Hope in Action

September 2020


The pandemic has added a whole new layer of anxiety for parents with teenagers who are struggling with substance abuse or addiction. In this issue, learn how our Youth Addictions Services (YAS) staff have developed new tools to help parents cope. Then, read about the special communications we’re planning to recognize our monthly donors, whose ongoing commitment makes programs like YAS possible.

However you choose to support Ray of Hope — whether it’s through your prayers, your time, or financially — we are so grateful. Thank you!

Helping parents navigate addiction during COVID-19

When youth struggle with addiction, their families struggle too. Parents are often frustrated by their child’s situation and the defiant behaviour that can accompany substance abuse and addiction.

The pandemic has made the situation even worse. Young people are still acting out but their parents may not have access to their usual supports. That’s why staff in Ray of Hope’s Youth Addiction Services (YAS) have developed new online initiatives to help parents cope.

Before the pandemic, YAS provided counselling for both individual parents and couples, as well as a weekly parent support group. COVID-19 closed these programs in March, but within weeks of the shutdown, YAS was offering services for parents via Zoom. During the summer, staff also hosted a series of online workshops.

“Initially, however, some parents indicated that they weren’t really comfortable with Zoom,” says YAS Program Director Glynis Burkhalter. “So, Trevor Bridge, our Parent Support Specialist, looked for a more easily accessible way to provide basic information about addiction and the recovery process.”

Trevor has created a series of five YouTube videos on topics ranging from how our high-stress society promotes addictions to tips on managing that stress. One video deals specifically with parents’ concerns related to the pandemic.

“Many young people are disrespecting their parents’ concerns,” Glynis says. “They’re going out and hanging out with whoever they feel like hanging out with. It’s another manifestation of the power struggle that goes on between parents and kids. But now the stakes have changed. Parents are concerned that their child will bring COVID home. They’re worried about how that might affect vulnerable family members or their own employment if they get sick.”

In the video, Trevor offers practical, ‘tough love’ tips on how parents can respond to this defiant (and potentially dangerous) behaviour while keeping the rest of the family safe. He acknowledges that this isn’t an easy task, but one that’s well worth it. He also reminds parents that they’re only human.

“If you were supposed to be a superhero, you would have been born with a cape,” he says.

As more services have been allowed to reopen, YAS has been able to resume in-person counselling. And starting on September 8th, the parent support group will once again be running in person with appropriate physical distancing and COVID precautions in place.

Going forward, Glynis says, “our intention is to continue providing counselling for both individual parents and couples, as well as the support group,  either in person or over Zoom.”

“We want parents to know that they have options.”

Did you know that you can join YAS’s parent programs even if your child is not interested in treatment? If you’d like to learn more about how YAS can help your family, please contact yasinquiries@rayofhope.net.

New ways to thank our monthly donors

Every year, hundreds of people look to Ray of Hope programs to help them deal with poverty, addictions, unemployment and more. But none of these programs would be possible without the help of dedicated donors, especially those who chose to support  Ray of Hope on a monthly basis.

That’s why we’re creating new initiatives to better recognize the impact that these special partners make and to encourage new donors to join them.

“We want to grow our relationships with our monthly partners, who are the backbone of our fundraising efforts,” says Scott Brush, Ray of Hope’s Director of Development. “By choosing to give each month, they ensure we have a steady flow of support. That, in turn, cuts our fundraising costs so that more dollars go directly to programs that help our guests and clients.”

Over the next few months, Ray of Hope will develop communications geared specifically to monthly donors. These could include special program updates, advance invitations to events, or opportunities for donors to share the unique stories of their involvement with the organization.

“We want to thank our monthly donors for their faithfulness and the trust they’ve given to Ray of Hope,” Scott says.

“They keep the lights on and our doors open.”

Why become a monthly donor?

Monthly giving is a convenient and rewarding way to

  • make a lasting difference, even in tough times.
  • extend your giving throughout the year.
  • accrue tax benefits.
  • easily manage your giving – you can arrange for automatic payments and can change your giving at any time.

Interested in learning more about the impact you can make through monthly giving? Please contact donations@rayofhope.net.

Despite many challenges, the past year has been a time of amazing growth at Ray of Hope. You can read stories about the people you’re helping and the programs your support makes possible in our Annual Report. Download the report and financials here.

Help a neighbour in need

When you give, you make life a little easier for those in our community who are struggling. Thank you!

During the COVID-19 outbreak, we’re not able to accept donations of food or clothing. But you can still provide meals for hungry people through our secure donation page.