Pine River Foundation E-News


Congratulations Pine River Institute Class of 2019!

On a warm, spring day, the Minden Room at Pine River Institute buzzed with excitement as students, teachers, staff and family members assembled to celebrate seven Pine River students who stood anxiously at the front of the room, ready to receive their Ontario Secondary School Diplomas.  “I can’t believe that I’m here,” said one parent.  “A year ago we didn’t think it would be possible for [my son], to attend classes at all, let alone graduate High School”.

Pine River is proud that educational engagement is a key element of our program. Each team at Pine River has a dedicated teacher from the Upper Grand District School Board with Special Education qualifications. In consultation with the clinical team, teachers develop a unique academic plan for each student which caters to their specific strengths and needs to help foster success and pride in their education. 

Each 2019 Pine River graduate travelled their own path to reach this milestone. Some only had two credits to complete when they arrived at Pine River, others had 13 or more. But no matter their path, it was clear from listening to the speeches, that hard work was the key to finishing high school for these students. “Combining flexibility and perseverance proves to me that you are resilient,” said John Falls, Executive Director of Pine River in his commencement speech. “We have watched your struggles and now we see your successes… we are proud of your achievements”.

Please join us in congratulating  Pine River Institute's

High School Graduates, Class of 2019!



Donor’s Challenge Will Triple Your Gift

Thanks to one donor’s vision, our Room for Hope campaign has taken a giant step closer to fully funding the new Girls’ Dorm and Transition House. The donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, will give $2 for every $1 donated or pledged before March 31, 2019.

Asked what inspired the matching gift, the donor responded: “This has touched us and so many people we know. PRI can give a child in distress ways past the pain and sadness and helplessness of addiction.

“I want to inspire people to take action that is not only life changing, it is life saving. Support the expansion of Pine River’s proven, successful rehabilitation program and I’m prepared to donate up to $2 million. So if you act now, the impact of your gift will be tripled. And more youth, and their families, will find new hope, a world of possibilities and futures filled with potential.”

With your support, and this transformational gift, the new Girls’ Dorm and Transition House could be operational within 12 to 18 months, nearly doubling PRI’s capacity and bringing new hope for the 200+ families on our wait list.

Click here to donate. Your gift, and your impact, will be tripled!



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First Nation Program Adapts PRI Model

Gwekwaadziwin Miikan, a new land-based youth addiction and mental health facility in Little Current, Manitoulin Island, has opened with a program partly based on the PRI model.

“Gwekwaadziwin” is one of the Seven Grandfather Teachings and means “living the right way” in Ojibwe. Program staff at Gwekwaadziwin Miikan visited the PRI campus and our Outdoor Learning Experience location in April. They worked closely with our staff to adapt the Pine River model and integrate it into an Anishinabek culture-based program. Gwekwaadziwin Miikan is currently running a Seven Grandfather Teachings stream for 19 to 30-year-olds. A Four Directions stream for 13 to 19-year-olds is planned.

PRI CEO Vaughan Dowie attended the centre’s open-house on May 25. “A lot of the principles are the same as PRI’s, but of course they are adding significant cultural aspects, as they should and must, to resonate with their values and their clientele,” he said.

Gwekwaadziwin Miikan’s first intake began on May 28. According to Vaughan, the collaboration with PRI will continue: “We look forward to sharing and exchanging information and experience with Gwekwaadziwin Miikan.”




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Giving Thanks

Here we share messages of gratitude from PRI parents, graduates, and staff.

The first emotion that comes to mind when I think of PRI: gratitude. Our son absolutely sees it; Pine River didn’t just give him back his life, it helped him toward a whole new life.” –Lisa, PRI parent 

I’d like to thank our donors. Thanks to you, we have a new 15-seat van, a low-ropes challenge course, mountain bikes, and canoes – all important items for our wide-ranging program!” –John Fallis, Executive Director of Operations

No one is as thoughtful and connected and intuitive as the Pine River staff. There’s something that pulls you in and makes you feel safe.” –Abby, PRI graduate

It’s been wonderful for our family. We’ve all learned valuable things, especially the ability to be real in all of our flawed humanity, and I think that makes a big difference.”—Susan, PRI parent

The kids are incredibly grateful for these mountain bikes, and so am I. We used to borrow bikes. Now that we have our own, our riding season is longer. They’re terrific bikes.” –Fred  Tustin, Residential Youth Counsellor

I learned so much from the PRI program as a parent. I learned about boundaries and not taking responsibility for other people’s actions. My own journey of recovery has been so much richer because of the PRI experience.”

--Sarah, PRI parent


Pine River Institute and Foundation Head Office  
180 Dundas Street West, Suite 1410, Toronto, ON  M5G 1Z8
Foundation Charitable Charitable Registration #834506057RR0001

Pine River Institute Campus  
P.O. Box 159, Station Main, Shelburne, ON  L9V 3L8

Pine River Home Teams - Click here to access your Family Bridge


© 2017 Pine River Institute