Annual General Meeting – 30 Years!

You’re Invited

The Bridges for Women Staff and Board of Directors are excited to come together at the 30th Annual General Meeting on June 27th, 2018.  This is an important time to celebrate the accomplishments, growth and 30 years of trauma-informed services provided by Bridges for Women to our participants, graduates, and community partners.
Program starts at 5:30pm at Camosun College Landsdowne Campus in the Wilna Thomas Building.

This year in preparation for the changes to the Societies Act of British Columbia, we have amended our Constitution and Bylaws. Please click on the following link to review these changes – Amended Constitution & Bylaws.

FEATURED SPEAKER:

 Carla Funk, Poet 

Carla was born and raised in Vanderhoof, the geographical centre of British Columbia and one of the earliest Mennonite settlements in the province. Though she left Vanderhoof after high school and has lived on Vancouver Island for a quarter of a century, she still returns in her writing to her childhood hometown, her family, those long Sunday sermons, and the rumble of her father’s logging truck coming down the drive. She has published five books of poetry, the most recent of which is Gloryland. Carla is currently polishing a creative nonfiction collection about small-town childhood and spiritual imagination.

WHERE?

Wilna Thomas Building
Camosun College Lansdowne Campus, Victoria, BC

WHEN?

Wednesday, June 27th 2018

5:00pm to 8:00pm

DRIVING DIRECTIONS AND PARKING:

Ample parking is available in the P1 Parking lot, off of Lansdowne Road (turning left into the lot is permitted). All parking at Camosun College is pay parking.

Rates: Short Term – $0.50/15 min; 4 hours – $3.25

Public transit is also accessible with bus routes 4, 7, 8, 14 & 15x.

I Am Stronger Than I Have Ever Been

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On December 5th, 2017, a graduate of Bridges sent us an update on her life journey. This is her story and she wants to share it with you. She writes:

“I started Bridges in May of 2016, when I was at my lowest low, I had recently left the man I thought I would spend my life with, even with the abuse, I was scared to leave. I was scared of him and was terrified to be a single mom of 4. I had lost my kids for 3 years due to his behaviour, and learned to make excuses for him and why he was the way he was.

I walked in and met with an intake counselor, told her a little glimpse into my life and she told me I would benefit from there program, I started that afternoon. I was so nervous as I didn’t know anyone and didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t want to share my war stories, cause I didn’t want to seem dumb for staying in the situation. I walked in and met some really wonderful, understanding people…people just like me.. people who became my family.  Through my duration at Bridges I learned it was OK to say no and to stand up for myself…and that NO was a complete sentence. Through many sessions with my trauma counselor, some were good, some were hard, and she was so understanding, compassionate, and genuine. I never felt like I was being judged for the things that were going through my head, or the things that had happened in my life that I thought were normal. I started piecing my broken puzzle back together..(Absolutely love my counselor) I grew a backbone.. I was contacted by my ex and took him back over and over again, with promises he was going to get better.. I finally had enough when I looked and saw all the work I was doing to make my life better for my kids and I, I finally walked away from him. It was a huge relief, like a million pounds had been lifted off my shoulders.

I wouldn’t have been able to do any of it without the help I received from bridges. I graduated from bridges in Nov 2016 and thought to myself… now what.. I was contacted by the Bridges employment counselor in February of 2017, and she told me she could help me get funded for school…. OMG. I can’t do school. I have 4 kids, I don’t have time… but I listened.. I attended every Friday and worked my butt off… I went to Sprott Shaw and talked to the student advisor.. told him my situation and he told me about this wonderful health care course that I would be so great at. So I got the papers and brought them the employment counselor.. it was aloooot of work… and we didn’t think id make it for the April cut off for my class. The employment counselor was such a great help.. she kept kicking my butt to get things done. I was so frustrated with all the paperwork, I almost gave up.. all I kept thinking was geez woman I’ve done this stupid paper 5 times, and you’re telling me to do it again. I look back now and am thankful that she rode me to do it over, and over, and over again. We handed in my stuff for funding a week and a half before my wanted start date… hoping and praying that I would be accepted. I got a call from Amber society April 14th at 2pm. I had to make my way downtown by 4 to sign the papers. We did it!!!

I recently finished my course Nov 17th.. I couldn’t have done any of my journey without the help from bridges.. I’ve never met more compassionate, caring and understanding people in my whole life. I can’t thank you guys enough.

I AM STRONGER THEN I HAVE EVER BEEN”

Thank you for sharing with us and inspiring others.

The Bridges Team

We're Recruiting for our Board of Directors

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Become a Board member of this gutsy, innovative community agency that offers employment training and supportive programs to inspire women impacted by violence or abuse. Your sound leadership and strategic guidance can help these women to reclaim their lives and build economic stability.

Bridges for Women is looking for board members with expertise in any the following areas: 

Indigenous Community Programs or Leadership, Social Justice, Human Services, Business, Accounting, Communications, Strategic Planning, Fundraising

We ask for:

  • A 2-year commitment
  • Regular attendance at board meetings
  • A collaborative and consultative approach
  • Dedication to teamwork

Learn more about Bridges for Women at bridgesforwomen.ca or on Facebook. Call us at 250.385.7410. Applications will be accepted until 19 May 2016 and are available electronically.

Email us at victoria@bridgesforwomen.ca to request the Board member application.

We look forward to hearing from you.

60 for 60 – Celebrate, Inspire & Give Back with Otti Brown

This year, Otti will be walking the Goodlife Marathon here in Victoria, on October 8, 2017, to celebrate her 60th birthday, to inspire others to reach for their goals, and, most importantly, to raise awareness and funds for Bridges for Women Society.
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60 for 60:

For Otti Brown, there is always more than one way to reach your goals. She is reaching hers as she celebrates her 60th anniversary: to walk a marathon. Her reason for walking the marathon is to inspire others to reach their goals, not matter their age or ability, and to help give back to women in her community. She is encouraging you to pledge today, as she aims to reach 60 pledges for her 60th birthday! 

All pledges will be donated to Bridges for Women programs to help women, impacted by violence and abuse, reclaim their lives and grow a strong, independent future.

Inspired to join her in the marathon? Click on the ‘join as an individual’, on the pledge sheet, and start your pledge page to fundraise for Bridges.

Pledge your support today! (click to pledge)

About Otti:

Otti Brown lives in beautiful Victoria, BC with her husband and two teenage daughters, having moved here in July 2016 from Revelstoke. Otti has worked with WCG Services since March of 2012 and has been involved in workforce development and human resources for over thirty years. Otti believes that a big part of her work is being involved with and supporting the community where she lives. In Revelstoke, she was part of the Rotary Club for several years and volunteered every week at the Revelstoke Animal Shelter with her daughters for seven years. Otti has seen first-hand, through her work and through lived experience, the amazing benefits of programs like Bridges for Women. She has always wanted to “do a marathon” and had hoped to run it; health issues precluded that. There is, however, more than one way to achieve a goal and Otti is an avid walker!

May 28th marks the official start of her 19-week training program – she is kicking it off by walking the “Kool Oak Bay 10k.”  You can follow Otti’s training progress on WCG’s Facebook at facebook.com/wcgservices.

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Annual General Meeting – June 15th

The Bridges for Women Staff and Board of Directors are excited to come together, once again for its Annual General Meeting on June 15th, 2017.  This is an important time to celebrate the accomplishments, growth and 29 years of trauma-informed services provided by Bridges for Women to our participants, graduates, and community partners. Program starts at 5:00pm at Camosun College Landsdowne Campus in the Na’tsa’maht (“the Gathering Place”), followed by a reception in the Wilna Thomas Building. The AGM business, special resolutions and the election of the Board of Directors commences at 6:45pm.
GUEST SPEAKERS AND PERFORMANCES:

Ann-Bernice Thomas

Youth Poet Laureate of Victoria, Spoken Word Artist,
Actor, Activist, Film Make

Ann-Bernice Thomas has been in love with writing ever since she was a little girl. From poetry to stories to stage plays and picture books, she wrote and read everything she could. In grade 12, Ontario had its first high school slam competition, where her English teacher insisted she join the school’s team. The transition between page poetry and spoken word was one of the most difficult and downright cringe-worthy processes she has ever experienced, but somewhere along the road, she fell in love with the art of Spoken Word and never looked back.
Two years later, Ann-Bernice became the Youth Poet Laureate of Victoria. She uses her voice to rally social change, discussing immigration, identity, feminism, sexual education, mental health, and racism. She has performed at Victoria’s Ferguson Rally, The Scotiabank Aids Walk for Life, and stage-managed and performed in the Applied Theatre show Waste Management. This show toured to different high schools, discussing dumpster diving, capitalism, and the world of waste we have created for ourselves.Spoken word helped Ann-Bernice find the importance of her voice, changing her life in the most unexpected of ways. Now she aims to pass the gift of voice on to those that so often go unheard, so they can tell their tales that are aching to be told.

Learn more about Ann-Bernice at: www.wildwomanpoetry.com


Councillor Jeremy Loveday

Elected in 2014, Jeremy is passionate about making Victoria more affordable, sustainable, and vibrant. He is drawn to local politics because of the concrete nature of the decisions that need to be made and a deep love for the City of Victoria.  So far, he has found each day as a Councilor challenging and rewarding. He is driven by the belief that Victoria can be one of the greatest small cities in the world and that our residents have the ideas, drive, creativity, and passion to make it happen.
Jeremy is perhaps most well-known for using his award-winning spoken word poetry to speak out about important issues. In 2014, he made headlines around the world when one of his videos advocating against gender violence went viral online. He is the Founder and Director of Victorious Voices Youth Arts Festival and was the champion of the City of Victoria’s Youth Poet Laureate Program; the first of its kind in Canada.
Jeremy is action-oriented and leads collaboratively. You can often find him riding his bicycle, working with youth, or meeting with residents in local coffee shops. Jeremy grew up in James Bay, currently resides in Fernwood, and holds a degree from Concordia University in Montreal.

WHERE?
Na’tsa’maht, The Gathering Place – click link for campus map
Camosun College Lansdowne Campus, Victoria, BC
WHEN?
Thursday, June 15th 2017

5:00pm to 8:00pm

DRIVING DIRECTIONS AND PARKING:

Ample parking is available next to The Gathering Place / Na’Tsa’Maht in the P1 Parking lot, off of Landsowne Road (turning left into the lot is permitted). All parking at Camosun College is pay parking.
Rates: Short Term – $0.50/15 min; 4 hours – $3.25
Public transit is also accessible with bus routes 4, 7, 8, 14 & 15x.

Informational Webinar for Revelstoke & Salmon Arm – September 29th, 2016 at 2PM

Are you a front line worker or program manager in Revelstoke and/or Salmon Arm looking for employment services to support women impacted by violence, abuse and/or trauma?

Bridges for Women Society offers a low-barrier, online employment program designed to help women heal and move towards successful training and/or employment. We have been offering services to women for over 25 years in the Victoria area. With a newly developed online program, we recognize that women in remote and rural areas also need access to specialized employment programs, trauma counselling and support.

This webinar is intended for front line workers and program managers who offer services to women in need, including employment agencies; transition houses; treatment centers; family resource centers and community based organizations, in the Revelstoke and Salmon Arm areas.

Join us for an informational webinar on Thursday, September 29th from 2:00-4:00 PM (pacific time), and expect to:

  • learn more about the online, supportive program and how to refer women to this service;

    Steph Alegha Computer2

    Meet Stephanie & Alegha, Bridges Online Facilitators

  • provide a brief overview of our organization; and
  • build relationships and share resources amongst organizations in both the Revelstoke and Salmon Arm area.

We hope you can join us in this opportunity to connect, learn, and build relationships!

To register or find out more information, email alegha@bridgesforwomen.ca.

 

Ensemble Laude Women's Choir – Benefit Concert

The world-renowned Ensemble Laude Women’s Choir has chosen Bridges for Women Society to benefit from tickets sales for their upcoming choir concert. Tickets are $20.

On September 11th, 2016 at 3pm – come hear the beautiful sounds of Ensemble Laude Women’s Choir for a creative blend of medieval repertoire and contemporary choral works in a concert titled Flight, with Elizabeth MacIsaac as Artistic Director and Carolyn Howe as Associate Director. Ensemble Laude celebrates the beauty and resilience of women’s vocal traditions through the ages and seek to share this art form through joyful, soulful, and life-enhancing performances that gladden the heart, lift the spirit, and expand the mind. Beautiful!

Look them up and hear a sample of their amazing work at www.ensemblelaude.org

Tickets available online at: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/ensemble-laude-womens-choir-flight-tickets-27155196925

Tickets also available for purchase at Long & McQuade, Ivy’s Bookstore, and Munro’s Books.

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Women’s Centre empowers and helps women grow

Women’s Centre empowers and helps women grow

Jodi Boyd (far left) joins some of the Campbell River Women’s Centre staff and volunteers  following a Volunteer Appreciation Lunch this week. - Lindsay Chung/Campbell River Mirror

Jodi Boyd (far left) joins some of the Campbell River Women’s Centre staff and volunteers following a Volunteer Appreciation Lunch this week.

— image credit: Lindsay Chung/Campbell River Mirror

When she thinks about the people who shaped her career, Jodi Boyd, the new executive director of the Campbell River Women’s Centre, thinks about a group of strong women who believed in her.

One of her first jobs was at a women’s centre in Yellowknife.

“As a young single parent myself, I used the services of a women’s centre and at the time, the executive director saw some value in me and believed in me,” she said. “I was offered a job and worked in an administrative role. I soon left and ended up working for a female lawyer, which led to the government, where my supervisors were women, and finally took me where I am today. All of these women believed in me, employed me and educated me by putting me through college and finally university — all by correspondence. Without each and every one of them, I certainly wouldn’t be who I am today.”

And now, Boyd is looking forward to helping and empowering women in her community in her new role.

Boyd, who is originally from Campbell River and is returning after spending 24 years in the north, started working at the Campbell River Women’s Centre (CRWC) in mid-March.

Boyd’s background is in administrative management and she most recently spent four years living and working in the Yukon. She is looking forward to being involved in the community in which she lives and to building more relationships with the other agencies that provide similar services in the community and in the North Island.

One of Boyd’s main goals in her new job is to work towards some major fundraising to support a move for the women’s centre.

“Our current offices are much too small for our services,” she said. “We would also like to make people more aware of who we are and what services we provide to our women.”

As well, Boyd hopes to “empower our women at all ages, in collaboration with our other groups and similar services within the North Island, all while building capacity within our community.”

“What I enjoy about this role is watching our women be empowered,” she said. “They have an opportunity to grow, we have an opportunity to mentor and it’s a fantastic place to be.”

The CRWC has 18 volunteer staff, six direct staff members and a board of directors of five. The centre helps women who have low incomes or who have had to flee a bad situation and have nothing with them by providing hygiene products, secondhand clothing, bedding and blankets, winter coats, clothing for job interviews and much more.

As well, women coming into the centre can receive emotional support, help filling out forms and referrals to places they can go.

“If we don’t know, we try to find out for them,” said Linda Schulz, the centre’s drop-in co-ordinator. “We do that because if you leave an abusive relationship and you don’t know anything and you’re sent from here to there by people, there are a lot of barriers. The doctor might send you this place and then that’s not the right place, and they send you someplace else; it can go on and on and that starts to feel like just too much; it makes people want to give up. So here, we can tell you where to go; we know the resources in town. Whatever needs to be done, we try to do it, and if we can’t, we refer them to where they can.”

The centre also offers the Bridges employment readiness program, which is sponsored by Bridges for Women Victoria, the North Island Employment Foundations Society (NIEFS) and the Government of Canada.

“What makes it different from other employment programs is it recognizes that women that have been in abusive relationships or suffered addictions or abuse, they have trauma and that can be a barrier for them to keep working,” said Schulz. “They may have a lot of failures at work because they’ve been triggered or they have a night where they have terrible nightmares and they can’t make it in, so this employment program talks about those traumas and normalizes them for people and gives them strategies on how to work through them so they’re not failing at work or school.”

There is also crisis or supportive counselling at the centre, which Schulz calls “emotional first aid.”

“We keep people OK until they can get to a professional,” she said.

The CRWC also provides computers for people to look for jobs or housing, which is an incentive through NIEFS. They run workshops that give women a chance to work on their self-esteem or an opportunity to be creative, for example, and the centre hosts events such as an upcoming Beauty Day in May where women can get a haircut or facial.

The Women’s Centre also works with other agencies and takes part in a lot of awareness events such as International Women’s Day or The Clothesline Project, which is coming up April 19 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Spirit Square as part of Prevention of Violence Against Women Week.

The Campbell River Women’s Centre is open to the public Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Community Development Workshop: Friday October 30th

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community development workshop:
“2015 and beyond – Girls and women shaping the local and international agenda”

Join Lorena Alvarez and Tina Parbhakar, a lawyer with the BC Ministry of Justice with a background in international relations, for a discussion about development looking specifically at women’s empowerment in BC and globally.

Friday, October 30th 2:00 – 3:00pm
Bridges for Women Society
1809 Douglas Street, Victoria BC

OPEN HOUSE – October 9 2015

Bridges for Women is celebrating at our expanded location with an Open House Grand Opening and we would love to see YOU there!

It was a busy summer for Bridges for Women! We have now settled in to a new space that gives us “room to breathe”. Please come and join us at our Open House and experience how our new space will support even more women who need Bridges vital programs. 
We look forward to seeing you at our new office:
1809 Douglas Street, Victoria, BC V8T 4K5 from 2:30pm-6:00pm