Portage Ontario hosts its first golf tournament fundraising event

ARISS – Portage Ontario will be hosting its first Freedom from Addiction Golf Classic fundraising event, to raise money to support youth in the county and surrounding areas.

The event at the Ariss Valley Golf and Country Club will run July 15 from 11am to 5pm. Tee off times will start at 11am with ten-minute intervals.

This year marks the first year Portage Ontario has run this event, but manager of development Ashley-Ann Maginnis noted organizers plan to make it an annual event.

Maginnis said the event is an opportunity to help the community learn more about the work Portage Ontario does and the services it offers.

“I think that its important because if we step out of this pandemic and things start to open up, we’re really going to see the effects that it’s had on our youth and so it’s great to know that Portage exists,” she said.

“As we are coming out of the pandemic and putting one crisis behind us, we’re looking into the future and noticing that there’s been an increase in alcohol and drug abuse amongst society, but especially amongst our youth who have really been suffering from isolation and just the whole pandemic itself.”

Portage Ontario receives funding from the Ontario Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.

The organization has added its own youth treatment beds to deal with the increased demand of residential care for the community’s youth, which requires additional funding. Residents who enter into the program receive six months of residential care.

“This kind of lessens the wait times for beds funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health so that they can begin their journey towards addiction recovery immediately,” Maginnis explained.

“We want to definitely, especially as we see that increase in youth requiring our services, make sure that those beds are available.”

Portage Ontario set a goal of raising $50,000 for the event. It currently sits at nearly 50 per cent of its goal, at the time of publication.

“We’re not quite going to be able to hit our goal but we’re going to be able to definitely help a youth enter into the program,” Maginnis said, noting the average cost for one youth to go through the six-month residential program is about $45,000.

“So, we’re going to be able to assist a youth coming through our program by running this event,” she said.

Portage Ontario has also partnered with local businesses in the community and is hosting an online auction to help raise funds for the event and get closer to its goal.

The auction will serve as a way to reach out to people in the community interested in supporting Portage Ontario but may not be golfers. It will run July 12 to 18.

The event currently has nearly 100 participants but Maginnis said she’s continuing to reach out to the community to get more people to come out, adding organizers are very pleased with the turnout from the community in support of this initiative in its first year.

“It would be fantastic to have a sold-out event” she said.

“But I’m really happy with the turnout that we’ve had thus far, and I truly believe it will only get better and better as we continue to do this in the years to come.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to get in front of them and explain what it is that we do … and have a fun day in support of the youth that need us the most.”