Yearly Archives: 2016

Holiday Joy!

Getting in the Holiday Spirit

SWOVA held a gathering of Staff, Board and their partners to celebrate the winter holiday season whether it be Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule or any other tradition.  We held a potluck at the beautiful new venue of Twig & Buoy at 321 Fernwood Road. Owners Andrea and Roberta generously offered their space for our gathering, complete with complimentary wood fired pizza, various tasty nibblies and outstanding service!  We would like to offer our sincere gratitude to Andrea and Roberta for rounding out our potluck with delicious food & drink contributions and providing so warm and welcoming a setting.  Twig & Buoy is targeting Valentine’s Day for their official Grand Opening and we encourage you to support this wonderful new business on our Island!

Whatever tradition you celebrate this holiday season, may it be filled with light and love, peace & prosperity.

The Staff and Board of SWOVA

Annual General Meeting

SWOVA Log (Tag, Square 01)

 Annual General Meeting
Thursday, December 1st, 2016

5:00 – 7:00p.m. at the SWOVA office

344 Lower Ganges Road, SSI

* Members are welcome *

For more information, contact:

250-537-1336 or

Survey: Boys & Young Men


SWOVA’s ‘Pass It On – Engaging Boys and Young Men Council’ is soliciting input from boys and young men 13-19 years (cis- trans- & non-binary inclusive) in our 5- minute online survey (link provided here). This is a project coordinated by David Norget and generously funded through grants from the Salt Spring Foundation and the Ministry of Justice (BC Civil Forfeiture) with additional sponsorship from Country Grocer.

The survey will be active until Friday, Dec 2nd with results shared in Jan 2017.
Feel free to direct any questions to: Thank you for your support!


Pass It On: Boys logo

2016-17 Membership & Fundraising Appeal


November 2016

Dear Friends of SWOVA,


SWOVA engages this Fall season with all the excitement and creativity that new staff and new programs bring.  Our new Executive Director, Kiran Dhingra and her staff, share the passion that has inspired SWOVA’s work for the last twenty years – a passion for violence-prevention programming and the mentorship of tomorrow’s leaders.

Those young leaders are the best spokespeople for SWOVA’s programs:

Maja Nordine, Respectful Relationships & Youth Team participant 6+ years; 2016 grad:

“I truly believe this program works. It’s all the stuff you’re expected to know entering teenage and adulthood but aren’t taught. Things that are considered common sense like how to manage stress and anxiety, how to talk to your peers and people of authority confidently and respectfully, how to be assertive, consent, empathy, and most importantly how to prevent violence towards other people and yourself…”

High School Mentor of Grade 8 girl through Pass It On, Girls’ Program, Spring, 2016:

“It’s empowering and inspiring and talks about legit (not sugar-coated) stuff.  So vital!” 

High School member, Council of new Pass It On, Boys’ Program, September, 2016:

“I have only attended two Councils and already I notice a difference in the ways I am acting.”

Empowered young people may be the island’s greatest export.  Wherever they go, we know they will use the communication and conflict resolution skills they’ve developed through SWOVA.

Please consider supporting SWOVA and investing in tomorrow’s leaders. Then take the next step–become a member of SWOVA today. Members stay connected to our work through quarterly newsletters and receive news of our events such as our International Women’s Day Gala.

We know empowerment goes both ways: those who enable our programs get to belong to a vibrant, equitable and healthy community.  Thank you for your support of SWOVA.

Please join/renew your membership on or before Thursday, December 1, 2016 to have voting rights at our Annual General Meeting.  Time and place to be announced, watch our website and Facebook page and the “What’s On” calendar in the Driftwood.  

Click HERE to renew/purchase your membership or make a donation.

Click HERE to read about the most recent additions to our our programs!





Sarah Belknap
Chair of the Board, SWOVA


We’re hiring! Male Facilitator – Contract

Position Title:  Male Facilitator, Respectful Relationships Program (“RR”)rr-logo

Contract: November 1, 2016 – May 30, 2017


The successful candidate will have education, job skills and training in the areas of youth violence prevention, social justice, community organizing and classroom facilitation.

The Male Facilitator will report to SWOVA’s Program Director and act in a co-facilitation capacity for delivery of the Respectful Relationships Program during both classroom and afterschool sessions in Grades 7-12 in School District #64. Your primary role will be to create a supportive space for youth while actively engaging students in social and emotional learning, youth violence prevention education, unique games and activity and modeling positive attitudes. Delivery of high quality programming is fundamental in this role.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Encourage and assist youth to further develop life and living skills
  • Implement routines and activities to provide a safe and secure space for youth
  • Lead healthy discussions with youth
  • Assist youth in developing and practicing problem solving, conflict resolution and communication skills
  • Train RR youth team members in Leadership and Facilitation
  • Act as a liaison between the program and various stakeholders in the community
  • Familiarity with the social, emotional, cultural, physical and environmental barriers facing youth
  • Contribution to a creative and positive work environment dedicated to social justice, community health and safety

Approximately 20-25 hours per week average over the course of this contract. Flexibility will be required with some weeks being full time hours and other weeks less than 20. A clean criminal record check will be a requirement of this position.

Please forward your resume to

Posting Ends: Oct 20, 2016 at 4pm

After Ghomeshi – a speaker event at Salt Spring Forum Sept 30/16

After Ghomeshi: Sexual Assault & Canadian Law – An Evening with Sandy Garossino

After Ghomeshi: Sexual Assault & Canadian Law – An Evening with Sandy Garossino

30 Sep 2016
7:30 pm – 9:15 pm

Beaver Point Hall

The Jian Ghomeshi trial cast a Canada-wide spotlight on the topic of sexual violence, and raised the question of whether Canadian law needs to be modernized.

Why do so many instances of sexual assault go unreported and of those reported, why are the conviction rates so low? What does this situation say about Canadian society today, and how do we fix it?

Former Crown prosecutor-turned-journalist Sandy Garossino joins the Salt Spring Forum to discuss these important questions and more. This is the first event of the Forum’s Canada 150 series—a special series that explores the great challenges and opportunities facing Canada today.

Sandy Garossino is an associate editor at the National Observer and a powerful voice in Canadian public affairs. She is widely read for her commentary on politics, feminism and sexual assault. Her articles have also become “must reads” for anyone interested in Canadian law and policy.

Please note that this event takes place at Beaver Point Hall. Tickets are on sale through the ArtSpring Box Office at 250.537.2102 and online, or at Salt Spring Books. $15 Forum Members; $20 General Admission.

Listen to Sandy Garossino comment on the the Jian Ghomeshi acquittal (on CBC’s Day Six; March 25, 2016):  

Taking Back the Night


by Kiran Dhingra, MSW, RSW, Executive Director

As I write these words, it is a few days after the Take Back the Night march that took place in our community last Friday June 10th, 2016.  The event was organized from a ground swell of supporters in response to a woman who had recently been sexually assaulted in the community.   I know that we like to think that violence, especially sexual crimes don’t happen here on this beautiful island paradise. Of course, we know that’s simply not true.

It is a sad reality that not everyone is safe on this Island.  Many of us, especially women and children are at greater risk of having violence perpetrated against us, usually by someone we already know, although not always.  Sometimes it’s a stranger or someone we hardly know at all.  My hope is that everyone will feel safe in our community as that is a right we all deserve.

That is why SWOVA, has been working toward eliminating violence through prevention and education programs that empower our young people for the past 20 years.  SWOVA was born out of a terrible act of violence toward a woman in the community that happened in the early 90s.  At that time, community came together because it wanted to help and do something to support the woman who had been assaulted, but also because it knew that there were other women out there who needed a safe haven; a place they could go to start healing.

So, my mind comes back to this most recent act of violence.  Only with the survivor’s strength and courage to speak out about what happened, and her desire to find a way to take back the night, are we reminded yet again of the impact and importance of the issue of violence against women right here on Salt Spring Island.

There is tremendous power in that act of courage, as well as in all the people who organized, attended, marched, cried, got angry, and made calls for change and awareness.  SWOVA stands with you and supports you.  In closing, I share these words, written by poet and author, Maya Angelou,maya-angelous-words-wisdom-0_240x340_11

“Having courage does not mean that we are unafraid. 

Having courage and showing courage means we face our fears. 

We are able to say, “I have fallen, but I will get up.”



Since starting my work as a Peace Kids and Respectful Relationships Facilitator AND engaging in awareness about gender-based violence I have come to learn a lot about privilege. I have long felt privileged but I had never understood it like I do now (this in itself is a result of being privileged). As a caucasian cisgender* male, growing up in a fairly wealthy family, being well of body, and Canadian, I am able to check off most of the boxes that designate me with privilege in the world as it currently exists.

The world is not an equal one for all (though in my heart of hearts I wish that it could be and it should be). I liken privilege to that of currents in water that make it easier for some and harder for others to move. Unless one experiences going against the current it is impossible to know what it is like. The only way to gain understanding is to ask those who might be experiencing “going against the current”. Ask those who are cis-female or identify as non-heterosexual, people of colour, not as able-bodied, or those who live in cultures other than “mainstream Western culture” if they experience the world as equal. They may share their story. Listen well and ride out any discomfort you may feel. It is well worth the effort.

*Cisgender: (often abbreviated to simply cis) is a term for people whose experiences of their own gender agree with the sex they were assigned at birth.

Photo Credit: University of San Francisco

We’re hiring a summer student!

Need a Job this summer?

SWOVA Curricula Writer and Summer Student Office Assistant

$14/hr, 30 hours per week for 10 weeks.

MUST be a registered student at a secondary/post-secondary institution and be able to start the week of June 20th, 2016, to be an eligible applicant.

We are looking for a student to assist us with various youth violence prevention curricula updates and overall administration of our office and programs. The successful candidate must be able to work efficiently and confidently as an individual and as part of a staff team.

Skills in Photoshop and Social Media are necessary to develop, edit and improve our instructional tools and to create engaging content. This means you have a great language skills and empathy/understanding of teacher and student needs. The ability to effectively present and respond to information both verbally and in writing is essential.

Job Description:

  • Research, review and update agency violence prevention materials
  • Provide administrative support to Office Administrator and Program Staff in the day to day running of the SWOVA office
  • Coordinate and implement the new graphic designs of the Grade 7/8 Respectful Relationships Handbooks
  • Create the Pass it On Coordinator Manual
  • Cover front desk duties as needed
  • Write 5 blog posts relevant to agency work

Please apply if:

  • You’re incredibly organized and tech savvy
  • You have a passion and prowess for language and youth-focused resource material
  • You approach problems creatively, always keeping students and teachers in mind
  • You want to make a difference in education, you bring passion and an awesome work ethic to your workplace

Please email your resume to:  or drop it off during our office hours 9am – 3 pm Monday through Thursday at: 344 Lower Ganges Rd.

Deadline for receiving applications: June 8th, 2016

We thank all who take the time and effort to apply; only short listed candidates will be contacted.

Gulf Islands Sexual Safety Survey

 SWOVA sexual assault survey 3 (online version) 1.5xConsent and Sexual Assault Study in the Southern Gulf Islands

YOUR Input is Needed!

Survey now extended to June 6th



A community wide survey is requesting your feedback during the month of May (until June 6th) focusing on our understanding of consent and sexual assault. All community members age 14 and over are invited to participate and share their thoughts on these matters.

Your feedback will provide a better understanding of community awareness of these issues and the services that pertain to them for Mayne, Galiano, Saturna,

Salt Spring and Pender Islands. The Gulf Island Sexual Assault and Consent Project is a three-year initiative funded by Status of Women Canada, conducted by SWOVA Community Development and Research Society and its community partners.

The survey can be found at:

Any information or thoughts shared will be completely anonymous and confidential.

For any questions about the survey please call the SWOVA office at 250-537-1336.