In The News
Exploring the Healing Paths of a Labyrinth - September 24, 2019
Labyrinth’s are becoming integral parts of therapy for people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. A motion has been put forward by St. Catharines council to have a labyrinth in Jaycee Park that would be dedicated to service dogs.
About The Valhalla Project Niagara
The Valhalla Project Niagara acts as an umbrella organization to provide mental health treatment, education, and advocacy with regards to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for the target group of veterans and first responders (Oathtakers).
Its vision is to provide free access to this treatment for the target user.
The cornerstone programs include:
The Learn 2 Live Again program (L2L), is a 5 day residential program which teaches the user basic information about their condition, the several aspects involved in a complete biopsychosocial treatment plan, and various coping mechanisms at their disposal. It includes adventurous group activities such as martial arts, climbing, horses, as well as various meditations. Group therapy sessions will also be delivered to equip the user with basic cognitive and behavioural skills.
The Valhalla Service Dog (VSD) program aims to provide 80 trained service dogs to the end Oathtaker per year. A key facet of the program is to eliminate the fostering aspect with a stranger and dramatically reduce costs. The service dog program is an additional 7 days of residential training. Spouses are welcome to join for this extra seven days for hands on training with the dog. A daily outing will be conducted to acclimatize the dogs and new handlers to various tasks and locations. This program will be funded through sponsorships of the dogs by local and area business / organizations, which will include naming rights for the dogs.
The two programs together would graduate 120 participants including 80 dogs per year. Further, the program would have 40 mentors returning for support and guidance to the current cohort as part of ongoing inclusion in the Valhalla program.
Other aspects of the program are community education programs and fundraising, chaplaincy / peer support and crisis intervention capacity, an Oathtaker Support Group for PTSD, and a free martial arts training initiative known as Veterans Jiu Jitsu.
The Valhalla Project Niagara relies on the support of the community at large in order to provide the resources necessary to provide this treatment.
Why The Valhalla Project Niagara?
Our Objectives & Mission Statements
As a Non-Profit Organization
We are focusing on Military Veterans and First Responders living with PTSD.
Every member on the team is under going their own personal journey living with PTSD. The program aims to pass forward this hard fought experience in a supportive, compassionate, and judgement free environment.
The Valhalla Project Niagara Objectives
To reduce the rate of suicide among Military Veterans and First Responders by providing a program to support, educate and facilitate a better understanding of PTSD.
Utilizing the inherent beauty of the Niagara Region, we will seek to provide our participants with a safe and serene environment where they can engage in personal reflection and meditative activities.
We seek to end the stigma associated to PTSD and allow participants to move forward in to post traumatic growth.
Meet The Team
Graham Bettes is a detective for Peel Regional Police for 29 years. He is a Chaplain/Ordained Minister for The Valhalla Project of Niagara. He served as a Sergeant for the Canadian Armed Forces and currently, a volunteer for the Niagara-On-The-Lake Fire Department. He is an active public speaker for Mental Health Advocacy. Graham is completing his Masters in Counselling Psychology from Yorkville University and has a Bachelor of Applied Arts - Justice Studies from Guelph University. Graham was diagnosed with PTSD in 2012.
Graham Bettes was awarded the Canadian Decoration Medal, the Canadian Peacekeeping Medal, the Queen's Jubilee Medal, United Nation for Cyprus Medal and the Police Exemplary Service Medal.
Shawn Bennett is currently with the St. Catharines Fire Department with 28 year in fire suppression. Shawn retired from the Canadian Armed Forces as a Sergeant. Shawn is a dog trainer and breeder for more than 25 years. He is a Chaplain for the Valhalla Project of Niagara. Shawn was diagnosed with complex PTSD in 2006.
Shawn Bennett was awarded the Canadian Decoration with bar for his service with the Canadian Armed Forces, Federal Exemplary Fire Service Medal with bar for 20 plus 5 years, Provincial Fire Service Medal for 25 years, Queens Jubilee Medal, Scouting Youth Service Award and City of St. Catharines Volunteer Award. Also, nominated for Firefighter Medal for Bravery in 2006.
Melodi Doiron is a professional dog trainer for more than 20 years. She is a Professional Member of the International Association of Canine Professionals and Canadian Kennel Club, Certified Therapy Dogs and PTSD Service Dog Trainer, and the Owner of Sparkwatch Professional Dog Training. Melodi was diagnosed with PTSD in 2002.
Melodi was awarded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal for Volunteer Therapy Dog Programs, the Volunteer of the Year for City of St. Catharines and the YMCA Peace Medallion.
Ken Bettes is currently a police officer for 30 years for the Niagara Regional Police and the Peel Regional Police. Also, Ken was a reservist for the Canadian Armed Forces. Ken was diagnosed with PTSD in 2017.
Ken Bettes was awarded the Police Exemplary Service Medal.
The Valhalla Project Niagara is non-profit organizations. We collect donations to help the First Responders and Military Veterans who are diagnosed with PTSD.
All funds from donations are donated back into the community to assist those who deserve the life they once had. A program put together to support, educate, and facilitate a better understanding of PTSD.
Make a donation to help to create a path to help PTSD individuals to gain back trust, compassion, friendship, empathy and confidence. From your donations, you can help make a difference and help save lives!
Please use the form below to contact us in regards to donation.
Valhalla Project Niagara Service Dog/Puppy Application can be downloaded here.