Donna Jones, who was born and raised in the Cowichan Valley, is the executive director of the documentary ‘Bobbi Jo: Under the Influence’. (Submitted)

Donna Jones, who was born and raised in the Cowichan Valley, is the executive director of the documentary ‘Bobbi Jo: Under the Influence’. (Submitted)

Islander produces documentary offering hope to those with addictions

Donna Jones and husband Brent just released Bobbi Jo: Under the Influence

No matter how bad your life may have gotten, you are not alone and there’s always hope you can get back on track, says Donna Jones.

It’s a lesson that Jones learned from Bobbi Jo Reed, the founder of Healing House in Kansas City who has rescued thousand of people with addictions from the streets since the non-profit organization opened its doors in 2003.

Jones, who was born and raised in Duncan, is the executive producer of a new feature-length documentary called Bobbi Jo: Under the Influence that she developed with her husband Brent, a film maker and director with whom she formed Gold Room Films with the intention of creating socially impactful films.

The documentary is the couple’s first feature film collaboration.

RELATED: Award-winning documentary shares the modern story of Vancouver Island First Nation

RELATED: New mini-documentary shot on Vancouver Island echoes the ‘call of the coastal wolves’

Before Reed began her mission to help others, she first had to help herself, a description of the film reveals.

After a middle class upbringing, Reed turned to drinking and drugs at a young age, and soon after, her life spiralled out of control.

Addiction led to abuse, prostitution, and homelessness.

But when she hit rock bottom, Reed had a spiritual awakening, and with newfound strength, she was lifted out of her personal hell.

That strength gave her the courage to return to the streets to help others.

Jones’s powerful documentary follows Reed into and out of her experiences on the streets, celebrates her recovery, and shows how she is using both of those experiences to serve the more than 8,000 individuals who now call her “Mom”.

Jones, who helped open one of the first Lululemon stores in the U.S. and was the project manager of the construction of the Saddle Ranch Chop House at Universal Studios before she and Brent started Gold Room Films, said when you are with Reed and immersed in her community, you quickly get the feeling that you are simply not doing enough to give back.

“Bobbi Jo has been giving her life to her community 24/7 for 18 years, but she is not just helping people get sober,” Jones said.

“She is literally building an army for good. She’s creating a groundswell of positivity through faith, hope, and love. Every person that Bobbi Jo helps gives it right back. That spirit of helping and giving is infectious.”

Jones said she, Brent and the rest of the film crew spent 40 days with Reed, her helpers and clients and were amazed at what she has accomplished.

“Bobbi Jo is an absolute joy to work with,” she said.

“She doesn’t slow down for anyone and we had to work hard just to keep up with her. She is obsessed with helping and serving people in her community non-stop. We are so grateful that she entrusted us with her story.”

Jones said Reed offers lessons that can be helpful in the Cowichan Valley which, along with many other communities on the Island and beyond, is experiencing its own drug and homelessness crisis.

“I think every community needs a Bobby Jo,” said Jones, who has been coming to the Cowichan Valley regularly to visit her father in Maple Bay for years.

“There really is power in openly sharing your experiences, as Bobbi Jo does, and encouraging others to talk about the deepest, darkest parts of their lives. The message will reach people, like drug addicts, who believe that no one has it as bad as they do. There is power in knowing there are others like you, and that you can reach out and share with them.”

Jones said there is strength in numbers, and sharing with those with similar experiences provides inner strength and provides hope that a better life can lie ahead.

“If there is one thing that Bobbi Jo has taught me is that there is hope for everyone, and everyone is worthy of it,” she said.

Bobbi Jo: Under the Influence is available now on-demand and all major platforms, including iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Arts and Entertainment

Just Posted

First responders on scene at Qwam Qwum Stuwixwulh School south of Nanaimo on Thursday afternoon. (Karl Yu/The News Bulletin)
One child airlifted after quad accident at Nanaimo district school

First responders called to Qwam Qwum Stuwixwulh School at around 3:30 p.m.

B.C. Centre for Disease Control maps showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 4-10. (BCCDC image)
Parksville-Qualicum passes Nanaimo in new COVID-19 cases

B.C. Centre for Disease Control reports 65 new cases in Oceanside health area April 4-10

A nearly four-hour standoff at an apartment complex on Cowichan Lake Road in Duncan ended peacefully on Wednesday, April 14. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Police standoff at Duncan apartment ends peacefully

Officers surround building as homeowner held in apartment for nearly four hours by adult son

Pacific Institution in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media file photo)
Inmate with ties to Victoria dies in Abbotsford institution

Brodie Bingley, who was sentenced for aggravated assault in Maple Ridge died April 13

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The Baynes Sound Connector leaves Denman Island en route to Buckley Bay. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Baynes Sound Connector undergoing upgrades

The MV Quinitsa is providing service between Buckley Bay and Denman Island

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Latest modelling by public health shows cases generated by COVID-19 infections into places where it can spread quickly. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Industrial sites, pubs, restaurants driving COVID-19 spread in B.C.

Infection risk higher in offices, retail, warehouses, farms

Quatse, the abandoned sea otter pup who was rescued in Port Hardy. (Marine Mammal Rescue Centre photo)
Quatse the sea otter pup continues to recover in treatment

Quatse’s last “pupdate” was on March 31, where it was noted she is “doing well and gaining weight.”

Hwy. 4 was shut down in both directions for 10 hours on March 23 as a rock bluff was blasted as part of Kennedy Hill’s ongoing construction. Commuters can expect five more 10 hour closures on five consecutive Wednesdays beginning April 28. (Photo courtesy of Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
Five 10-hour Pacific Rim highway closures planned in the next 6 weeks

Closures needed for rock blasting as part of the Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement project.

Most Read