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Celebrating Christmas at Interval House is enough to make you believe in miracles. We know from experience that Christmas can be an especially difficult time for families in crisis. When the holiday season approaches, we start to see an influx of calls and requests for help. The reality is that behind closed doors there are families reaching a breaking point. And there are women who are frightened and need a safe place to turn.
Thanksgiving is the day we give thanks for the harvest and many other blessings in our lives. For the women and children of Interval House, those blessings include a safe home, good food, and an extended family of women who have lived through similar experiences. All of this is made possible through the generous support of our donors and community partners.
One of the most commonly-asked questions concerning domestic violence is “Why doesn’t she just leave?” The reality is, if the solution was as simple as ‘just leaving’, domestic violence wouldn’t be the epidemic that it is. There are many barriers facing women leaving their partners to find a safer place to call home:
Right now, we have four infants under the age of 2 living at Interval House. And this isn’t unusual for us. At any given time, our house is usually full of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers!
It might be hard to think about such young children living in a women’s shelter, having been exposed to domestic violence at a very young age. But for us, it’s an incredibly hopeful sign.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As Canada’s first shelter for abused women and their children, we at Interval House are all too familiar with the realities of domestic violence. This year, we housed more than 150 women and kids who had fled abuse. And yet domestic violence is still a topic that’s swept under the rug in Canada.
Since this important month is all about shedding light on the realities of domestic violence, we created a new infographic that shows the true magnitude of domestic violence in Canada.
At Interval House, we pride ourselves on being more than a shelter – our goal is to be a warm, welcoming home for women and kids fleeing abuse.
Sometimes, we could use a little extra help with making our house feel extra “homey.” That’s why we started Project Joy, an initiative for volunteers to help us repaint many of the spaces around our shelter to make them more joyful for the families here.
What motivates you to be a volunteer?
My desire to help others and positively contribute to my community. Volunteering is a humbling experience, which I am grateful to have.
How has your volunteer position at Interval House helped you in your own professional and/or personal growth?
Summers are often times for family reunions. This is always the case at Interval House: each summer, we host a special reunion event for residents and ex-residents to reconnect and celebrate.
This year, we decided to go to the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) for our special summer event. Current and past residents from Interval House joined our counsellors at the CNE a few weeks ago for a day of fun in the sun. For many of the women and kids, it was their first trip to this classic Toronto family tradition.
September is here! At Interval House, that means that our home will be a little quieter during the day, with most of the kids back to school.
What does going back to school look like for a kid at Interval House?
Most of the kids in our shelter need to switch schools when they come to Interval House. Staying at their old school would make it easy for an abuser to locate them and their mom, so we help them transfer for their safety.
As we’ve mentioned before, summer is often a time when we’re in greatest need at Interval House. With more families seeking a safe haven, and the children out of school, it’s often one of our busiest times when we’re most desperately in need of support.