Kelowna mother shares necessity of youth treatment centre

Kimberly Christianson is speaking up after she lost her daughter to an overdose

A Kelowna mother is sharing her story in order to raise awareness on how great the need is for a youth recovery centre in the Okanagan.

Kimberly Christianson lost her daughter Chelsea to an overdose. She said her daughter passed away while she was waiting to get into a treatment centre three and a half years ago.

“I strongly believe in this centre, especially for youth. I think youth need specialized treatment,” she said.

“They need people who understand how to speak to youth and how to get to the core issues and not just focus on the drug use, but what led to the drug use.”

Now, Christianson is sharing her story through The Bridge Youth and Family Services in the hopes it will resonate within the community and encourage more people to get behind the non-profit’s project.

“Supporting our youth is so important. We need to show youth that they’re valued and cared for.”

“Early intervention is what we need to prevent future issues, to prevent these long-term consequences of untreated illness,” she added.

The Bridge’s executive director Celine Thompson said they’re nearly finished with Phase 1 of the project and they’re hoping that they can open the recovery house’s doors within a year.

The treatment centre will be a six-bed facility for young people under the age of 19.

“We’ve had such incredible support from the community. Our quest now is really two things: one is money. We need the funds to be able to open the doors,” Thompson said.

“The other thing is we really need our partners to spread awareness. When people know about the story and know how compelling it is, it builds strong community support.”

The Bridge Youth and Family Services has opened four new youth detox beds in Kelowna, for people under the age of 18.

The project started two short years ago but with overdose deaths continually increasing, the treatment centre can’t come fast enough, Thompson said.

“There’s an incredible degree of risk in this community for our young people. We’re losing many people to overdose and even for those who don’t pass away, the struggles that they’re going through are profound,” she said.

“Without a live-in treatment centre that has that specialist skill, they’re either getting lost on our streets or we’re sending them away outside of this community to get their health needs met.”

Christianson said she hopes more members of the Central Okanagan community gets behind the project.

“I don’t want other families and youth to go through what we went through and for youth to not have the opportunity to get better,” she said.

“My daughter Chelsea passed away on the waitlist. She wanted help and it just wasn’t available to her so she never got the chance, but I want other young people to have that chance to heal.”

For more information on the Bridge’s youth recovery house project and to donate, visit youthrecoveryhouse.ca.

READ: Kelowna myaor joins fundraiser for youth addiction treatment


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

Addictions treatmentstreet drugs

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(File photo)
Alberta woman facing assault charge after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Shuswap campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

A Shuswap couple reported having fallen victim to a family emergency telephone scam. (File image)
Shuswap couple fall victim to family emergency scam

Person claiming to be couple’s son said he was injured and in jail

Coordinator of the Secwepemc Landmark and Trail Sign Project, Libby Jay Chisholm, holds the draft designs of Eric Kutschker, Rod Tomma and Tilkotmes Tomma. (Jacob Sutra Brett photo)
Grant sought for Secwepemc Landmark Project

Project involves creation of landmarks pointing out locations of historical importance

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Report of gunfire leads RCMP to men barricaded in North Shuswap home

Chase RCMP said investigation related to firearms offences is ongoing

Onlookers watch the CP Rail Holiday Train pull into Sicamous in 2019. (File Photo)
Shuswap food banks will benefit from online Holiday Train show

Concert will play live on CP Rail’s Facebook page on Dec. 12

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
B.C. mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

B.C. projects targeting the restoration of sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser and Columbia Watersheds will share in $10.9 million of federal funding to protect species at risk. (Kenny Regan photo)
13 projects protecting B.C. aquatic species at risk receive $11 million in federal funding

Salmon and marine mammals expected to benefit from ecosystem-based approach

The Vernon Aquatic Centre will be closed for its annual three-week maintenance period from Aug. 26 to Sept. 16. (City of Vernon - photo)
Chlorine leak closes North Okanagan pool

18 swimmers evacuated, pool opens shortly after

Barrels pictured outside Oliver winery, Quinta Ferreira, in May. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
B.C. Master of Wine reflects on industry’s teetering economic state

Pandemic, for some wine makers, has been a blessing in disguise. For others, not so much.

A fentanyl test strip is used at Vancouver Coastal Health in Vancouver, Tuesday, January, 21, 2020. The test strips will be made available to drug users to ensure that their drugs are safe and free of Fentanyl. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Drug overdoses lead to 5 deaths each day in October; drug toxicity continues to increase

COVID-19 crisis continues to exacerbate the overdose crisis

The Vernon Public Art Gallery is looking to the community to support its programming, which VantageOne Credit Union is matching for Giving Tuesday. (VPAG image)
Vernon art gallery gets a boost for Giving Tuesday

VantageOne Credit Union matching donations

Most Read