By Darren Lum
Published Oct. 25 2016
After 30 years serving Haliburton County the YWCA based in Minden is asking for financial help and feedback to continue with its work supporting abused women and their children.
Last year the facility which provides a safe space for its clients and gives counsellors a base to work from was closed for six months because of a lack of funds.
The YWCA’s director of philanthropy and communications Jenn Cureton said the agency is making a concerted effort to avoid closure by fundraising and gathering information for a long-term sustainability plan to service the county better.
Cureton said although the agency has raised $47000 it is still working towards its target of $100000 which will sustain rural operations in Haliburton County for two years.
During this time there will be work on the sustainability plan led by a yet-to-be hired consultant who will be compensated through the provincially allocated Violence Against Women Rural Realities Fund. The agency will use public forums to reach out to the public local government stakeholders experts and community partners to develop a plan to provide essential services to women and children fleeing violence.
Public fundraising events such as the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes which was most recently held at the Haliburton Highlands Secondary School and included the participation of close to 100 high school faculty and students on Friday Oct. 21 will not only raise funds but also awareness of the agency and its work.
The YWCA Peterborough Haliburton associate annual giving and events Nicole Paré was impressed by the participation and maturity of the students.
This was the school’s first year hosting this event and principal Dan Marsden wants it to return next year. This year the Walk in a Mile in Her Shoes invited women to participate.
Cureton said this kind of event is ideal because it includes youth who are important to raising awareness and in shaping the future.
“It’s so powerful. They’re the ones that can make change” she said.
There are other public events being planned such as fundraising dinners and a 30th anniversary event is in the works.
All of the money raised locally will help the Minden branch she said.
In rural areas such as our county there are additional challenges for women and their children escaping violence to get the help they need because of a lack of public transit high rates of poverty and isolation.
With 582 counselling sessions provided through the four counsellors (one full time and three part-time) this location is “really essential” she said.