Tagged: Community

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.

Taking Back the Night

Take_back_the_Night_Medium_1

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.”