
time at the centre.

"There were two main things that I already liked about it," said
Tyance. "One was the cultural program that they had and the other was
the horse program with Twisted Wire Ranch that I really liked."

It was the first time he had participated in cultural activities or
seen a horse.

Tyance said the staff at the centre was great and with the centre's
programs and support of others he was able to turn his life around.

For 12 weeks, clients participate in cultural, spiritual, clinical and
educational programs. Originally, it took both female and male clients
but now focuses on males between the ages of 12 and 17.

"I took a chance and never looked back," said Tyance. "I love my life now."

He not only completed the 12-week program, but went on to graduate
high school, took up bronco riding and is a Twisted Wire Ranch employee.

"I work hard for what I have," said Tyance.

He plans on taking up a trade such as welding within the next couple of years.

Tyance said his family in Thunder Bay are happy with his successes and
are proud of what he has accomplished.

If it weren't for the centre he believes he would still be living on
the streets of Thunder Bay.

Karen Main, executive director of the lodge said success stories like
Tyance are the most rewarding.

On average, about 60-to 75-percent of clients graduate. She estimates
about 200 youths have received treatment.
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