About Us

Since 1970, Charlford House has provided a supportive recovery home for women who are ready to move on from their substance addiction.

Charlford House is a non-profit residence: not an institution. All of our empathetic staff have had personal experience with addiction, but have been clean and sober for a long time. They have all had formal education and training that equips them to help others on the path to recovery.

The women who come to our home are embarking on a journey to recovery, needing the safe and structured support of professional staff and peers. For this reason, we are situated in a family-oriented neighbourhood in Burnaby, British Columbia. 


Mission

Our mission is to provide women with a safe, healthy and caring environment
in which to experience recovery

Values

We foster respect, compassion, and dignity
among our clients, staff, board and volunteers. 

We embrace recovery as having a profound impact on individuals and their families. 

We cultivate peer relationships and mentoring
in our highly structured living environment. 

We support community integration through attendance
at Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous meetings outside our facility.

Vision

To stop the cycle of dependence
by increasing resources available to women entering into recovery. 

To provide a professionally staffed home in a non institutional atmosphere. 

To inspire hope and establish life long relationships
with the women and families we serve.

Goals

Our recovering residents strive to:

  • Abstain from drugs and alcohol
  • Increase their self awareness
  • Find inner peace and strength
  • Use their inner strength
  • Enhance their personal potential
  • Be responsible for resolving their difficulties and problems
  • Build a solid base of recovery
  • Integrate the 12 Steps into their daily living
  • Establish a support structure for their lives outside Charlford House

Philosophy

When you put energy into your recovery,
recovery becomes stronger than addiction.

 

Charlford House offers a program for women, based on the philosophy of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Within the context of a therapeutic community, our residents are able to explore their sense of self-worth and identity through group and individual counselling. The professional support of our trained staff, along with the support of other women in similar circumstances, creates a unique balance of love and structure that allows each woman to take on the challenge of personal change. 

The program is modelled after a bio-psycho-social approach that deals with all aspects of a client's life including parenting. Our team provides case management and linking to services in a collaborative way, assisting those who are mothers to rebuild their roles as capable parents. We encourage mothers to invite their children to visit the house on Saturdays and Sundays. The therapeutic value of caring for her child enhances a mother's sense of self-worth and personal responsibility, and promotes a positive maternal relationship.

Once clients have become stabilized, we assist them in accessing outpatient counsellors, doctors, parenting and career exploration programs. We encourage our residents to attend outside programs to ease their transition back into the community.

Our alumni are important to Charlford House as volunteers and are welcome to attend group sessions, come for a visit, or talk to a counsellor whenever they need to. While in residence, many women form positive, lasting relationships. After our alumni have been discharged, they are invited to return to the house as role models and friends to women who are new in the program.

Treatment Philosophy

Problems become solutions
when seen as surmountable challenges
that can be faced with the support and love of friends.

 

Group Participation

One of the aims of our daily group sessions is to help residents see their problems as surmountable challenges. If a woman recognizes her own issues in the experience of another, the sense of isolation that accompanies addiction tends to lessen.

Group participation also allows the women to introspect and explore addictive behaviors and their consequences. As they do this together, emotional intimacy, which is an important component of our program, is enhanced.

We use many different approaches in these sessions, including cognitive-behavioural, relational, and empowerment models while remaining within the parameters of the transtheoretical model of change. This model proposes that a person makes life changes in stages rather than in one big step: by thinking about the problem, considering what to do and then deciding to take action.

In the knowledge that self-centredness is at the core of addiction, Charlford House staff utilize the safe and supportive atmosphere of group work to encourage women to begin to think in terms of care and concern for others.

Individual Sessions

Our clients also have the opportunity to attend individual counselling when needed. These sessions are informal, relaxed and without the barrier of structured appointment times.

The main goal of individual sessions is to raise self-esteem. Time alone with a counsellor makes it easier for a client to examine, explore, and resolve the ambivalence she has about her behavior.

Individual sessions also give a client the opportunity explore key factors in recovery with her counsellor, which are:

  • Concern about her own behaviour
  • Knowledge that she has the ability to affect change 
  • Learning skills that affect change

Our Team

The experience of our staff and their development is vitally important to the program:

  • Each of our staff has had personal experience with addiction, followed by extensive sobriety and clean time, which enables them to empathize with the residents. 
  • They have had formal education and training, which enables them to assist the residents in understanding substance abuse behaviour and its consequences. 
  • Our senior clinical staff members are Certified Drug and Alcohol Counsellors.

 

Miranda Vecchio
Executive Director

Miranda became the Executive Director in January of 2015. Prior to that, she did some contract fundraising for Charlford House after several years of volunteering on the Board of Directors and sitting on a number of committees.

Prior to her new role, Miranda was the Executive Assistant of a local business organization for over 12 years and before that, was self-employed for over a decade.

Linda Shaw
Program Director, Counsellor

Linda has worked in the substance abuse field for two decades and has more that 28 years of personal recovery experience. She was certified by the Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation (CACCF) in 1988 and continues her education on an ongoing basis. To this end, she currently also holds the following designations: International Certified Alcohol and Drug Counsellor  (ICADC) and International Certified Clinical Supervisor (ICCS).

Most of her career has been centered on working with women in a number of diverse settings. She manages the addiction program and works with our clients in the capacity of counsellor.

Kaela McCann
Residential Counsellor

Kaela was a member of the Alumnae Volunteer team for a number of years and was hired on as part time staff when an opportunity presented itself.  Kaela has over a decade of experience working with women and /or children affected by harm reduction and /or abuse issues.

Kaela has completed her courses at Vancouver Community College where she worked toward her Substance Abuse Counselling Certificate.  She is  certified by the Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation and is a member of the Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation (CACCF). She is also an International Certified Alcohol and Drug Counsellor (ICADC).

Ashley Altun
Weekend Support Worker

Like the majority of our staff, Ashley is alumnae at Charlford house. She was given the position of Weekend Support Worker after a year of volunteering here, with a persistent interest in the job. She has worked in the recovery community for over 3 years and is experienced with serving women, especially those who seek help for their substance misuse. Ashley works with addicts on a regular basis and is passionate about her work. She is currently enrolled in Vancouver Community College's Addictions Counselling Program and is working towards her certification with CACCF. She is currently certified in basic counselling skills and trauma informed practice. 

Nicole Fisher
Fundraising and Events Manager

Nicole was a member of the Alumnae Volunteer team for over a year before being hired on as part-time Administrative Assistant. Through her hard work and enthusiasm for event planning (Golf Tournament and Gala) and grant writing, Nicole moved into the position she now holds. She currently attends BCIT, taking courses in fundraising and marketing. In the past, Nicole worked in Hospitality Management for over five years. She is extremely organized, detail-oriented and loves bringing people together. She is excited to be part of the Charlford House team and is looking forward to raising awareness within the community about  our cause.