Did you know that 15% of all violence reported to the police in Canada is within a family? That is an awful statistic.
I recently sat down with Pamela Willis, Executive Director of the Women’s Resource Society of the Fraser Valley. The organization’s head office is in Mission, in a cozy-looking brick building up on the hill. Pamela has a soft voice and unimposing demeanour, but her passion for helping women is powerful. She begins by giving me a brief history of WRSFV, and I’m amazed to learn that the idea of women’s shelters is very new. “We were seen as interfering in private matters when this started in the late 70’s,” Pamela shared, “but today we don’t get accused of breaking up families; instead, we have business partners helping us give women somewhere to go when they experience abuse.” So we in the Fraser Valley are fortunate enough to have programs offered for women and children who come from abuse, living with harmful addictions, working in the sex trade or just having nowhere to go because they’re pregnant or in trouble.
WRSFV has programs to address a variety of problems with women who find themselves in situations they don’t know how to get out of. The Warm Zone is a drop in center in Abbotsford, where women living on the streets can have a hot shower and meal, or come in from the cold and have a nice place to relax. That program sees anywhere from 8- to 120 different women per week. Penny’s Place is part of their housing first initiative, where four women live with a facilitator. Being clean is not a prerequisite to live in Penny’s Place. This unique program meets women where they’re at and provides the most basic of needs for them – a home. The women who live there seek help with their addictions, career training and counselling of their own volition. A lot of success has been seen with this approach to recovery. Talbot House is a home for new Moms, where there is no tolerance for drugs at all. This program focuses on helping Moms learn to parent, and stopping the abuse cycle with the children. All of the homes are safe places where residents have to register and have visitors OK’d for the protection of everyone there.
Pamela wants the Fraser Valley to know that this organisation would not exist without you. She thanks you for all of your support and involvement over the years. WRSFV is making an impact for local women who have no voice, and it’s all because of you.
Women’s Resource Center of the Fraser Valley
33070 5th Avenue,
Helping women and children who have experienced abuse, poverty and addiction by providing clothing, goods, food, lodging, counselling, addictions programs, classes, and connecting them to a network of professionals and peers who are there purely for support.
To provide aid in the form of a caring community for Fraser Valley women who have experienced abuse and addiction.
How you can get involved:
Financial donations are always appreciated. They are also in need of clothing donations for their Thrift Store on 1st Avenue in Mission, and for women and children for WRSFV’s free stores. You can also volunteer at a drop-center, help with a housing project, fundraise and raise awareness…the possibilities are endless!