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It’s been said that the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s not simply a place to prepare food – it’s a place to gather, a place to unwind, a place to enjoy a delicious meal and fulfilling conversation, an opportunity to refresh the spirit in the presence of good company. The kitchen at Interval House is no exception. Bustling with activity, the kitchen is full of life and experience, as women and children prepare and enjoy nutritious and delicious meals.
When a woman is living in an abusive situation, her home is often a dangerous and stressful place. But the impact of domestic violence on her career is an important factor often not talked about.
Family Day happens in Ontario every year on the third Monday of February. After Valentine’s celebrations, Family Day is a great chance to have some down time with family and friends, playing out with the snow (if climate change permits!) or staying into the comfort of our homes for a full day.
When a woman is ready to leave Interval House and move into an apartment of her own, the first thing she does is to pack a little bag of essentials to put under the bed in case her ex-partner should ever show up. She needs to be ready to get out fast. Just like the first time.
As soon as a woman calls the shelter asking for a space, safety planning begins. Being on the other end of the phone, it’s always heartbreaking to hear the stories. But the best way to help a woman who is fleeing a violent home is to equip her with the tools she needs to get herself and her kids to safety.
Shirin has been a Women’s Counsellor Advocate at Interval House for 6 years. Over those 6 years, she’s seen hundreds of families walk through our doors, looking for a safe place to call home. And she’s welcomed each one with a welcoming smile and a listening ear.
We often get asked, “How do you know how the families are doing after their leave Interval House?” And it’s a good question! After a family leaves our shelter for their new home, we want to make sure that we know they’re still on the road to success and independence.
The beginning of a New Year is time for celebration and looking forward, but it’s also a time for reflection. While goal setting and New Years resolutions are great ways to put careful consideration into milestones and achievements, the step of reminiscing and reflecting often falls by the wayside. It’s so easy to focus on the things that didn’t pan out as hoped, or the things that didn’t go according to plan, but there’s a great power and strength to be gained from celebrating the wins – no matter how big or little.
What motivates you to be a volunteer?
The women and children that I have met volunteering for Interval House inspire me so much with their strength. They are kind, motivated, intelligent, and have amazing senses of humor; they are really fun to spend time with! The skills I have in teaching English can make a real difference for some on their road to independence, and I am so happy to be able to provide that help, because they absolutely deserve it.