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Not Always Happily Ever After

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Before her wedding day, a bride-to-be imagines the moment she’s dreamed about. She pores over photos and gathers ideas. She diligently makes to-do lists, crossing items off with satisfaction. Flower arrangements. Seating plan. Dress fittings. She places items on a registry—everything she’ll need for her new life.

Tragically, at some point after the big day, the bride discovers she is trapped in a cycle of violence and finds herself desperately making a list she never imagined. Escape plan. Untraceable cell phone. Emergency shelterRead More

The Broken Bride Registry: not every bride lives happily ever after.

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Wedding Vision

The Dream: A romantic proposal, the perfect dress, floral arrangements, a beautiful home and happily ever after.

The Reality: For some women, their wedding day marks an escalation of abuse. Interval House, Canada’s first shelter for abused women and their children, provides a safe space for women and children and helps them rebuild their lives, free from violence.

A Registry No Bride Should Need

The sad reality is that many women report that abuse escalates as soon as they get married. In this symbolic registry, we imagine the items that a woman trapped in violence might need. Read More

From Impossible to Infinity: Anna’s Story

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Anna* didn’t know what to expect when she walked into Interval House the night her husband’s violence became unbearable.

She’d escaped her house—a place that no longer felt like home—where she had locked herself in a room, climbed out of a window, and ran.

Anna’s husband had been chasing her with a knife, swearing he would kill her. It was the most terrifying event in his escalating violence since their move to Canada. Read More

Q&A with Elona Nazaj, Women’s Counsellor/Advocate

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Your support ensures counsellors like Elona are available 24/7 to women and children in need.

Q: How does your day begin?

A: It depends which shift I’m on, morning, evening, or overnight. All shifts begin with a shift change debrief with other staff. We talk about how things are going, if anything urgent is coming up, new residents, or if anyone has left the shelter. I can then start prioritizing my day based on risk assessments.

Q: How would you describe your job? 

A: The biggest part of my job is active listening, being available for women to vent, cry, share their frustrations or successes. I find out what their needs are and help connect them to services we can provide. I do a lot of advocacy, especially for housing, legal issues such as custody, or for women who do not speak English. We are there for them, every step of the way.

Q: What are the first few days like for women who come to Interval House? 

A: The first few days in the shelter are the hardest because usually women are coming with a very high level of anxiety and stress, which is very understandable. They are confused. They wonder if they made the right choice. But with time, everything becomes more clear and they are able to see things in a different perspective. They find the strength to move forward.

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job? 

A: I am honoured when I know that these women are allowing me to be part of their feelings. The way that I can see the positive effect I’m having on my community, along with my coworkers. Just the connection, the empathy that we create with each other, that’s rewarding. The women talk about their frustrations, they talk about their lives, they talk about what they went through, and it’s not easy. It’s not easy to trust. I really appreciate it.

Life at the House: A Youth Perspective by David

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*name and identifying details have been changed for the safety of the clients

If I were to say what impact living at Interval House had on me, I guess I see it as a good Disney story. Things start out nice and everything, and then snap, there’s a plot twist and the evil entity comes and that’s where my family is at right now. Eventually it’s all going to be good again.

My mom left Vietnam for Canada in search of a better life for us. A few months later, my dad, my two younger siblings and me all came to join her. They were always working, mom all day and dad all night. We only hung out as a family on weekends. For years, they hid their fighting from us. But the fights increased and then the secrets just poured out. It used to be like once a month then it became weekly. At one point I had to step in. I didn’t want to but it was getting out of hand and I had to get the police involved.

A few months ago we had to just get out — grab what we had and go. That’s when we came to Interval House. Being here affects us but it didn’t devastate us. We’re all far away from the people we know now though. My siblings miss their friends and my mom had to quit one of her jobs.

Our family has become closer since coming here. We interact with each other more. My mom actually gets more rest here. Everyone is getting something out of the sessions with the counsellors. We’re all getting advice and steps for how to get up and get things back together. Feeling empowered.

I’m studying at college now and the next stage is to have our own place again. Interval House supports you at your lowest; they’ll always be that safety net. But it’s better to pick yourself up again, find a job, find a place, just do something that’s going to help you to start over again. It’s like the new Karate Kid movie where he says, “Everyone falls down, but it’s up to them whether they choose to get back up or not.” Interval House can help you get there.

Thank you for helping families like David’s rebuild their lives!

Beanie Babies for the Brave: How one mother and daughter are making a difference

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How can a little stuffed animal help women and children rebuild their lives after abuse? By being auctioned off and having the proceeds directed to Interval House! That’s what Beanie Babies for the Brave is all about.

Morgan and her daughter, Stacey, have been collecting Beanie Babies since Stacey was just five years old. Now 31, Stacey decided it was time to part with her beloved collection and donate it to Interval House, so the organization could sell the classic toys and raise funds for their programs helping women and children recovering from abuse.

“Stacey and I both agreed that we would rather give them to a child or to an organization that helps people instead of selling them online for ourselves,” explains Morgan. The thoughtful mother-daughter duo donated 70 Beanie Babies in their original packaging to be auctioned online with 100% of the proceeds benefitting Interval House.

“When I was trying to find a place to donate the Beanie Babies to, it was important to me personally that it benefit women and children experiencing abuse,” explains Morgan. “I am a survivor of abuse and I understand how important a place like Interval House is.”

Do you have your own idea for a unique fundraiser or gift-in-kind donation? Contact Cass Nagar at cnagar@intervalhouse.ca 416-924-1411 ext. 238

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