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2020-21 Annuals and Financials

Karen and Bill's Story

For not-for-profit organizations, volunteers and philanthropists are the lifeblood. For Karen and Bill, volunteering and philanthropy are an integral part of their lives. 

Karen and Bill’s work with Discovery House started over 14 years ago, with Bill volunteering as a board member. Over the years, his contribution of time and talent grew into a financial one, and Karen became involved as a dedicated volunteer. Since 2009, Karen volunteered in a variety of ways including helping to pick up and deliver food from the Calgary Food Bank to the shelter and working in the shelter playroom. As a member of PEO International, an organization of women who celebrate, educate and motivate other women, she worked with the PEO volunteer groups sorting and cleaning at the shelter, providing a Christmas Store so that the children living there could choose gifts for their mothers, and organizing a Mother’s Day luncheon. <image of donation room> 

Eventually, Karen and Bill moved to Canmore, and as Rotarians and active members of their community, they stayed connected to the cause of domestic violence through volunteerism and giving. As a supporter and volunteer with many local initiatives, Karen speaks of the advantages of becoming a monthly donor, after being an annual donor to Discovery House for many years.  

“Monthly donations help the organization but also the donor. When you’re on a fixed income, it can be helpful to predict where your money goes every month.” 

With volunteer opportunities limited due to COVID restrictions, Karen stays connected to Discovery House through the donor newsletter and appreciates the client stories of impact the most.  

For devoted, loyal donors like Karen and Bill, Discovery House is so grateful!  

To find out more about the Circle of Hope monthly giving group and to sign up, check out our monthly giving page.

Why Make it Monthly?

During these uncertain times, our mission of providing critical support to women and children who have left situations of domestic violence and ending the cycle of family violence continues. That’s why we’re asking you to consider becoming a monthly donor.

Joining our Hope Circle, our valued community of monthly donors, is the simplest, and most effective way to support Discovery House as we adapt to ever-changing circumstances due to COVID-19. You can easily sign up online here.

Benefits of month giving:

Your act of generosity will help us to continue delivering programs and services to meet the needs of the women and children leaving situations of domestic violence. Together, we can break the traumatic cycle of domestic violence and bring hope and healing to vulnerable women and children.

P.S. Not ready to become a monthly donor right now? You can still support us by clicking here to find out other ways to give and sending this blog post to family and friends. We’d really appreciate it!

10 Fundraising Tips for the Calgary Marathon Charity Challenge 

So you’ve decided to commit to the  Calgary Marathon Charity Challenge  and run for Discovery House – congratulations! You’re not just running in Calgary’s biggest marathon but you’re going to help women and children fleeing domestic violence rebuild their lives! Are you thinking about joining the run and not sure how to ask for donations? There are many ways to raise money and we’ve got easy tips to help support your efforts. Every dollar you raise will make a difference.  If you haven’t signed up to run, walk or roll on – join us now! 

10 Tips for Fundraising for the Calgary Marathon Charity Challenge 

  1. Start early by kickstarting your own campaign with your own pledge and ask people to match it. 
  1. Shareyour customized, online fundraising page on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter often and update your social media photo to our social media badge (attached). 
  1. Don’t be afraid to ask. Most people will be really impressed you’re taking on all those miles and they won’t be shy in sponsoring you for a good cause! Make it personal. The message you send to your aunt should be different than the one you send to your buddy from high school. 
  1. Share regular updates and photos about your training progress. Pictures say a thousand words, and videos say even more! 
  1. Update your email signature to “Please consider supporting me in the Calgary Marathon Charity Challenge, which raises money for Discovery House. Check out my webpage at  ________ .’” 
  1. Run fun. Run in a fancy dress. Or a tutu. Plenty of people run in costume and often find their supporters will give more if they offer to do so.  
  1. Offer playlist perks. Encourage people to donate by letting them pick your running playlist. For example, for $50 they get to choose two songs for your playlist! Who knows, you might enjoy expanding your musical repertoire or you might end up running along to the Polish national anthem, the Macarena or ABBA! 
  1. Sell stuff. The good old bake sale is still popular but also consider listing some things on Kijiji – in your ad you can let people know that proceeds will be donated to your run in the Charity Challenge and will benefit Calgarians. 
  1. Party with a purpose! Host an event (if comfortable and safe) like a dinner or quiz night and invite friends and family in return for a financial contribution. 
  1. Offer rewards to those that sponsor you. The more someone sponsors, the better the reward. For example, $10 gets you a high five, $20 a free drink at the next social occasion you spend together and $100, “the best dinner” you have ever cooked. Rewards like car cleaning, snow removal, fresh-baked cookies or babysitting are popular too! 

Thank you again for your commitment to helping us end the traumatic cycle of domestic violence for women and children!  

*Tip: Download the graphic in the post to use freely on your own social media channels to promote your participation in the event!

Nahla's Story*

My life's journey has taught me that I can do or achieve anything that I put my mind to. I was born and raised in West Africa, and I was married off to a much older man when I was in my early twenties. That marriage changed the direction of my life and remains my biggest regret. My ex-husband abused me all through our ten-year marriage. I was abused in every way imaginable; mentally, financially, emotionally, sexually, physically, and otherwise. I lost three unborn babies to domestic violence. When I eventually had my miracle baby... that became my why.

I knew that raising my son in such a toxic environment would hurt him, so I became determined to break the cycle.
 
Having grown up in an abusive environment myself, I decided that I didn’t want my son to grow up and have the mental and emotional struggles as I have had. Once the opportunity presented itself, I fled my country and arrived safely in Canada. It was the beginning of a whole new journey.  

I had become a shadow of myself. I was diagnosed with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and had contemplated suicide at some point. I no longer felt safe anywhere. This resulted in me leaving as soon as I noticed any signs of discomfort and I would rather flee than confront hard situations head-on. In counselling, I learned that I had been in fight or flight mode due to the abuse I went through. My only reason for fighting was again, my son. He was and has been my reason for fighting since then. 

I remember the very first time I set foot in Discovery House to look at our prospective apartment. I had come in from the women's shelter where we had been for about a month, transitioning to second-stage housing. The staff who received me was so warm and kind to me. I immediately felt at home and was happy to move into the apartment.  

I worked with a Discovery House caseworker who became like a member of my family. She was simply amazing. Another staff member worked with my son as his advocate. He struggled with self-esteem, couldn’t express himself, and had trouble forming relationships with his peers. During our time at Discovery House, I noticed that my son’s confidence improved greatly. He is now able to make friends, communicate his feelings, and has formed strong bonds. He has even won awards at his school.  

 In 2020 I got a job and have been working since then. I will be pursuing a career in social work because I have been so inspired by the Discovery House team. I would like to be a ray of hope to someone, having been a recipient of great support myself.  

I am emotional and in tears as I write this. There have been lots of difficulties, however, knowing that I wasn’t alone made a whole lot of difference. Every member of the Discovery House team became our safe place. For the first time in years, I felt secure again. My biggest lessons from Discovery House: 

I remain grateful. Thanks for reading. 

Want to help brave women like Nahla? Join the Circle of Hope and become a monthly donor today.

*Nahla’s name has been changed, and any identifying information has been removed from her story. This story has been shortened from her original testimonial. 

Discovery House Family Violence Prevention Society 2021 – All Rights Reserved
Charitable Registration #11882 3483 RR0001 | Alberta Societies Act Registration #50249381
Domestic Violence Ends Here
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