Private treatment facility raising funds for operations

·2 min read

Robin McMillan relocated from the United States to Westman because she felt a calling to help people who are struggling with substance use and addiction.

Though her friendly way of speaking still features a New Jersey accent, McMillan and her husband Rich have embraced their home in Sidney, 67 kilometres east of Brandon, where they opened up a private treatment facility.

The Total Freedom Addictions Centre operates under Total Freedom Manitoba, and is a nine-month, in-patient alternative addiction program for men with a focus on discipleship and Christianity.

To enrol in the program, applicants must show a willingness to leave behind their previous lifestyles and profess to be Christian. The faith-based program, which receives no government funding, offers a 12-month after-care program during which participants must attend church services twice a week, and claims a 95 to 97 per cent success rate, according to Total Freedom Manitoba’s website. The cost to attend the program is $200 per week, and help is available in applying for employment and income assistance.

Funding the program isn’t easy, McMillan said, which is why it relies on the generosity of the surrounding community. As the Sun previously reported, the Manitoba Agricultural Museum near Austin held a winter lights fundraiser for the facility in January.

The facility’s latest fundraising endeavour is coming in the form of a play called “Don’t Kick the Turkeys,” based on a publication by Andy and Jennifer Hansen through Lillenas Publications.

The play features a man called Rev. Thompson, who is on his third day serving as pastor at New Hope Church. While his secretary lays down the law in the office, the janitor fixes everything in sight, a congregation member is on the warpath and an eccentric lay-person presents crazy ideas, Thompson must take it all in his stride as he prepares for Sunday service.

When a daycare moves into the church building after the pipes in its own building burst, Thompson navigates his unexpected new work situation. The full-length production is an hour and 15 minutes long.

“It’s funny,” McMillan said. “It’s a gentle reminder that we don’t kick the turkeys in our lives, we help them.”

The play will run on May 5 and 6 at the Austin Community Centre. Tickets for the all-ages show are $10 and include refreshments and dessert.

The proceeds will hopefully allow the facility to expand and accept more applicants.

“We’re doing renovations upstairs so we can put six more beds in. Right now, we’re full,” McMillan said. “We don’t want to have a waiting list if we don’t have to.”

For tickets, call the Austin Community Centre at 204-637-2344, or Total Freedom at 204-466-2500.

Miranda Leybourne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun