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John Volken Academy

126601 S. Val Vista Dr., Gilbert, Arizona, 85249
The John Volken Academy is a long-term residential rehab that follows a therapeutic community model to treat alcohol and drug addiction. The facility believes that peer-to-peer interaction, support and accountability is crucial when it comes to recovery. The Academy also helps individuals make healthy lifestyle changes while encouraging them to further their educations and/or career paths. Led by a team of addiction professionals, healthy-living specialists and psychologists, clients are guided through four “essential elements” for a successful recovery (the cause, sufficient time, a new lifestyle and necessary tools). Once completed, clients (who are referred to as “students” at the Academy) graduate as responsible, contributing members of society, with the will and the tools to become the best that they can be.

Facility Highlights

  • Valuable Workshops
  • Career Training
  • Leadership Skills Development


  • Individual Therapy

    This term describes one-on-one therapy, in which a patient and trained counselor, social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist meets privately with a patient to discuss challenges related to lifestyle, work, family and romantic relationships that may have contributed to the development of an addiction.
  • Residential Treatment

    Residential treatment programs provide housing (food and meals) in addition to treatment for substance abuse. Some facilities offer only short-term residential treatment, some offer only long-term treatment and others offer both, ranging from a few days to many months, based on patient needs.

Facility Settings

  • Average Location/Amenities

Meet the Staff

  • John Volken
    John VolkenFounder
    John is often asked about his charitable work. His answer is simple “Helping others has brought me tremendous joy and satisfaction. I believe that once we have provided for our families, we should then work for the good of all; whether it be the arts, amateur sports, public office … whatever you may choose. There are so many opportunities to make this a better world. Personally, I am motivated by Matthew, chapter 25, verse 40: In as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Treatment Center Links

Rehabs 360 Guide


The John Volken Academy (JVA) is a nonprofit organization based in Vancouver, British Columbia and operates three treatment centers in British Columbia, Seattle, Wa., and Gilbert, Ariz. The Gilbert facility is located at the Welcome Home Ranch in Maricopa County in the desert near the San Tan Mountains.

Each facility offers an identical long-term residential treatment program for young men and women ages 18 to 32. Long-term residential treatment facilities make up only 20.4 percent of facilities in Arizona.


According to the organization's website, the JVA addiction recovery program is modeled after the therapeutic community approach to addiction treatment, meaning that treatment is group-based and highly structured. Members of the group, referred to as "students," are expected to assist one another, with more senior members providing instruction and leadership.

Treatment lasts a minimum of two years, with an average stay of 28 months. At the center of the John Volken Academy’s philosophy is the belief that addiction recovery relies on four elements: addressing the underlying cause of addiction; healing the brain; adopting a new lifestyle, attitude, and behavior; and building the tools necessary to handle life’s challenges.

Residents wake at 6 a.m. Monday to Saturday for a healthy breakfast and their assigned chores. Throughout their long-term stay, young men and women attend the “Life Skills Training Center,” where they’ll spend their time in career training, group counseling sessions, community activities, and personal development work. Along with recovery-related programming, students are also encouraged to complete three hours of post-secondary education online daily.


The organization’s founder, John Volken, is an entrepreneur and philanthropist. Though no specific accreditation is listed, the organization's website notes that clients receive consultation from addiction professionals and healthy-living specialists.


Students at the Welcome Home Ranch live in a state-of-the-art center. The ranch has an equestrian center that boards horses and hosts special events, which students help manage, and workout facilities.

Three healthy meals and two snacks are provided daily, and clients sleep in shared rooms for up to three people. Approved visits and occasional outings take place on Sundays.


B.M., the single alum surveyed by Rehabs.com to date, gave a highly negative review of their six-month stay. Despite their appreciation of the student-run environment, B.M. told of “expired food that will mess with your digestion,” “bait and switch” tactics, and of an extended waiting period before being able to take any classes.

Feedback from alumni on secondary review sites was mostly positive (though most reviewers did not specify at which of the three locations they were). On Google, 14 individuals gave the organization an average rating of 3.8 out of five stars.[1] In a representative positive review, Lisa described the organization an “Incredible long term program to change your life forever.”

However, a former participant of the Arizona facility did not agree and was critical of the work-therapy aspect of the facility. “Do not believe the lies they say on their website,” she wrote, further stating that “all day and do hard backbreaking labor on barns and arenas that would take thousands of dollars to pay a company to do.”


Three loved ones polled by Rehabs.com as of this date gave the facility perfect five-star ratings for the facility's accommodations and overall effectiveness. Representative reviewer Theresa strongly recommended the facility to others, writing, "If you are really ready to purge yourself of the pain of addiction this is the place that will offer relief."

On Facebook, which the the facility can manage, JVA received overwhelmingly positive feedback from 23 individuals, who offered the organization an average rating of 4.4 out of five stars. [2] Parent Lisa wrote: "I am so grateful for the John Volken Academy. It saved our son. He has only been there 9 months and he is like a new person."


According to the organization’s webpage, the John Volken Academy is sponsored by private charitable foundations, meaning that treatment is free except for a one-time intake fee of $5,000.

[1] GoogleReviews
[2] https://www.facebook.com/pg/VolkenAcademy/reviews/

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