TRANSFORMATIONS rehabilitation centre will hold its 8th annual Gala event at Jupiters Hotel and Casino on Saturday June 25, raising much-needed funds for its network of residential facilities healing those caught in the deadly grip of addiction.
Hosted by popular SeaFM hosts Charli Robinson and Paul Gale, the Transformations ‘Under the Stars’ Gala Dinner 2016 is a black-tie event in honour of humanity restored through the rehabilitation program, which boasts an outstanding success rate of 75 per cent.
Founded on the Gold Coast in 1999 by executive director and former addict Michael Barrett, Transformations is supported by local law firm The Law Shack (as exclusive event partner) and celebrity ambassador, Gabriel Macht, who plays Harvey Specter the well-known star of popular American TV series, Suits.
Mr Macht, who is married to Barrett’s sister – Australian actor Jacinda Barrett – has seen first-hand the devastation wrought on family and friends of an addict, and urged others to support the “incredible” work of Transformations in reaching out to the abused and homeless.
“I believe wholeheartedly in the work of the Transformations charity in rescuing youths and adults trapped in a cycle of despair,” Mr Macht said.
“Through my extended family, I have seen the dangerous lifestyle of an addict and the issue of recovery is one that is close to my heart.
“The work Transformations is doing in rehabilitating and supporting people who have lost hope is incredible, and I would like to see the service extended to more cities in Australia as well as internationally.”
Although Mr Macht is unable to attend the event, he will be speaking to guests via a live feed.
The event will be held in the Jupiters Marquee and features a lavish three-course meal, a charity auction, prizes and live entertainment by Brown Sugar. Guests will enter the Gala via a red carpet, with a professional photographer on-hand to capture highlights of the night.
Transformations executive director Michael Barrett said this year’s Gala was expected to be the biggest yet, with up to 500 guests anticipated to attend – with all proceeds raised on the night going towards the rehabilitation service.
“As an Australian registered charity, Transformations relies solely on sponsorship and donations to provide recovery and a second chance at life through a holistic residential rehabilitation program addressing homelessness, destitution and addictions,” Mr Barrett said.
“At the moment, we have six campuses Australia-wide, but we want to see a campus in every city, in every state. As well as raising funds needed to grow the service, we aim to make Australia more aware of the need for these residential rehabilitation facilities if we are to eradicate the issue of addiction from the community.”
Graduates of the Transformations program will also speak at the Gala, providing heartening testimonies on the positive impact recovery has had on their lives.
Gold Coast-based champion swimmer Dan Smith is expected to attend the event, celebrating his remarkable comeback from years of addiction to qualify for the Australian Olympic relay team travelling to Rio De Janeiro this year.
Mr Smith graduated from the Hervey Bay Transformations program in 2013 with renewed hope of achieving his childhood dream of swimming for his country at the Olympic Games.
“It got to the point where I was going to die or be put in jail, but thankfully I was connected through a friend to Transformations – and they were the only rehab that would accept me,” Mr Smith said.
“Transformations changed my life. It was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, and I was an elite athlete.
“I had definitely given up on my dream but Transformations not only healed my heart, they restored my hope and gave me that direction I needed in my life to get to where I wanted to be.”
Another former graduate and now Transformations secretary Emily Duncan said the organisation differed from other rehabilitation services in its emphasis on equipping participants to form healthy relationships and function as valuable members of society.
The unique program not only provides accommodation but also targets specific needs through group sessions and practical lessons on issues including conflict resolution, communication skills, identity and self-worth, life skills, as well as literacy and numeracy, workplace ethics and discipline and boundary setting.
“The basis of the program is teaching residents how to give back into other people’s lives, so that the addiction does not consume the person and this approach has seen Transformations achieve the highest success rate in Australia, with 75 per cent of graduates remaining functional members of the community,” Ms Duncan said.
Transformations has six campuses around Australia, including the founding centre in Surfers Paradise, as well as centres in Hervey Bay and Logan in Queensland and facilities in Victoria and Tasmania.