Village of Hope Stories – Asha


“Everything felt hopeless. It wasn’t until I got to the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre that things changed for me.”

When I was 18 years old, I was in a really bad place. I was seeing a substance use counsellor at the Royal Ottawa and they were trying to convince me to go to the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre (DSYTC). But despite being tired of living the way I was, I wasn’t willing to go because I wasn’t ready to change.

I only agreed to go once my Mom, who is still my best friend, insisted. She told me if I didn’t go, I’d have to find somewhere else to live. Despite my initial fear and unwillingness to go, I’m glad I did.

For four months, I had individual and group therapy sessions, learned about coping mechanisms, how to resolve conflict and SMART recovery. I took Zumba classes, went to the gym and participated in many other activities. I also took math and chemistry classes to bring my grades up. I ended up staying an extra month because I didn’t feel ready to leave yet. But once I graduated, I wasn’t alone. Laura Hewitt helped me. She was great. We met once a week and she was always there for me. She even bought me and my family presents at Christmas. I really want to thank her.

I’ve wanted to study science since I was a kid. But when I was in active addiction, I didn’t think it was possible. Everything felt hopeless. It wasn’t until I got to the DSYTC that things changed for me. When I left there, I worked hard to make a new life for myself and my mental and physical health really improved.

Today, life is very different. I have just graduated with a Bachelor of Health Sciences from the University of Ottawa. And I will be applying to medical school next year. I have a job and I volunteer at the children’s hospital and at a long-term care home. It all feels really good even if sometimes a little overwhelming. It has been seven years since my stay at Dave Smith which seems crazy. But now I’m looking forward to and excited for the future.

Asha is an alumnus of the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre.


There’s been a lot of progress made on the new build!


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Carp, Ontario K0A 1L0
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