Associates Outreach to Abused Women
At Christmas, the Galilee Associate Community made a donation to Interval House. We received an invitation to tour their home and on August 19, 2013, Julia Jacobs, Marie Theresa Wong, Theresa Franco, Mary Huan and Eugenia Nahorniak visited.
- Canada’s first centre for abused women and children is celebrating 40 years of service and the need is greater than ever
- The centre’s mission: to end violence against women
- The centre’s commitment: to support women and children escaping abuse — 365 days a year.
- Provided shelter for 63 women and 65 children in 2011-2012
- Offered over 350 hours of children’s activities: art therapy, baking, gardening, individual and group counselling, recreational activities and referrals to community resources
- Provided a Building Economic Self-Sufficiency (BESS) Program which enables women to find jobs that lead to raises and promotions, the ability to purchase homes...
- Responded to over 800 crisis calls each year.
Associates shared the following thoughts after our visit:
"What came to mind when I left Interval House is the word Sanctuary, 'a place of refuge and protection.' It is a place where abused women and children find a peaceful environment and get the help they need to regain self-esteem and move on...
"Like the Gospel story of the 'mustard seed,' a few women planted the seed 40 years ago, and with God’s grace, it grew into a big tree where abused women and children can take shelter and refuge."
"I was impressed with the programs for children. The staff helps the children express their feelings through activities held in the playroom. The counsellors show the children that conflicts can be resolved in a peaceful way through give-and-take and in a non-violent manner. During the course of the stay, a male and female counsellor role play peaceful adult conflict resolution."
"The spirit of generosity, respect and dignity that fills the home touched me deeply. Staff, counsellors and volunteers are the healing Presence of God among them. The outreach that is provided has a ripple effect to the rest of society which responds to their aid in many different ways: housing, donations, employment, furniture bank...
"Their BESS program is successful as women find work that leads to career and self sufficiency. Children whose lives were changed through Interval House are now giving back to society.
"We must do our part to end domestic violence by supporting this good work through prayers and donations (financial, domestic goods and time as a volunteer)."
By Theresa Franco