Thankfully, and regrettably, WIN House (Women In Need) has been a part of the Edmonton community for 50 years. Thankfully because it provides a safe place for women, children, and even their pets to go when they are fleeing dangerous and abusive situations. Regrettably because domestic violence continues to be such a prominent issue that we actually need more WIN Houses to accommodate the volume of women and children in need of this type of refuge (support)..
WIN House has three shelters, two of these homes offer 21 day stays and the third is specifically for immigrant, refugee, and trafficked women and offers them a longer stay period due to the added complexities of their situations. One statistic I was very shocked to learn is that Edmonton is one of the “most active” ports for trafficked women in Canada. The location where the trafficked women come from seems to change frequently, but for some unknown (to me) reason Edmonton acts as a hub for the arrival and distribution of these women.
When women and children arrive at WIN they are provided a safe and undisclosed location at which they are paired with crisis intervention workers to assess their situation and figure out a plan to move forward. Children continue their schooling during this time and there is childcare provided to allow Mom the time she needs to breathe and make a plan. Most of the women and children that come to WIN flee with nothing; WIN has a clothing room in which families can go shopping to get the necessities including undergarments, shoes, clothing, hygiene and personal care products, and more.
The 21 day stay period may sound short, and it is; however it is enough time for these women to catch their breath and have access to critical resources to establish their steps moving forward. WIN relies on the donation and support of the community in order to continue helping these women and their families.
While donations, both monetary and goods, are extremely important, you can also help out by educating yourself on WIN House and domestic violence and sharing this information with your network. Knowledge is power and the more people that know about WIN the more support they are able to build to continue doing their incredible work.
Domestic violence is a cause very close to my heart and has had a significant impact in my life. I am honoured to be a WIN House Volunteer Ambassador to represent them in the community and share the work that they do. I can attend events as a representative of WIN House as well as provide 3rd party support. I was a part of the 2018 Win for WIN Golf Tournament, which is an incredible annual fundraiser for WIN.
I am very proud of the generous donations being provided for WIN House monthly by the women of Elevate. Elevate is a society for women, we meet monthly, and in lieu of a cost to attend the event, I ask for a donation for WIN based on what the shelters are currently in need of.
If you want to learn more about WIN House and how you can help, go to their website www.winhouse.org If you are in need of help you can reach their 24/7 Helpline at 780.479.0058.
The Virtual Effect