Village of Hope Stories – Jenna


“Addiction is not a one-person thing; it ripples out to everyone around that person. I am very, very passionate about the work I do here because it really hits home for me.”

A family member’s struggle with addiction was something that drew me to work at Dave Smith. We’re dealing with youth, so if we can, in a sense, address those challenges at the beginning maybe it won’t be something that shapes their entire life. That was something I really wanted to be a part of.

One of my favourite parts of this job is the beginning – that very first day clients walk in – because I know the feeling of being a family member walking into a treatment centre to drop someone off. I also know the feeling of picking them up at the end of their treatment, the excitement and just feeling so proud of your loved one. I can really relate to it.

As an Addictions Counselor at the Centre, I pretty much spend 24/7 with clients, which is nice. We get them up out of bed, we run groups with them, we say good night to them – we’re really there. We see them at their best, and we see them at their worst. It’s challenging, and keeps me on my toes. I worked overnights for the first few years before switching to days, and it’s nice to get to know them a little bit more because I’m now seeing them during their waking hours.

A live-in treatment facility that serves youth is a rare thing. I think our clinical director said it best: You’re throwing a group of teenagers together in a house and taking away their only form of coping – which to them, would be substances. I always try to remember that when we have new clients coming in and they are struggling, they are here because they have very poor knowledge of healthy coping skills.

As Addictions Counselors, we hold our clients accountable for the goals they create with their therapists. That might be anything from graduating high school to waking up on time in the morning and other basic life goals. The fantastic thing about Dave Smith is the three months of follow-up outpatient care available to all our clients. The Aftercare Counselors are also there to hold clients accountable, review their relapse prevention plans and talk through potentially high-risk scenarios. It’s a team effort.

I really do love my job. I don’t know if there’s one word I can use to sum up what the Centre means to me. It’s not only about helping the clients – but also everyone around them. Addiction is not a one-person thing; it ripples out to everyone around that person. I am very, very passionate about the work I do here because it really hits home for me.

I just think that the work we do here is absolutely phenomenal. As someone who has a family history of addiction, I know what it’s like. The feeling of hopelessness, the feeling of loss, the feeling of nothing is going to change, right? But then it does. And it’s like the best feeling in the whole world. The growth we usually see in our clients is just astronomical, and it’s so rewarding to be a part of that journey.

Jenna is an Addictions Counselor at the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre.


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


112 Willowlea Road,
Carp, Ontario K0A 1L0
613-594-8333 ext.1201
Charitable Registration # 88992 6242 RR0001