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Why Support Us

We save young lives. We give hope to families.

Changing Lives

From hopelessness to hope. From deep despair to dreaming of a brighter future.

Each year almost 160 youth reach out to the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre, often during the darkest and most troubling times of their young lives. Some have been harmed by others, some have done harm to themselves. They have reached a point where they know they have to change the direction their lives have taken. We are always here to help them heal, build new skills and begin a healthier way of life.

Young people who arrive at our front doors come from every kind of family situation you can think of and from neighbourhoods not only across the Ottawa area but from cities, towns and communities across Ontario. They are here to begin a journey that requires courage, perseverance and strength. A life-saving journey.

Over the course of their three months living at the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre, our dedicated clinical staff work closely with every young person to help them recognize and overcome what brought them to our doors in the first place and build new skills. Professionally trained staff follow recognized and effective programs that have been reviewed and endorsed by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse as well as the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment at the US National Institute of Drug Abuse. 

Every young person who takes part in the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre residential treatment program also receives a minimum of three months of Assertive Continuing Care through a dedicated counsellor who works with them and their families to help decrease the all-too-common relapses that often occur shortly after leaving a residential program.

“We thank God every day for the Dave Smith Centre and all of the wonderful angels who work there. We would not be where we are today without them. Thank you to all of you who touched our lives in such an incredible way and for letting us see tomorrow.”

Our Impact

What our youth, families and community think of the impact we are making

Every day we are touched by stories of struggles, heartbreak and courage. These are the stories that drive us to always do more, to always be there for youth and families.

  • Being sober, I've found happiness again.
  • I can't believe I got to come to such an amazing place
  • I gained my family back, self-respect, and I know the feeling of being sober now and I like having my life cleaned up and my priorities set straight
  • It changed me from inside out and made me a better person.
  • The quality of treatment I have received has really helped me change my life in a positive way
  • Before I felt completely hopeless. Now I feel capable and more confident.
  • Most helpful was the support our son received and the break it provided our family. We had three months to work on trying to put our family back together, knowing he was getting help at the same time
  • We never realized all the different walks of life that have youth in the same situation that we were in, and the actual number of families who live the same horror, and need this kind of support
  • The situation with an addicted child overwhelms the family. It is comforting to have professional support in an accepting/non-judgemental forum
  • Dave Smith’s dream of residential treatment for youth has never been more important for our community. That’s why Dave’s Dream should be everyone’s dream. — Jacqueline Holzman, Ottawa Mayor, 1991–1997

Some people think that we’re in the business of giving youth a safe place for a second chance at life.

Others think that we provide youth the tools they need to make the right choices in life. Neither is wrong because it is both of those things and so much more.

We save young lives. We give hope to families.

We help youth define and discover a new future for themselves – one that is filled with hopes and dreams for the future. One that is paved with goals to reach for and to stay connected to. We help youth who come to us to heal from past trauma. We help youth manage the mental health issues they may often face and we help them overcome their substance abuse issues.

We help rebuild families who have reached or passed the breaking point. We counsel family members on what substance dependency is and how to communicate in healthy ways to rebuild what has been shattered. We see parents who have lost hope for their child and for what they envisioned a family could be. We help parents rebuild what they think they have lost and help them come to a place where a new beginning, a brighter future is possible.

We help youth walk a path to wellness. We help bring families back together.

We’ve been doing this for over 20 years, helping thousands of youth and their families in Ottawa and across Ontario.  With your support we will do this for many more years and continue to make a life-changing difference for young people, their families and our communities.