John Volken (right of center), announcing the new chair in Technology Innovations for Youth Addiction Recovery and Mental Health earlier this year. He is being recognized with this year's Thakore Visiting Scholar award, presented by the Thakore Charitable Foundation, SFU's Institute for the Humanities and the department's J.S. Woodsworth chair.


Volken Academy founder honoured with Gandhi-inspired award

October 03, 2017

John Volken, founder of the Volken Academy, which works to help youth battling drug and alcohol addiction, is being honoured with the 2017 Thakore Visiting Scholar Award.

The award is given by the Thakore Charitable Foundation together with SFU’s Institute for the Humanities and the department’s J.S. Woodsworth chair. It goes to an individual whose life emulates the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi.

The award was given during the Gandhi Commemorative Lecture on Oct. 3 at SFU’s Vancouver campus at Harbour Centre.

Volken came to Canada as an immigrant and founded the United Furniture Warehouse. He sold his company and, wanting to give back, created the John Volken Foundation.

The foundation supports an academy, which Volken created after investigating international models of treating addictions, to help people set themselves up for success. He has since established recovery centers in Surrey, Phoenix and Seattle.

Earlier this year, the academy partnered with SFU, the City of Surrey and the Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society to announce the inaugural chair in Technology Innovations for Youth Addiction Recovery and Mental Health, held by SFU professor Faranak Farzan.

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