Camp Haven hosts alumni reunion

In October, Camp Haven Alumni gathered on the campus of the men’s transitional homeless facility to celebrate the accomplishments of men that have graduated from the program and moved on with their lives – better, stronger and healthier – emotionally, spiritually and financially.

The reunion, sponsored by the Sebastian Elks Lodge #2714 with the help of members of the Sebastian Food Pantry, showcased the power of positivity. As hot dogs sizzled on the grill, current residents and Camp Haven supporters enjoyed an afternoon of fellowship as program graduates shared stories of their success and encouraged the men currently living at Camp Haven to continue with their missions to change the trajectory of their lives.

Homeless and living in the woods, Matt Paquette, an alumnus of the Camp Haven program, realized he was going to die if he continued living this lifestyle.

For Paquette, having the day to day worries of food and shelter removed enabled him to focus on his sobriety and looking to the future. With the support of Camp Haven benefactors, the 42-year-old was able to attend college, repair his relationship with his son, and is now gainfully employed with plans to marry next year.

“The support here helped. Without Camp Haven, I would have been back out on the street. I was determined to make it this time, and they gave me the pathway to open doors. Camp Haven provided the stability and accountability that I needed,” explained Paquette.

Camp Haven has helped more than 200 men since opening in January 2014. The only transformational shelter for homeless and at-risk men in Indian River County, Camp Haven offers men the means to rebuild their lives.

“The residents of Camp Haven must attend weekly meetings that include psychological counseling, personal finance, interpersonal skills, credit management, and vocational guidance,” said Chuck Bradley, Camp Haven executive director. “They must also secure community-based employment within the first 30 days, save 50% of their take home pay, and is applicable pay child support.”

Camp Haven provides transitional housing and education to men committed to rising out of homelessness. Through a thoughtful intake procedure and strict adherence to guidelines, residents in the program receive educational opportunities, counseling, and encouragement as they move from homelessness to hopefulness, eventually becoming active, engaged, contributing members of our community.

To learn more, visit CampHaven.net.

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