The Starlight House, which is part of the Prairie Sky Recovery Centre Inc., held its grand opening on October 19. The 3000 square foot house was built in 1917 in Leipzig, Saskatchewan, and was recently renovated to house female clients in a safe, secure home all their own. The space was developed into four shared rooms of two beds each, one staff room, one single room and one dedicated family room for children visitation. There is also a facilitation space for the female clients to work on programs built specifically to address issues many of the female clients have faced, such as Intimate Partner Violence, Sexual Abuse, Parenting in Recovery, Financial Literacy, Healthy Boundaries and Anger Management. These are often 12 step programs.  

Over the last 14 years, Prairie Sky Recovery has helped many female clients who have been victims of domestic violence and abuse. Many of the female clients have also lost custody of their children through active addiction.  For some, addiction has been a generational curse and have never had the benefit of a healthy loving home or a safe environment to grow. It is their intention to provide such a space. 

The grand opening featured the updates they did to the facility. We talked to Jacqueline Hoffman, the Chief Executive Officer of Prairie Sky Recovery, and she explained the updates they made. 

“We have made many updates to both the Centre and the programs,” Hoffman said. “Most recently, we opened Starlight House- a separate women’s residence, as well as creating a gym, remodeling bathrooms, replacing the heating system, etc. We have built 12 additional programs- the newest programs being Problem Gambling & Cultural Perspectives.” 

This space will operate differently than the main residence- which will now host all of their male clients. Traditionally, the main residence provides housekeeping and kitchen staff to serve our clients. Starlight House will be operated as more of a regular home where the clients will be scheduled for duties such as meal planning, shopping, prep and cooking. They will also be scheduled for housekeeping – which will all be overseen by a Residential Recovery Coach (RRC). It is their intention that clients are empowered to know how to properly run and maintain a household so that they can provide a safe, healthy, clean environment for their own families upon their return.   

Family Reunification is a big element of this house. It is their intention to host supervised weekend visits between our clients and their children. Often, return of the children after having a period of separation can be scary for both mom and kids. This allows the client to have support and time to get reacquainted with their kids while in early sobriety.  The family room will be outfitted with bunk beds, a single bed and a playpen for smaller children. It is their intention that the children will have a safe, comfortable environment to come to while mom is still in treatment. 

A total of 22 staff are currently at the Starlight House, and staffing includes a full time registered social worker to support case planning for family reunification, long term housing and working in conjunction will legal and/or child and family services.   

randy weekes photo via Ken Francis on FacebookLocal MLAs were in attendance including Ken Francis, Ryan Domotor, and Speaker Hon. Randy Weekes (Photo via Ken Francis on Facebook)

As noted above, local MLAs Ken Francis, Ryan Domotor and the Hon. Randy Weekes were in attendance. The Speaker of the House Weekes brought greetings on behalf of the government and spoke to West Central Online in an interview afterwards.

"It was a great event. (Prairie Sky) has helped so many people," began Weekes, "With the opening of this residential building for women only, the men will be in the other facility. They will come together for joint programming and everything, but they will live separately so that's a big improvement for everyone involved."

Having three West Central MLAs in attendance was a given for such an important service in the area, but Weekes did not want to dwell on the fact that places like Prairie Sky specifically help people from all over the place.

"They have clients from all over Western Canada," said Weekes. 

There was no way Weekes was going to miss this event, after building a personal connection with the local recovery centre over the years. He shared that story.

"It's a great program. My wife and I brought a young woman named Desiree, that we basically consider family. We helped her when she got pregnant (at a young age) and she had a little boy, about 9 years ago. We consider him our grandson. So, she has gone through difficult times with drugs and all sorts of issues that comes with that."

Bringing Desiree back for the recent grand opening was an amazing experience, after she checked out of the rehabilitation centre approximately a year ago.

"She's turned her life around. Since then, she had a baby, and we brought the baby with us. I introduced her as well, and people were really happy to see Des at the function. She knows all the staff, and some of the clients."

Weekes' guest actually had a connection to one of the featured speakers on the day in Starlight - another graduate and transitional client of Prairie Sky. Weekes then went into some more of his experience as a visitor.

"There is one other young guy from Biggar that went through all sorts of problems. He was a client there as well, before Prairie Sky took it over. We know the facility well, and there is such a need for that type of facility for those people that have a drug addiction, or other life problems," said Weekes as many people from Prairie Sky past and present were in attendance, "Been out there many times with the young guy, and Desiree of course. Had many tours of the building while they were renovating. They took it over with major renos that had to be done, and it's just amazing what they have managed to do with the facility."

Prairie Sky Recovery services have helped countless people over the years, and the newest move places a major emphasis on prioritizing their male and female clients more than ever.