Working for the organization that saved his life it’s not surprising Father’s Day has a special place in Jerome Abraham’s heart.
Each year the executive director of Discovery House men’s addiction treatment facility gets an opportunity to see some of his clients and their children —sometimes back together for the first time— at the annual fun, fundraiser.
“That’s what our organization is all about, fathers back to their children, whether they be adult children or kids and that’s what this event is really focussed on,” said Abraham, who was once a drug addict living on the streets of Kelowna. “Beyond removing the use of drugs and alcohol it’s cleaning up the wreckage of the past and mending those relationships with families.
“Just to see somebody whose had their struggles and worked through that and the forgiveness from the family it just makes me want to keep doing this work.”
For his clients, reinstating that trust can be a long, slow and often difficult process.
“It’s tough too especially when the kids are like 18 or 20 years old and maybe they haven’t seen dad since they were 11,” said Abraham. “There’s a big gap and a lot of stuff that has to go on for the relationship to start being rebuilt.
“They have to trust what your doing and what you say and ‘you’re not going to let me down.’”
This year’s Father’s Day event has been moved to the east ball field at Skaha Lake Park and runs from noon to 3 p.m.
It is one of the major fundraising events of the year for the long-term facility which most of its clients would not be able to afford otherwise. Fundraising this time around is especially important with the opening of the organization’s second location on Winnipeg Street next month providing a maximum total of 18 beds.
There is another year remaining on the lease for the current six-bed location on Wade Avenue which will be used for more senior clients who are transitioning back into the community.
Sunday’s event is sponsored by a large number of local businesses and will feature a road hockey game, carnival events, barbecue, fire truck, Penticton Speedway cars and of course the ever-popular dunk tank.
Abraham has promised to dress up in a full-length ball gown if his pledge goal of $2,500 is reached.
“If I don’t get it, I won’t be wearing the ball gown and nobody wants to see that,” he said.
Although Mayor Andrew Jakubeit and MLA Dan Ashton are expected to attend, neither has committed to the tank however Abraham hopes they bring their bathing suits just in case.
Admission is free and everything else is by donation.