Several years ago, our program facilitators came to us with the idea that SWOVA—Saltspring Women Opposed to Violence and Abuse—should change its name.
They suggested that it should embrace a more inclusive perspective that empowers everyone with the attitudes and skills for healthy and respectful relationships.
So the process began. But it became more than just an idea for a name change. It bloomed into a fruitful discussion about how to prepare SWOVA for the next decades of its service to the Salt Spring community and beyond.
We changed our name to reflect the work that we do now and into the coming decades, on Salt Spring and beyond — teaching skills to foster healthy relationships and create inclusive and gender-equitable communities living violence-free.
We had support! A team of graduate students from UBC’s Sauder School of Business conducted a community-wide survey for us. We received input from students, teachers, parents, and other community members about a new name for SWOVA.
SWOVA’s staff and board refreshed the vision and mission statements, identified core values, and launched a new strategic plan. They brainstormed and batted around ideas for a new name for months! Something easy to remember and easy to say. Something that reflects SWOVA’s values, such as respect and diversity.
Back to the Beginning…
Despite the changes, we remain grounded in the vision that SWOVA has embraced since its founding: inclusive and gender-equitable communities living violence-free. How? By offering social and emotional education to children, youth, and adults and inspiring and training others to deliver our programs.
Our new name—The Circle—reflects a key feature of our long-time work. When our facilitators meet with students, they gather in a circle! In a circle, everyone is equal, able to look one another in the eyes and listen fully.
And Around Again…
The Circle is about social and emotional education. It’s about learning to “be human” and to uncover the gifts of respect, empathy, compassion, and understanding for ourselves and for one another. And it’s about holding a space where everyone has the courage to speak up and to trust their voice and the power it holds to make change in the world.
Within the safe space of the circle, young people are equipped with skills and language to create healthy relationships. Within the circle, we all empower youth for a better tomorrow.
The circle is where we begin our work of helping to create inclusive and gender-equitable communities living violence-free.