We’ve reached $2000 raised for the TREAD 6-Hour Trail Run Relay for Pine River!  After only two weeks we’re well on our way to reaching our $10,000 goal. The Camp Arowhon Team is in the lead! 

Sam Yamada speaking at TEDxYorkU - Tune in online

Co-Founder and Founding Research Director of Pine River SAMANTHA YAMADA will be speaking at TEDxYorkU Saturday, March 10.  We’re so excited to watch her presentation, streamed live on this website: http://www.tedxyorku.ca/.  The series begins at 10 am, and Sam’s talk is scheduled for 2:11pm.

As per the TEDxYorkU site, the series theme:


It creates a momentum in any given direction; changes everything in it’s path as it expands. Life shifts, paradigms are challenged, movements spread, regimes fall.

Every day, York’s community touches the world in a wide variety of ways; through activism, research, community service, performance, leadership, ideas; the list goes on.

TEDxYorkU 2012 is a celebration of the many ways in which we affect our world.

Congratulations Sam!

Mr. David Tilson, MP for our Dufferin-Caledon riding recently visited the school.  Here he is with Victoria, Vaughan and John.

What does a teenager struggling with substance abuse sound like? Take 30 seconds to hear what Jim Diorio @ Manifest was inspired to create for Pine River back in 2009. 

First $1000 raised for the TREAD 6 Hour Trail Run Relay for Pine River!  Team Bestnotes is in the lead. Congrats and Thanks to those of you already registered and fundraising.  We’re on our way! Click here to check out the event!

A Birch Bark Basket Story

Thanks to student teacher Justine Wilmot from Queens U for this story!

In just three hours, spread between two art periods, Pine River students completed individual birch bark baskets led by student teacher Justine Wilmot. Justine, with the help of PRI Executive Director John Fallis, harvested the bark from trees found on site. Nine unbroken sheets, 40cm by 60cm each, were collected overall.

The Process

Starting off, students were instructed to cut even strips lengthwise on their sheets to create the base of their basket. This task was difficult for some because their bark was curled tightly or was brittle and weak.

Next the students wove the base

After weaving their base, strips were added to the sides and woven in one at a time. This was a challenging process that required a lot of patience and focus. Most of the birch bark was curled and got in the way, making it difficult to hold it together.

 After the sides were woven the final top rim was added and the baskets were complete.

The End

Overall, there was a lot of hard work put into the baskets and students should be extremely proud of their work. The finished baskets are a product of persistence, patience and focus. Each basket is one of a kind and is a reflection of its creator. Congratulations PRI students, now it’s time to start your own birch bark basket story.

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN!  CLICK HERE to check out the event website On May 27th, 2012 join individuals and teams from across Ontario to walk, jog or run in support of PINE RIVER INSTITUTE. Combining the thrill of off-road running or hiking with the camaraderie of a team event, the TREAD 6 Hour Trail Run Relay for Pine River is the perfect team event to enjoy the outdoors!   Race solo, or on a team of 2, 3 or 4, and send 1 person at a time on an Epic 4 km trail with twisty ascents and harrowing descents. After completing your lap you’ll tag off to your teammate and enjoy the festivities as you cheer on your friends - all while raising funds to bring hope to youth and families fighting addiction and mental health issues in Ontario.  The most memorable 6 hours you’ll spend all year!

Every week the entire student community gathers for ‘Big Group’, and not always indoors! Why not take advantage of a beautiful, sunny winter day?!

Even with the warm winter, we’ve had some great days on our hockey rink!


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Pine River is really excited to be teaming up with Chico Racing for the Tread 6-Hour Trail Run Relay to raise funds for our Help Make A Home Campaign! 

The challenge, camaraderie, and beautiful outdoor setting is an ode to the incredible journey of our students, their families, and the dedicated staff who work with them.

Combining the thrill of off-road running or hiking with the camaraderie of a team event, the TREAD 6-Hour Trail Run Relay is the perfect team event to enjoy the outdoors!  Race solo, or on a team of 2, 3 or 4, and send 1 person at a time on an Epic 4 km trail with twisty ascents and harrowing descents. After completing your lap you’ll tag off to your teammate and enjoy the festivities as you cheer on your friends - all while raising funds to bring hope to youth and families fighting substance abuse and mental health problems in Ontario.  The most memorable 6 hours you’ll spend all year!

Date: Sunday, May 27th, 2012

Place: Mansfield Outdoor Centre, Mansfield, Ontario

Info and registration (starting in February):


When you register for the event, you’ll get your own fundraising webpage to help gather support for your participation.  Every donation will go towards Pine River’s Help Make A Home Campaign to secure our home and expand our capacity to help more students and families.

Get your team together!  Start stretching! 

We’ll let you know when registration opens in February, and keep you posted on PRIZES, ENTERTAINMENT, and other incentives to get your team out there for this sure-to-be-epic event!

We look forward to seeing you May 27th!

Fearless Tiger Girl Conference

On November 30th the female students from Pine River Institute attended the Fearless Tiger Girl’s
Conference in Toronto.  This is the second year that our students have attended this conference that focuses on girls’ empowerment and the prevention of violence against women. The students and staff that attended enjoyed the event and plan to share their learning with the rest of the school community by organizing a awareness day focused on Healthy Relationships.

Follow this link to learn more about Fearless Tiger Girl Conference

Lest We Forget

On November 11th the students at Pine River Institute organized a touching ceremony for Remembrance Day.   Students shared stories, read poems and sang songs that reflected the themes of Remembrance, Sacrifice, Gratitude and Freedom.   One student presented an original poem that he wrote in honour of our fallen heroes.  Also, a group of three students wrote and performed a rap song to commemorate the day.  The highlights of this moving and inspirational ceremony were the creativity and confidence of the students involved.  Lest we forget.


By Ben S.

Remember the Fallen Heroes, Lives severed, Their Souls tethered,

Fallen Heroes, Remember, Fallen like the Snowflakes of December.

Remember The Fathers, The Sons, The Brothers,

Remember the Heroes Forever,

Remember the Sacrifice They Made on That Endeavor,

They Had no Choice, but to Use Weapons and Force, With no Course, Reason or Voice,

They Fought for You, They Fought for Me,

They Fought for a Gift, That We Could Live Free,

To SomeHaving Freedom is Worth Crying for,

To ThemGiving Freedom Was Worth Dying for.

They Fought for Freedom, That was Their Mission,

They Didn’t Fight for My Freedom, so I Could End up in Prison,

They Didn’t Fight for Freedom, so They Could be Missed,

They Fought for Freedom, Families, and Loved Ones, Risked,

Freedom, With a Verdict, We Couldn’t Predict,

Freedom, so That I can Fight My Demons, and be More Than “Just An Addict”.

They Fought Through Struggle and Strife,

So That You and I Could Live a Righteous Life.

And so I am Thankful for Their Sacrifice,

So Thankful, That a Moment of Silence, Just Won’t Suffice.

And I Won’t Let the Memory be Temporary,

The Memory will Last for Eternity,

I Will Remember Every Day, for Every Year,

On the Second, on The Tenth, and Even on The Seventh, I Will Remember,

And on November Eleventh, I will Show My Gratitude,

Like I am the Hunger, and Remembrance is My Food,

Such Courage is Seen, so Very Seldom,

For Every Poppy Planted, is a “Thank - You” I can Never Tell Them.


Thought of the Day

Every week the staff and students get together for ‘Big Group’, and one student offers a thought of the day. This week’s was a quote from Lily Tomlin: “I always wanted to be somebody but now I realize I should’ve been more specific.”

Watch CEO & Founder Dr. Karen Minden’s interview at Bellwood’s 3rd Annual Many Faces of Addiction Symposium

Meet our pet piggies!  Walked on-leash daily by students and staff.

Meet Gracie, well-loved member of the therapeutic team.

“Anything is possible, one stroke at a time.”

Students recently participated in a Zentangle workshop at the school.  From Zentangle’s website, Zentangle is an easy to learn method of creating beautiful images from repetitive patterns. It is a fascinating new art form that is fun and relaxing. It increases focus and creativity. Zentangle provides artistic satisfaction and an increased sense of personal well being. Zentangle is enjoyed by a wide range of skills and ages and is used in many fields of interest.

We believe that life is an art form and that Zentangle is an elegant metaphor for deliberate artistry in life. “

Check out the amazing art the students created!

Annual Alumni Reunion and 1st Aftercare Graduation

On September 25th we will be hosting Life After Pine River: The Alumni Perspective, our annual alumni reunion and first aftercare graduation ceremony.   This event is open to all current and alumni Pine River families - we would love to see you there!          

The day will include a number of dynamic elements for both Current and Past Students and Parents including:

  • Speakers
  • Parent and Alumni Student group check-in and discussion
  • A big BBQ care of the stellar kitchen team led by Teri, Pete and Janet
  • Activities
  • Graduation Ceremony

Please click on the link below to register online, or contact Robin at the school at 519.925.9225 x 101 ASAP, or by August 25 at the latest.  

Click Here for Event details and Registration

Anyone who has visited the school recently will no doubt have noticed the transformation of the front entrance way.  Several new garden beds have been dug and filled with a rainbow of perennial and annual flowers and shrubs. This is all part of the horticultural therapy programming here at Pine River Institute.  Each team of students has adopted a garden plot to plan, plant and tend.  In addition to being an exercise in teamwork, this enables students to draw on their sense of responsibility and their inner nurturing skills.