From left to right

Newton’s drug recovery centre officially opens

Deepak Chopra among the notables at the official opening of Welcome Home on Friday morning

A major drug and alcohol recovery facility has officially opened in Newton with much fanfare.

On Friday, the $80-million John Volken Academy celebrated its official opening in the midst of local politicians and renowned Indian author and public speaker Deepak Chopra.

The Newton facility houses 40 men and women who are suffering from alcoholism and addiction and are committed to spending two years at the facility.

The organization boasts a plan to teach people how to become functioning members of society as they recover from addiction.

The facility is the brainchild of John Volken, who started a furniture chain called United Furniture Warehouse in 1980, and by 2001 had a company with $200 million in annual revenues.

Volken sold that and began his dream of philanthropy called Welcome Home.

He started with a 20-bed facility in Seattle and two small homes in Surrey.

Welcome Home has not always been so welcome at its 6869 King George Blvd. location.

Liz Walker, of the Newton Community Association, has said for years that the facility is poorly located.

She hasn’t changed her mind about that.

“I would have liked to have seen Welcome Home in an area that wasn’t so inundated with social services,” Walker said Thursday.

Volken, who is a recent recipient of the Dalai Lama’s Humanitarian Award, said he prefers getting his hands dirty rather than just giving money to causes.

It’s what fundraisers call “venture philanthropy,” a growing trend among business executives to exercise greater control over how their money is spent.

Volken also gets an emotional boost out of doing the work.

“I enjoy watching the progress,” Volken told The Leader when he was just getting started. “It’s not a sacrifice to me, I thank the heavenly God every day for the privilege of doing it.”


Just Posted

Queen Elizabeth students hit $100K in donations to Surrey Hospital Foundation

Secondary students have been raising funds for a decade through the Roots & Rhythms event

‘He’s still with me on the daily’: Slain friend motivates Surrey’s Lyles to make it with B.C. Lions

Jaylen Sandhu a source of inspiration for running back, a former standout with Lord Tweedsmuir

South Surrey senior ‘irate’ over policing-transition venue change

Pat Anderson says she disagrees with the transition plan – but never got a chance to say so

Why school portables are a ‘way of life’ in Surrey

THIRD IN A SERIES: A look at concerns surrounding Surrey’s 300-plus portables

Grieving mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Men caught with illegal gun near Burnaby elementary school

They were sitting in a parked car near Cameron Elementary

Home care for B.C.’s elderly is too expensive and falls short: watchdog

Report says seniors must pay $8,800 a year for daily visits under provincial home support program

B.C. ‘struggling’ to meet needs of vulnerable youth in contracted care: auditor

Auditor general says youth in contracted residential services may not be getting support they need

Pair of B.C. cities crack Ashley Madison’s ‘Infidelity Hotlist’

Data from the website reveals Abbotsford and Kelowna hottest spots for cheaters

Life’s work of talented B.C. sculptor leads to leukemia

Former Salmon Arm resident warns of dangers of chemical contact

Billboard posted along B.C.’s Highway of Tears to remember missing and murdered Indigenous women

Billboards featuring Indigenous artwork to be placed in Surrey, Kamloops and near Prince George

Canada’s first dementia village close to opening

Langley project to provide home-like surroundings for between $83,400 and $93,600 a year

Unexpected snow blankets the Okanagan Connector

As of 6:50 a.m. DriveBC cameras displayed surprise snowfall on highway

Most Read