Parents Empowering Parents (PEP) Society supports & educates families dealing with the effects of substance abuse in youth and adult children. PEP Society was founded almost ten years ago (May 2004) and was incorporated as a Society on February 14, 2005.
PEP Meetings were initially established as a result of an increasing need for support and direction for families dealing with the effects of substance abuse in youth. The co-founders were a Family Support Worker, a Probation Officer, and a Mother of a methamphetamine addict. They identified a need to support the supporters of addicts recognizing parents and families are significant in the prevention, intervention, and recovery process. Initially PEP committed to holding three meetings to assess the value of a Parent Support Program within the County of Strathcona - specifically to determine the needs and to assist in identifying gaps in available services. At the conclusion of the meetings it was determined that the attending families were indeed searching for exactly what was being offered at these meetings: Information, Support, Direction, and Hope.
PEP Meetings were born and soon expanded to support people in Edmonton & Surrounding Areas. Shortly after U-turn for Youth and the Parent Support Line were identified as services PEP could offer to further support the needs of these parents and families. In 2006, the PEP team expanded their efforts of advocating for parents and families – taking it all the way to the legislature! On July 1, 2006 in Alberta the Protection of Children Abusing Drugs Act (PChAD) took effect. This is forced treatment for children under eighteen years of age at risk as a result of drug or alcohol use. PEP was instrumental in getting this legislation as a resource for parents.
In 2008 the MEDD-X (Motivational Experiences/Education for Ex-Drug Dealers) was introduced as another resource for parents and an intervention for ex-drug dealers. MEDD-X has proven to be powerful, therapeutic, and unique to PEP. It is another program that supports parents and families with education and hope. In 2012, PEP hosted it’s first annual Love You Forever event. Parents and families who have lost loved ones to or in addiction gathered in one place to share their grief, begin their healing, and experience some hope. The attendance for the 2013 Love You Forever increased from the previous year and we are hoping to reach even more people this year.
In 2013 PEP launched its Parent Mentorship Program which connects parents with parents offering parents in crisis even more support complimenting the existing services. 2013 also provided PEP the opportunity to contribute to making the first Recovery Day Edmonton possible, participating in a national initiative to celebrate recovery and an attempt to overcome the stigma associated with addiction.
Over the last ten years PEP has witnessed many parents and families grow and change. These highlights do not even begin to encompass the tears, sweat, laughter, and humility that have transpired, nor the endless volunteer hours from gracious parents and the ongoing commitment from the staff and Board of Directors.