Another Charlford Angel Gets Her Wings: Local Women’s Recovery Home Honours 20-year Program Director with Long-term Service Award

Another Charlford Angel Gets Her Wings

Contributed by Laura Johnson

Burnaby-based women’s recovery home Charlford House Society for Women bestowed its highest honour, Chalford Angel, to longtime Program Director Linda Shaw at the Society’s Annual General Meeting on July 9, 2018.

Shaw will be retiring after nearly 20 years’ service in December 2018. Her tenure has been marked with years of caring support for thousands of women who have successfully gone through the program.

Executive Director Miranda Vecchio says “the Charlford Angel is awarded to women who epitomize longtime service, heart, commitment and dedication to the Society. She says that the Charlford Angel “is an inspiration and the best reflection of the organization”.

Shaw developed the Surrogate Family model during her time at Charlford House, a female-focused addiction treatment framework centred around unconditional love and support. 

Vecchio says “it is a unique and special program which encourages collaboration and nurturing amongst the women in the program and staff. We believe in the power of a circle of women”. The connections built in the house become a foundation for a lifetime of support. 

Jen Rosval began her four-month stay at Charlford House on March 25, 2002. She says "Linda has been there for me since day one when I walked through the doors of Charlford House to start the program. She is the first to remind me any moment, that I am always welcome to come home to her and Charlford House for the support I need.”

Rosval has now been sober for over 16 years “Linda will say that I saved my own life by making good decisions, but in reality, I owe the life I have today to Linda and the rest of Charlford House for teaching me how to do this."

The Charlford Angel designation is a rare honour, and has only been given to three other women in the organization’s 48-year history. The first was to Founder Thelma McPherson, the second to long-term board member and local comedienne Ardell Brophy both of whom received the honour before their respective deaths. Both women shared the same recovery anniversary date and died within months of each other. The third Charlford Angel is past Executive Director Trish LaNauze. 

Linda Shaw will publish a manual /memoir of the Surrogate Family Model of treatment later this year  in which Linda details her career as an addictions counsellor.