ABOUT JOHN VOLKEN ACADEMY
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.
TREATMENT & ASSESSMENT
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.
ACCOMMODATIONS & AMENITIES
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.
WHAT ALUMNI SAY
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. 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.”
WHAT FRIENDS & FAMILY SAY
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.  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.
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