By Debbie Wasserman and Jodi Zabludowski
(AJNews) – Creating Connections, a project to support local women and children in need debuted in 3 cities across Canada. Launched by National Council of Jewish Women of Canada (NCJWC) with sections in Western Canada (Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver) have initiated unique projects to support their local communities. Financial assistance was provided by International Council of Jewish Women (ICJW), NCJWC, and with financial assistance from International Council of Jewish Women, NCJWC and The Dianne and Irving Kipnes Foundation.
Vancouver Section has initiated the project “Birthday in a Bag.” It was launched in partnership with Atira Women’s Resource Society, a local non-profit that is committed to ending violence against women. Atira provides safe and supported housing to women and children in all of their shelters. Over 30 children living in Sorella House will receive a Birthday in a Bag to celebrate their birthdays. The Birthday Bags will contain a Real Canadian Superstore gift certificate, decorations, treats and a stamped birthday postcard to allow for memories to be shared. NCJWC is looking forward to receiving these postcards with a personal note highlighting celebration details.
Winnipeg Section’s projects contribute to the well-being of the residents of two shelters.
They will support Willow Place, the only emergency domestic violence centre in Winnipeg, and Alpha House, a transitional housing centre which helps victims of domestic violence rebuild their lives. The funding provided to Willow Place will allow for the continuation of their trauma-based yoga program, which provides yoga classes three times a week to help the residents combat stress and acquire some techniques to reclaim control over their bodies. Financial support towards the replacement purchase of a commercial size washer/dryer will be greatly appreciated by the 7 families that receive both housing and counselling at Alpha House.
Edmonton Section makes Outdoor fun at Jessie’s House a reality. Edmonton Section’s funds provided an outdoor play area including a playhouse and sensory toys at an emergency shelter in Morinville, Alberta provided by the Jessica Martel Memorial Foundation, also known as Jessie’s House. The clients, staff and Board are very appreciative of this donation for this 35-bed all gender emergency shelter supporting individuals and families who are fleeing abuse. They stated that “this support provides the most vulnerable members of our community with the safety, hope and healing Jessica was never able to find”. More than just a bed, they provide individualized care, using a proven trauma informed approach that helps break the cycle of violence permanently. After more than 10 years of community grassroots action, Jessie’s House officially opened to residents on May 19, 2020.
“On behalf of our board, staff, and our families, I would like to express my sincerest thank you to the National Council of Jewish Women of Canada (NCJWC) Creating Connections Initiative for creating joy at Jessie’s House,” stated Executive Director Marla Welk. “It is so refreshing to see children playing with the toys and running in and out of the playhouse with smiles on their faces and laughter from their bellies.”
National Council of Jewish Women of Canada (NCJWC), was one of the first Jewish Women’s organization in Canada. It is a volunteer organization that has been a catalyst for change since 1897, fighting to ensure the rights of women, children, and families, people with disabilities and new Canadians through service, education, and social action. NCJWC is looking forward to creating MORE connections as we work to expand this initiative across the country to our other two Sections, Toronto and Simcoe County.
Debbie Wasserman is President of National Council of Jewish Women of Canada and Jodi Zabludowski represents NCJWC in Edmonton.