Five decades ago, when a group of compassionate Edmontonians banded together to provide shelter for victims of domestic violence, the world was a very different place. Domestic abuse wasn’t discussed openly, and women seeking safety and support had few options.
That shelter, opened in 1968, would eventually become what we know today as WIN House, but the journey wouldn’t be easy. I can only imagine how Ruth Pinkney, our fi rst Executive Director, felt about the enormous
task of leading a new organization that would be the fi rst emergency women’s shelter in Edmonton. She must have been excited and a bit humbled by the challenge.
Much has changed since then. Thanks to the passing of federal and local laws, and decades of hard work, advocacy, and public education by many people, individuals experiencing domestic violence now have access to more resources, services, and understanding than ever before. Over the past 50 years, WIN House has provided safe shelter and support to more than 40,000 women and children throughout Edmonton.
But this is no time to rest on our laurels. New challenges continue to emerge in our community, and WIN House must grow and adapt to address them. We continue to develop our programs and services for women and children experiencing domestic violence, such as intensive case counselling, outreach services, the Pet Safekeeping program, and harm reduction. We’re also expanding our child trauma program, providing training on trauma and brain development and offering therapeutic and sensory techniques. We hope to expand this program and create a sensory room to help support children’s development and nurture their resiliency in a safe therapeutic environment.
Looking at the combined strength of our wonderful staff, Board of Directors, and volunteers, I’m optimistic about the future of this great organization. I’m grateful to be a part of WIN House and so very proud to be at the helm as we embark together on the next 50 years.
Tess Gordey, MSW Executive Director