Children develop within an environment of relationships that begins in the family but also involves other adults who play important roles in their lives. This can include extended family, providers of early care and education, nurses, social workers, coaches and neighbors. These relationships affect virtually all aspects of development- intellectual, social, emotional, physical, and behavioral- and their quality and stability in the early years lay the foundation that supports a wide range of later outcomes.”

I can… act, support, be resilient.

In order to further help our families, and specifically our children, WIN House has created an exciting new program. We recognize that stress or trauma, in any form, can have a significant impact on a child’s development. Research overwhelmingly shows that stressors can become toxic and can impact health throughout the lifespan – therefore, living with domestic violence can have adverse effects for all. At WIN House, we aspire to change those outcomes in childhood; by doing so, we may prevent the cycle from continuing.

To date, we have trained all of our Child Support staff in trauma and brain development. We have assembled a Child Counselling team to advocate for the program and for those enrolled in it. We have strategically developed play for the children to be therapeutic yet fun. Sensory items with our tag “I can” are provided to clients, as this anonymously reflects WIN House and empowers the child. This also reflects our program development:

1st year: I can be resilient
2nd year: I can grow
3rd year: I can recover

This program is only in the first year of its three-year pilot and we still have further elements we wish to implement. If you feel you can help us make an impact in the lives of these children, here are some ways you can help….

1. Ensure that every child has a “toolkit” to take home that nurtures wellness, self-soothing and sensory essentials.
• backpacks
• diary/notebook
• lightly or fun scented hand/body lotions
• individual chapsticks (light scents)
• individual games stimulating cognitive skills
• books – youth or children’s
• cultural items – ie; feathers, charm, pottery

2. Find partners to help build our sensory rooms, thus creating a safe environment that allows for interaction that can address any delays or tackle any problem behaviours.