Genuine social transformation in the Okanagan
Genuine social transformation in the Okanagan
Karis Support Society contributes to genuine social transformation in the Okanagan Valley by providing a safe home, support throughout recovery, and life skills development for people struggling with life altering addictions and mental health conditions. Karis exists within the continuum of charitable organizations that provide social services for vulnerable individuals living in Kelowna. Karis is devoted to establishing a welcoming, safe and trustworthy environment where strength can develop.
Karis Support Society practices the art of possibility by envisioning people as Jesus would; unencumbered by disability and full of promise. Recognizing that the path each person takes to fulfill their potential is unique, Karis seeks to provide particularized care and support. As a result, the time a person lives at Karis or is supported by an aftercare worker is different for each person. The curriculum for gaining strength is diversified as well. As much as possible, every development plan is designed according to the distinct needs and strengths of each person we serve.
Faith based not faith forced; holistic support & development; collaboration; servant leadership; empathy; listening; multiple second chances; compassion; acceptance; possibility, fun, client directed recovery
Our strategy is to help individuals RECOGNIZE the potential of their life, to support them in their RECOVERY and RESTORE them to society where they can make meaningful contributions.
In December 2006 a group of friends and family identified two gaps in Kelowna’s continuum of social services; affordable housing for individuals living in or near poverty and program based support for women seeking recovery from addictions. Although temporary shelters were available, there was no long-term, sustainable programming designed to empower older women to transition from a life of addiction to a life in recovery.
Karis Support Society was formed from a heartfelt desire to respond to these significant needs. In 2008 Karis opened BERNARD HOUSE, an 8 bed recovery home for women over 35 years of age, who had made several unsuccessful attempts at recovery. A caring team of support workers offered daily recovery and life skill programming, in a safe home where women could recover from addictions and restore their self esteem. Secure housing, caring support and good programming empowered the women of Bernard House to grow strong physically, mentally and relationally.
During those early years Karis’ partnered with AIMHSS (Adult Integrated Mental Health Support Society) to provide financial support for a two-year residential program for 6 women struggling to overcome the effects of mental illness and addiction.
In January of 2008 Karis opened ESTHER PLACE RECOVERY CENTRE to provide a one-year residential program for 6 women in recovery. During that same year the community approached Karis with a request to help single moms struggling to find affordable housing after recovering from addictions or fleeing abusive relationship. These moms were caring for their children but needed help developing healthy parenting skills.
So in March of 2008 SUTHERLAND HOUSE was opened, providing housing, support and programming for up to two years for 5 determined mothers and their children. TOMAT HOUSE was added to the society in 2008 as well with the goal of supporting men who had mental and physical health conditions.
Karis Support Society responded to the community need by establishing 8 different homes for individuals struggling with life altering addictions and mental health conditions. As a direct result of the benevolence of this small group of friends and family, 255 women and 57 children have found safe housing, caring support through recovery and life skill development in the past eight years. The statistics are impressive, but the stories of lives changed are inspiring.
Karis provides supported recovery programs with around the clock support and supervision to women new to the Karis program and in their first stage of recovery. As they grow stronger, residents may move to semi-independent housing while continuing to participate in recovery programming. Karis is the only recovery program in the valley that provides supported recovery program and housing for women with newborns or toddlers up to 2 1/2 years of age. As women grow stronger and move into the community, we provide supported aftercare.
In order to build sustainability into this effective grass roots charity, Karis has amalgamated all the homes into one beautiful, new three-story home that serves up to 39 women and 8 children. Residents will benefit from safe housing and recovery programs in both fully-supported and semi-independent housing options.