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Leaving an abusive relationship is incredibly difficult. It requires the knowledge that support is within reach and no one is completely alone. A challenging, scary time in a woman’s life, there’s usually no room for taking a breath and relaxing.
As an Interval House volunteer, CIBC Executive Assistant Denise Hall knows how important a little pampering can be during this challenging transition. Hall organized a “spa night” for the residents of Interval House, treating them to facials, manicures, and some much needed R&R.
But setting up the mini spa ended up being therapeutic in more ways than one.
“It was nice because [the women] don’t really have time to focus on themselves,” says Denise. “They’re focused on their children. They’re focused on getting out of their situation. They don’t have time to pamper themselves while they’re going through that.”
CIBC has a long-standing relationship with Interval House, offering support through grants, donations, and volunteers since 1999. Most recently, CIBC supported Interval House with a grant for the Building Economic Self-Sufficiency (BESS) program, which helps women work towards economic stability via resume workshops and job training.
According to Christina Vetro, Regional Consultant for CIBC’s Community Investment team, BESS fits perfectly with the company’s focus on “kids, cures, and community.”
“We’re looking to link women with access to safety and jobs,” says Christina. Donating to BESS, she adds, “offers women the skills to rebuild their lives and learn to support themselves and their children.”
CIBC continued its support into the winter holidays, as employees provided support to 7 families in the Interval House community as holiday sponsors. A group from the Community Investment team also paid a visit to Interval House, and after a day of baking, cooking, and decorating. Christina says she walked away with “a sense of reassurance that women have a safe place to go.”
Both Denise and Christina agree that offering help and an empathetic ear is vital in empowering women to take charge and rebuild their lives and stop the cycle of abuse. Christina adds a message of hope to the women of Interval House: “You are strong and something will come out of this situation – you don’t have to do it alone.”