Yearly Archives: 2017

Dec 6 Vigil – please join us

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

We invite everyone to attend a

Candlelight Vigil

Centennial Park

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017 

**4:30-5:00pm** 

To honour and remember all women who have been killed by violence. We will meet at the Memorial Monument just before 4:30. Members of the public are invited to witness, listen to readings/poetry and song and share your own words as the spirit moves you.

Sponsored by:

SWOVA Community Development & Research Society

**Please share!**

#MeToo so #NowWhat? by Kathryn Anderson

“So you can see how the passive voice has a political effect. It shifts the focus off of men and boys and onto girls and women…it’s a bad thing that happens to women, but when you look at the term ‘violence against women,’ nobody is doing it to them. It just happens to them…men aren’t even a part of it!” Jackson Katz

I read this quote as part of a post shared on Facebook in the wake of the #MeToo campaign that has been so pervasive across social media this past couple of weeks. MeToo originated over a decade ago with black activist Tarana Burke and has seen its recent resurgence due to a Tweet sent out by actor Alyssa Milano following news coverage of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

One of the original intentions communicated by Burke when she initiated MeToo 10+ years ago was “empowerment through empathy” – particularly to let women of colour know that they were not alone in these circumstances of sexual harassment and assault. In an interview with Ebony magazine, Burke said, “the power of using ‘me too’ has always been in the fact that it can be a conversation starter or the whole conversation ― but it was us talking to us”. Now “us” has become a much wider context with the passage of time and the advent of social media.

The sheer magnitude of #MeToo on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms has been overwhelming for many, myself included. I’ve heard from several people that they were not prepared for what such widespread disclosure would bring up for them emotionally, whether they had experienced sexual assault/harassment directly or it had happened to someone they knew and cared about.

In one regard it can be helpful to feel a sense of solidarity with others who’ve experienced these circumstances; as Tarana Burke intended, we feel less alone.  So much so in fact, that there has been a cascade of allegations made post-Weinstein, notable examples include:  Just for Laughs founder Gilbert Rozon, Amazon Boss Roy Price, even Kevin Spacey has come forward to acknowledge his wrongdoing in a same sex interaction with a younger actor when Spacey was 26 and his counterpart was a 14 year old male.

On the other hand, for me #MeToo begs the question, NOW WHAT?  Obviously we see the inescapable fact that millions of women have endured sexual harassment and assault.  I’ve seen plenty of other examples from men these past few weeks too. Even so, we are still only seeing a selection of those folk who have chosen to disclose and have means and access to media/social media to do so.

We see discourse has begun…yet where does it lead?  Collectively as a society and individually as citizens, what do we DO with what has been learned?

Tarana Burke points out, “It’s beyond a hashtag. It’s the start of a larger conversation and a movement for radical community healing. Join us. #metoo

We encourage you to ask yourself #NowWhat? 

Here are two actions you might consider taking in response:

One is to attend the screening of A Better Man, co-hosted by SWOVA and the Salt Spring Film Festival on Wednesday, November 22nd from 7:00 – 9:30pm at Artspring.  Tickets are $10 and are available at the box office or online.

The filmmaker describes the movie as a “fresh and nuanced look at the healing and revelation that can happen for everyone when men take responsibility for their abuse. It also empowers the audience members to play new roles in challenging domestic violence, whether it’s in their own relationships or as part of a broader movement for social change.”

A second action is to read and reflect on this well-written article by May Warren:

Article: Toronto Metro – A Critical Turning Point, Oct 19/17

Photo credits: picture-alliance/dpa/B. Pedersen [#MeToo]; Dandelion Initiative [#NowWhat]  Follow on Twitter: @dandelioninit

A transformative year…from caterpillar to butterfly – a blog post by Kate Nash

Caterpillar to butterfly graphic

Photo credit: Miki Pereanu

Often the effects of a program like Pass It On are not ones you can easily quantify or even see. Yes, there are responses to surveys or the positive comments the girls shout out on the last day about missing the program or loving the time spent there. Truly, the effects of Pass It On are more cumulative, more subtle and more gradual. Even after spending a year with peers outside their usual friend group, learning to share and support one another, the girls may not necessarily see the results of their work immediately.

The experiences in Pass it On grow on the participants; the girls mature and open themselves up to others’ feelings and insecurities. They recognize the vulnerabilities that exist in each of us and as a result they develop confidence in who they are and how they can care for others.

Living in a small community means that I am often running into young women from the program around town. This means I get anecdotal progress reports. I also get to see the effects that the program has had on them over time. Sometimes it is demonstrated in the fact that a mentor still spends time with their younger buddy, years after their formal relationship in the program has passed. Other times I witness past participants at work and see some capacity of caregiving in the role they hold; often it is measured in their level of self-confidence and the care and integrity they offer those around them. When we do have a chance to chat, the girls always speak of their love of the Pass It On program and how it helped them grow as a person, gave them confidence and an acceptance of self and a feeling of belonging in our world, even in the most simple of ways.

Once in a while the stories that come back to me are more significant or the results of the program are very tangible. A few years back I had a participant in the program who had struggled with an eating disorder in her early teens, a common problem for many of the young women who come through the program. At the time she said there was no issue – it was something she had overcome. I took her at her word. Every year we have many discussions that involve body image and confidence. This person was able to tell her story in a circle of love and care. At the time I knew we were doing good work and that speaking about it was good for her but I believed that indeed, it was an issue from her past and had been put behind her.

Recently I ran into her and we sat down for tea to catch up. She told me that at the time she was in Pass It On, the eating disorder in fact had been an issue and that it was a very negative part of her life at that time. She admitted she had been in denial about it and had pushed away all her supports under the guise of being cured. Being in Pass It On was a transformative year for her. Listening to other young women share their stories about body weight and insecurities around being too heavy and too thin helped her realize she was not alone in her own issues. Helping the other members through their own difficulties helped her to see others’ needs instead of just looking at her own. The funny thing was, she said that the thing that changed her perspective the most was sharing the snacks every week at the beginning of the meetings.

Watching the other girls eat whole‐heartedly and without concern, rather with an appetite made her realize that food was just that: food. It was not something to battle with or struggle against. It was just something to eat, or not, and in the end she chose to eat.

I looked over my tea at that beautiful, vibrant, healthy young woman and thought how each of us struggle internally with that dialogue between what’s right and wrong and how all too often that negative voice – in its persistence – often comes out on top. Here was a case where that voice was put to bed. I felt so grateful that I get to facilitate a program based in simplicity: conversations in circle, mentorship through friendship and that simple acts of connecting and sharing are the impetus to extinguish those negative voices. And, that merely showing others who we are, safely exposing our vulnerabilities, we can all become more confident vibrant people.

Fall update/newsletter

Fall sunshine graphicThere are some exciting changes upcoming this year, learn more here: Newsletter Fall 2017

Did you know that only $10 gets you a membership to SWOVA that helps support the programs at our agency? It also offers you the power of a vote at our Annual General Meeting so that you can have a voice in shaping our agency and its programming.  If you aren’t on our mailing list, that might be because you don’t yet have a membership!  Memberships can be renewed at any time here: http://www.swova.org/join-us/

Photo credit: PCA Falcons

We’ve been nominated for a Salty Award!

We are honoured to have been nominated for a Salty Award for BEST NON-PROFIT here on Salt Spring Island!  We hope you’ll vote for all the great people and businesses on our rock!

You’ll find our nomination in the Business Awards section under Best Non Profit.  Everyone may vote twice and voting takes place from September 15th through October 10th!

Good luck to all who are nominated!

http://www.saltspringchamber.com/salty-awards/

 

 

Help us win $50,000!

Island Savings #simplegenerosity

Help us receive $50,000!

Inspiring Change – Help us win $50,000!

Island Savings, a division of First West Credit Union is aiming to enhance our communities for children and families by giving away a $50,000 grant towards a community-focused project, program or initiative. This grant is one of three that First West is distributing to support organizations in the regions it serves—$150,000 distributed in support of Canada 150.

SWOVA’s Respectful Relationships Program is exhilarated to be entering its next evolution!  With 20 years of successful program delivery to over 15,000 youth, it’s time to innovate and update our design to incorporate some of the changes that time and technology have brought.  We want to be certain we can deliver THE BEST version of this program to as many youth as possible. In 2007, SWOVA’s Respectful Relationships Program was cited by the United Nations Habitat as a Good Practice in youth violence prevention, as part of world-wide Best Practices to Improve the Living Environment.

We’ve submitted a grant application and would LOVE your support to help us get to the top 10! Winning $50,000 will help us achieve our goal to inspire and empower as many youth as possible!

Here’s how to vote;

  1. Find our story on the Island Savings Community Grant Volinspire page (scroll down and look for kids sitting in a circle) and vote by choosing any of the emojis (smile, heart, Canadian Maple Leaf). Each emoji counts as one vote and you can only vote for each post one time. 
  2. PLEASE PLEASE share the link with your family and friends and on social media!!
  3. Anyone and everyone can vote, so help us spread the word! Only votes placed on Volinspire will count. Voting will take place May 29-June 23.

Thank you for helping us spread some #SimpleGenerosity in our communities!

Spring brings Simple Generosity

We are delighted and honoured to have been chosen as the first beneficiary of a new charitable program called Simple Generosity!  Initiated by Island Savings/First West Credit Union, the program celebrates Canada’s upcoming 150th birthday celebration by applauding community volunteerism and supporting local charities and non-profits.

Weekly awards of $1500 will be given throughout 2017 to an individual or team who demonstrates exceptional community contribution in the regions where First West operates.  Those winners then choose a charity or non-profit organization to which they donate the prize money.

Local volunteer Cherie Geauvreau was the first Gulf Islands recipient of the Simple Generosity award and very kindly chose to donate her prize money to SWOVA.  Cherie, together with Jewel Eldstrom, formed Copper Kettle Community Partnership in 2002, to help those struggling with meeting life’s basic needs.  Cherie did her first community work on Salt Spring in conjunction with SWOVA and says that the experience was life changing. It was from a place of gratitude that she chose to pay it forward 15 years later!

SWOVA’s Executive Director Kiran Dhingra was on hand to receive the award from Cherie, alongside Janine Fernandes-Hayden of Volunteer and Community Resources and Island Savings staff Jeff Knutson and Travis Dorchak.

SWOVA would like to express our sincere gratitude to Cherie Geauvreau for her thoughtful generosity and her contributions to SWOVA from its early origins up to the present!  We also wish to thank Island Savings/First West Credit Union and Volunteer Community Resources for this initiative and helping to highlight the remarkable contributions of volunteerism on Salt Spring and throughout the Gulf Islands.

To learn more about #SimpleGenerosity and how to nominate a recipient, see the full article in the Driftwood, on page 19 of the May 10/17 edition.

We’re hiring a summer student!

We would like to thank all candidates for
putting their resumes forward, the position has now been filled.

 

SWOVA Programs Assistant/Curricula WriterNeed a Job this summer?

ELIGIBILITY: The position is open to all qualified applicants. The HRDC Summer Student program requires that candidates MUST be a student registered at a post-secondary or secondary institution in the year before and after Summer 2017 and be able to start work the week of June 26th, 2017. Preference will be given to post-secondary candidates. SWOVA is an inclusive and equitable agency encouraging applications from qualified candidates, including Aboriginal Peoples, members of visible ethnic groups and persons with disabilities.

$14/hr, 30 hours per week for 8 weeks.  If you are an off-island resident, please note that this position is considered full-time and the successful candidate will be expected to work on-site four days/week. The fifth day may be at the office or from home/outside the office.

We are looking for a student to assist us with curricula updates for youth violence prevention programs 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.

Applied skills in Social Media platforms and Photoshop/Adobe Creative Suite are necessary to develop, edit and improve our instructional tools and to create engaging content. You have great language skills and empathy/understanding of teacher and student needs (elementary through secondary school). The ability to present and respond to information effectively both verbally and in writing is essential.

Job Description:

  • Research, review and update agency violence prevention materials
  • Coordinate and implement the new graphic designs of the Grade 7/8 Respectful Relationships Handbooks
  • Enhance social media presence for the agency and publicize programs for Pass it On: Boys and Pass it On: Girls
  • Provide administrative support to Office Administrator and Program Staff in the day to day running of the SWOVA office
  • Take direction for updating library materials and resources
  • Create the Pass it On Coordinator Manual
  • Cover front desk duties as needed
  • Write 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:  kathryn@swova.org  or drop it off during our office hours 9am – 4 pm Monday through Thursday at: 344 Lower Ganges Rd.

Deadline for receiving applications: June 5th, 2017

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

Results: Southern Gulf Islands Survey on Consent and Sexual Assault Prevention and Response

During the month of May in 2016, a community wide survey was launched throughout the Southern Gulf Islands on Consent and Sexual Assault Prevention and Response. The survey was funded by the Status of Women Canada as part of an on-going project spear headed by Salt Spring Women Opposed to Violence and Abuse (SWOVA) Community Development and Research Society.

A summary version of the survey results is found here:
SGI Consent & Sexual Assault Project Survey Results InfoGraphic

You can find the full report here.

 

Pass It On: Boys – Survey Results & Evaluation

In the Fall of 2016, SWOVA’s Pass It On – Engaging Boys & Young Men Project set out to find out about the needs of boys and young men (cis- trans- & non-binary inclusive)  in the Salt Spring Island Community and ways to address these needs. Surveys and focus groups were engaged with boys and young men, young women, educators, parents and community members, and programs/activities offered to boys and young men. And the results?

 
Issues highlighted by the boys and young men are (in no particular order):

  • Schoolwork stress

  • Family & Relationships

  • Sleep

  • Peer pressure, criticism, judgement (and in extreme cases bullying)

  • Self Image

  • Mental Health

  • Drugs & Alcohol

  • Negative Expectations/Stereotypes

  • Intimate Partner Relationships

  • Understanding Girls/Young Women

  • Helping Friends While Taking Care of Oneself

As one would expect the issues are more or less heightened depending on the age and individual situation. There is a desire for sports, activities, or places to gather, the exact details of which vary from person to person, group to group. My sense is that places to connect and talk in some way is wanted by all but how it would ideally look varies greatly. There is a cautiousness by this group as a whole to engage in some of the deeper needed conversations.

Tarquin Bowers, evaluator for the project has written a personable, warm hearted, and well-written evaluation of their needs. I’d recommend diving into the full report. Make a coffee or tea, sit back, and enjoy your reading!

Intro Letter to PIO-Boys Evaluation Report Feb 2017

Pass It On Engaging Boys Young Men Project Evaluation Jan 2017