Community Star Award recipients shine for their work creating healthy communities

Three organizations and one individual are this year’s recipients of the New Brunswick Community Star Award, for their tremendous work in promoting healthy alternatives to addictive behaviours in their communities.

This year’s recipients are Dr. Jeffrey Hans, Youth QUEST Central, the John Howard Society, and Fresh Start Services for Women.

“The work these recipients are doing for their communities is tremendous,” said Jean Daigle, VP of Community for Horizon. “They’re offering out-of-the-box thinking to address the issues faced by vulnerable populations.”

The New Brunswick Community Star Award recognizes individuals or groups who demonstrate and promote healthy alternatives to addictive behaviours, contribute to a community’s wellness, and/or provide support to individuals to reduce the impact of substance abuse.

“Congratulations to the four recipients, and thank you for everything you do in helping people be healthy,” said Daigle.

The John Howard Society of Fredericton, Fredericton

The John Howard Society of Fredericton opened the Oak Centre, which offers shelter and housing for people experiencing homelessness. Most clients deal with mental illness and / or addictions.

“The impact John Howard Society has in the community is immeasurable,” the nomination reads. “With the increase of persons experiencing addiction and homelessness, they are helping to keep vulnerable people safe and encouraging them to use harm reduction strategies and to pursue recovery.”

Their work with clients experiencing addiction and mental health issues is extensive and plays a major role in providing the support and aftercare that many of patients require.

Dr. Jeffrey Hans, Opioid Agonist Prescribing Physician, Miramichi

Dr. Jeffrey Hans is a physician who works tirelessly to provide excellence in care and treatment for individuals living with opioid and substance use disorders in the Miramichi region.

“Dr. Hans demonstrates his care and concern for his patients by encouraging them to achieve better in life and is always willing to meet them where they are,” the nomination reads. “Dr. Hans is very compassionate to clients and has been a tremendous advocate of our clinic and the multi-disciplinary team.”

In addition to his transformative work with clients, Dr. Hans is constantly educating staff and community partners about addiction and life-changing services that are available to support recovery.

Dr. Hans retired from his family practice in 2020 but maintains his prescribing license through the New Brunswick College of Physicians and Surgeons and devotes his professional time to the Miramichi Recovery Clinic, the Elsipogtog Wellness Center, and the Inpatient Addiction Unit at Horizon’s Miramichi Regional Hospital.

Youth QUEST Central, Moncton

Youth QUEST Central (YQC) is a multi-resource centre for youth aged 16 to 24 who are either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless and is operated by Youth Impact Jeunesse.

“YQC serves as a fundamental entry point for young people who are struggling with different degrees of homelessness,” the nomination reads. “It provides youth with a safe place to go to get services; and more importantly, it provides them with a place to belong. YQC moves youth from risk to resilience.”

The facility includes laundry and shower facilities, computer access, academic upgrading, job-readiness training, information sessions, counselling, directional planning, artistic and recreational programming, and access to other agency programs.

The goal is to help youth and their families reduce or eliminate the conditions acting as obstacles to their success.

Fresh Start Services for Women, Saint John

Fresh Start’s goal is to reach women who are at the lowest point in their lives by giving them support and access to available resources and programs and, helping them attain stability and achieve self-sufficient lives.

“The organization seeks to advocate for clients, connect them with available resources and give them the best support to have quality, self-sufficient lives,” the nomination reads.

The team at Fresh Start works with a number of addiction and mental health clients, and ensures they are connected to appropriate resources including housing, primary health care and access to addiction and mental health services.

The New Brunswick Community Star Award was created in 1997 and is presented annually as part of National Addictions Awareness Week activities. Recipients may be an individual, a group, a business, an organization or a community. The selection criteria involves volunteer work, being a good role model through lifestyle choices and positive attitudes towards alcohol, drugs and gambling, and have an understanding of addictions related issues in their community.