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What motivates you to be a volunteer?
The first time I helped a resident pick out items for her first apartment with excitement, truly made me happy. Throughout my life, I have always volunteered in different capacities. I am fortunate to be able to give my time and skills to help those who are less fortunate.
How has your volunteer position at Interval House helped you in your own professional and/or personal growth?
"We don’t always think about it, but language can be a safety issue. Whether you are visiting the doctor, buying groceries, using a bank or obtaining work, for anyone trying to gain independence, the ability to communicate in the local language is key."
Inside this issue:
"I wish my mother had brought my brother and me to a shelter like this when we were children," he said as he left our meeting at Interval House. He's the articulate, confident CEO of a successful Canadian company, but his posture changed and his face revealed pain when he opened up to speak of the abuse his mother experienced at the hands of his father. His eyes welled up as he talked about what it felt like to be a boy living in that house. You could see it still haunted him and is what drives him to live his life in a different way than his father.
We don’t always think about it, but language can be a safety issue. Whether you are visiting the doctor, buying groceries, using a bank or obtaining work, for anyone trying to gain independence, the ability to communicate in the local language is key. That’s why a caring committee of volunteers created a new ESL program for residents of Interval House.
They say it takes a village. At Interval House our “village” of volunteers comes in all shapes and sizes. TJX is inclusive of Winners, HomeSense, and Marshalls stores and makes up part of that village. One of its corporate philanthropy goals includes a commitment to helping families make the transition to a new beginning. In 2013, TJX Canada came to Interval House for the first time and a partnership blossomed.
It’s too early to celebrate. While saddened by the many high-profile celebrity abuse cases last year, those of us who work with victims of violence were pleased to see the stirring up of dialogue around domestic abuse issues when these cases were thrust into the media spotlight. The unprecedented public interest inspired Interval House to commission an opinion poll to take the pulse of public attitudes about violence against women. The results were troubling and revealed why it’s more important than ever to keep this conversation going.
As a counsellor for the Children’s Program, Elizabeth Foster has noticed that mother-child relationships can be strained when families arrive at Interval House. Some children are confused about why they suddenly left home, while the older kids might understand the reasons too well. None of them are keen to talk about it.