After 25 years of dedicated service, Nicole Boucher has stepped down as the Executive Director of Harvest House Ministries. She will continue to share her expertise and skills as an independent contributor. Over the years, Nicole has been a valuable part of Harvest House and we are grateful that she plans to continue contributing to the success of the ministry.
In February 2019, Harvest House’s Board of Directors appointed Dr. Gary Wand (Hon.) as the new Executive Director of Harvest House Ministries! Gary has been an important part of Harvest House for 33 years and served as the Director of Program for the past 15 years. His previous decades of experience will be a huge asset as he moves into this new position.
Gary’s story is a miracle. When Gary came to Harvest House in 1985, he was using drugs and alcohol on a daily basis and had been living in rooming houses and shelters for a period of about two years. He had tried going to Alcoholics Anonymous, but just couldn’t manage to stay sober. “In the end, I was suicidal and couldn’t cope without using prescription or illicit drugs daily,” Gary said.
Since coming to Harvest House and turning his life over to God, Gary’s life has drastically changed. The recovery process wasn’t easy or immediate, but at Harvest House Gary found support, concern, and daily accountability.
“One of the keys to my recovery was a prayer I prayed just after I came to Harvest House,” he said, “It was, ‘Lord make me willing to be willing to do your will.’” Over 30 years later, Gary is still sober and has become an astounding example of recovery and right living, leading others to turn their lives around as well.
Gary says that the model of treatment at Harvest House greatly contributed to his change. “The staff serve as mentors and role models and demonstrate their concern by maintaining high expectations for improved behaviour and minimizing excuses,” Gary said, “The staff are always prepared to share their experiences in order to relate to the residents.”
In 1986, he graduated from the program and since then he has been serving at Harvest House, offering others the love, support, and accountability that he experienced. He began as a counsellor, then moved into the position of program co-ordinator, and for the past 15 years he served as Director of Program.
During his time at Harvest House, Gary made many notable educational achievements; chief among them is his recently awarded honorary doctorate. After graduating from the program, Gary began investing in his education by completing a diploma program in counselling for drug and alcohol dependencies. Over the years, he has taken many courses and training programs in areas such as non-profit sector management, relapse prevention, public speaking, human relations, and anger management facilitation, to name a few.
Gary’s commitment to professional development also led him to support other counsellors in their educational training. As Chair of the Education Committee for the Alcohol and Drug Recovery Association of Ontario, he coordinated training workshops for addiction counsellors and for many years he served as a board member with the Addiction Intervention Association and the Therapeutic Communities of America. He also mentored and designed a training curriculum for Harvest House’s most recent counsellors, Chris and Corey, who attained their professional certifications at the end of 2018.
In 2012, Gary completed a Master of Arts degree and in 2016 the Canadian Christian Theological Seminary granted him an honorary doctorate in recognition of his vast experience serving in ministry. Gary’s success is an incredible example of just how far Harvest House graduates can go when given the opportunity!
For the past 33 years, Gary has helped many young men in their battles with drugs and alcohol. Drawing on both his personal experiences and extensive professional expertise, Gary equips Harvest House residents with the recovery tools they need to maintain a lifetime of sobriety and success. Having been there himself, Gary is able to counsel those in the depths of addiction with compassion, empathy, and wisdom. By sharing about his own struggles and victories, he leads and teaches by example.
Gary’s faithfulness, commitment to recovery and compassion for those in the throes of addiction have made him a pillar in the Harvest House community. Gary’s story shows how someone can use both their struggles and successes to positively impact and change the lives of so many people. We are so blessed to have him as the next Executive Director of Harvest House Ministries.