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Peak House is a suitable treatment option for youth with the willingness to get back on track with their lives, but whose challenges overextend the resources of their family and local treatment professionals.

We offer a voluntary, ten-week, live-in, treatment program for youth in British Columbia experiencing problems with drugs, including alcohol. Our program is located in Vancouver, operated by Pacific Youth and Family Services Society, and funded by Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.

The first two weeks of the program, referred to as the Assessment Phase, are designed to provide a safe, less intensive environment where youth and staff can assess the youth’s readiness to participate fully in the highly structured, intensive, eight-week treatment and aftercare phase. After the assessment phase, a therapeutic plan is developed to outline treatment goals and a welcoming ceremony is held.

Peak House does not offer detox services — as such, we ask that clients abstain from substance use for a minimum of seven days prior to entering the program.

We are accountable to clients, and with one another, for inclusive practices regarding gender/gender expression, race, sexuality, culture, abilities or social class.

Our Treatment Approach

While we do not think that any one model, theory, or framework holds a monopoly on what is effective for youth struggling against the problem of substance misuse, we make the assumption that all young people would like to become more the authors of their own lives. Furthermore, we assume that young people are able to do so because of the knowledge they have in regards to healing patterns and solution wisdoms that work for them.

We believe that youth are all capable of rediscovering and remembering stories about their lives that challenge or contradict the story that they have defective identities. We think of our work within the context of collaboration. We collaborate with clients in opening space for the discovery of new stories; stories that no longer support oppressive descriptions of the person. Our re-authoring therapy considers young people as distinct from the problem.

A collaborative approach to co-authoring and maintaining changes often requires information from not only the young person, but family, friends and others. Old patterns and the stories that support these habits need to be identified and taken apart. Our intention is to seek an understanding of the real effects of substance misuse in the life of the young person, and to further understand how the young person and family members are combating the problem.

Program Components

Peak House has a series of groups and activities intentionally designed to support youth in finding new ways of being, reconnecting to or finding new interests and points of connection with others, and working to address the factors that contribute to substance misuse.

Some of these groups and programs include:

  • Individual and group counselling
  • Academic and arts-based education
  • Nature exploration
  • Fitness exploration
  • Art and music
  • Community outings
  • Guest speakers
  • Elder visits to do Indigenous connection
  • PADS visits
  • Holistic wellness practices and education
  • Life-skills
  • Relapse prevention
  • Aftercare planning

School Program

Our school program is run by a full-time resource teacher employed by the Vancouver Board of Education; the youth attend school four mornings a week for two hours.

The teacher supports the youth to develop their own plan for their education while they are at Peak House. The teacher can provide opportunities for the young person to re-engage in school and learning through a variety of activities that develop positive personal, social, and cultural awareness through art (visual, music, creative writing, etc.). Other educational activities include job skills, resume building, trades & employment certifications (WHMIS, CSTS, etc.), self-assessments to explore learning styles and passions, and explore career/employment and post-secondary options based on the youth’s strengths and interests. Youth also have the opportunity to continue with their current school courses and receive one-on-one support in any academic subject.

Young people can also earn credits for graduation (PE, Art, Career Life Ed, and others) from elements of programming at Peak House such as fitness, creative expression, Healthy Tuesdays, therapeutic work, and aftercare planning.

The youth attend school four mornings a week for two hours (9:00am to 11:00am) and on the fifth day, there is an afternoon art class which is typically a field trip to various places in the Vancouver community, including, the Sarah McLachlan School of Music, photography walks to local parks or the Vancouver Seawall, African Djembe drumming, visits to local museums and art galleries or tours of local post-secondary institutions to learn about specific programs (BCIT, VCC, etc.).

Youth attending Peak House remain registered as a student in their home school district. Guardian consent is obtained in the referral package and is required for the resource teacher at Peak House to communicate with the home school and district. The teacher works closely with the team at Peak House and the home school to support the youth’s transition back to school. To support the transition, an educational report can be developed by the teacher and sent to the home school when the youth leaves Peak House. This document is reviewed by the youth and/or guardian. The educational summary and recommendations made in the report provide a foundation for the student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Student Learning Plan (SLP) at their home school.

Summer Life Skills Program

During regular summer school closure dates, Peak House transitions to our Summer Life Skills Program. All other components of our program operate as usual but, instead of attending school, youth participate in scheduled life-skills development workshops, outings and presentations.

Examples of some of our past life skills building activities include:

  • Budgeting and financial planning
  • Auto maintenance
  • Employment and resumé skills
  • Preparing for your driver’s license
  • Meal planning and shopping on a limited budget

This is a fun time to be at Peak House — in addition to life skills we also do a number of fun recreational outings. Some of our past outings have included camping, wildlife conservation parks, water slides, local amusement parks, rock climbing, museums and art galleries, Aboriginal education through medicinal nature walks, presentations and Pow Wows.

Each summer is a little bit different. We try to incorporate suggestions for topics and activities from the youth in the program so we can best suit their needs.