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2021-22 Annuals and Financials

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. 

Isolated and living in a new town, Mary* took her 9-year-old daughter and left her abusive and emotionally manipulative partner. “I took my daughter in the middle of a -35-degree cold winter night to a library and from there went to an emergency shelter,” Mary explained. Only those who have been through something traumatic like Mary has, truly know how it feels. That is why Discovery House created a peer-support group to help people like Mary share first-hand experiences with others going through an unimaginable crisis.

By the time Mary left, her partner had stolen her passport, accessed her social media and bank accounts and changed her passwords, stole her important documents, and started becoming physically violent.

After staying in two emergency shelters for 11 weeks, Mary was put forward to Discovery House for support and longer-term accommodation. Discovery House helped Mary get a place of her own by providing housing support and subsidy and was able sort out schooling for her daughter. This fall, she began attending a new 8-week peer-support group organized by the clinical mental health team at Discovery House.

“Our Mental Health Team organizes counselling and therapy sessions to help the mothers and children we support heal from trauma, stress, depression, low self-esteem, anxiety and more so they can begin to rebuild their lives,” says Leslie Hill, Executive Director at Discovery House.

Mary did not know what to expect from the group, but the group made her realize that she was not alone. She now sees the other attendees as friends, decreasing her feelings of isolation. “Although sometimes it feels like you cannot rely on anybody, I have learned through this group that you cannot lose faith in humanity. I feel confident in the safety Discovery House has given me and feel empowered to share my story,” says Mary.

Inspired by the impact the group had on her and other attendees, Mary plans to go back to school to become a counsellor so she can give back to society by helping other people experiencing domestic violence. She intends to keep in contact with the other women she met in the group so they can continue supporting each other as they journey through healing and rebuilding their lives.

“If not for Discovery House, I could have still been at an emergency shelter and might have gone back to my ex-partner,” says Mary.

*Mary is not her real name. It is a pseudonym used to protect her identity.

Having the assurance that what one donates will be making a difference is what drives many to donate to charity. But how would you know which charity organization to choose? Charity Intelligence provides Canadian donors with information that helps them make informed and intelligent giving decisions to have the greatest impact.   

Charity Intelligence analyzes charities to find exceptional charities for donors. They help donors determine a giving portfolio that best reflects their interests and the change they hope to achieve. They dig deep to arrive at top ranking charities that are best in their field and there is no application process. Each year, Charity Intelligence provides a Top 100 report based on their findings.

Discovery House is pleased to be rated as the top women’s charity in the country in 2021 by Charity Intelligence. We received a 5-star rating and A grade in reporting.  

Discovery House provides shelter and support to women and their children who leave abusive relationships, thanks to generous donors and funders. We provide a range of care for women and their children fleeing domestic violence from transitional housing and critical trauma-informed services to enable women and children recover from their trauma, rebuild their lives and be equipped to live independently, free from domestic violence.  This work prevents the cycle of domestic violence from repeating with the next generation.

You can feel confident knowing that the gifts you give to Discovery House do a great deal of good. 

On 15 October, Discovery House Family Violence Prevention Society will launch Harvest Table, a gathering space intended to further support women and children who have experienced domestic violence as they heal, rebuild their lives and become equipped to live independently, free from domestic violence. This space aims to address food insecurity, social isolation and the adverse effects of domestic violence by bringing together women and children who have experienced domestic violence in a communal space where they can communicate with one another and prepare nourishing meals together while building healing connections. 

Located in the heart of the shelter, Harvest Table will facilitate socialization and create a community for mothers and children during a critical turning point in their lives. It has a functional inviting kitchen space with storage, open and clean workspaces and appliances.

The space was made possible in partnership with generous organizations and individuals passionate about ending domestic violence in our society. They include The Calgary Foundation, The Rotary Club of Calgary Downtown, Berkshire, Tom Loszchuk, Wimbush Landscape Construction Services, TradesGuild, P.E.A.R.L. Foundation, Home Depot Foundation, Allstar Corporation, Fuzion, Corian, Buzz Electric, Bartel and Gibson, John Loschuk, Black Forest Wood Company, Good Fellas Electric, Clearwater Charitable Foundation, Primco, Contour Countertop, Upper Canada Forest Products, Julian Tile, Schenk, Chinook Upholstery, Keith Olsen, Adrian Lay, McClark Mechanical, New West Design, Marathon Hardware, Big Al's Texturing, Casterland, Can West Legacy and Calmark. Our lead in-kind partner, [IN] SIDE ]OUT[ Design Studio, designed the space, coordinated and executed the renovation.  

A Discovery House family of eight was surprised with a home makeover courtesy of our team at Discovery House and Stephen’s Backpack Society as part of the Four Seasons of Hope project where families in need are selected to receive furniture.

Mom and her seven children not only received the furniture, but had a personalized makeover done by the team of ten from Stephen's Backpack Society. The house was transformed from a place filled with empty rooms to a warm comfortable haven to call home. They were all so so excited- mom was speechless!

“It’s a new beginning for a great family who’s been through a lot of storms and this is their rainbow today,” said Nancy McPhee, the executive director for Stephen's Backpack Society.

“They’re going to come home, thinking they’re going to find beds and they’re going to have a brand new home,” she said.

Our team at Discovery House will work with mom and her children to ensure they have all the supports they need.

Recently, a team from Discovery House and members of the Inglewood Community Garden (ICG) along with Elder Clarence Wolfleg, took part in the tobacco harvesting ceremony to usher in the harvest season. Elder Clarence blessed the tobacco and all the people that helped with the growing and maintenance of this powerful medicine. Our partnership with ICG helps address food insecurity among residents of Discovery House shelter.

For over four years, Discovery House has partnered with Inglewood Community Garden to grow produce in a volunteer plot where other plot owners volunteer five hours of work during the growing season. All produce grown in the designated plot is donated to agencies across the city. Approximately half of the produce, about 4000 pounds, is donated to Discovery House for families in our care.

The garden is also used for Discovery House kids’ programming during summer. It is an amazing place for the children to explore and learn about where food comes from, plant seeds, harvest, taste fresh produce and take some home. It has been a great place for children to heal and find calmness.

Parent survivors of domestic violence at Discovery House are also invited to participate in this beautiful, safe and calm space where they can just come and be one with nature or cultivate produce, build healing connections and take some harvested goodies.

Our partnership with Inglewood Community Garden allows for a dedicated a plot of land where both Discovery House staff and clients plant, grow and harvest their own fruits and vegetables.

This has had a profound impact on the 120 families and about 400 children who benefit directly from the harvest that Inglewood Community Garden delivers.

In Inglewood Community Garden, our children have found a safe space that has helped them in their journey to heal and grow.


These videos explore the partnership between Inglewood Community Garden and Discovery House, the impact on both organizations and the importance of 'Food Dignity'.

Discovery House Family Violence Prevention Society is pleased to announce the appointment of Leslie Hill as Executive Director effective January 4, 2021.

Leslie has a deep passion for Discovery House and the domestic violence sector. She brings over 17 years of experience in the non-profit sector, serving populations experiencing vulnerabilities such as homelessness, substance use, mental health issues and domestic violence.

An accomplished leader, Leslie was most recently Executive Director of HIV Community Link Society. Previously, she held progressively senior roles in organizations including the Calgary Homeless Foundation and the Canadian Mental Health Association. Additionally, she was Manager of Discovery House’s Community Housing Program between 2012–2013.

A natural team player and collaborator, Leslie has a strong track record of capacity building, leadership, strategic planning, financial oversight and community relations. The Board look forward to welcoming Leslie to Discovery House as we advance toward our goal of a society free of family violence.

Simon Scott

Board Chair, Board of Directors

Discovery House Family Violence Prevention Society

IN THE NEWS

Discovery House Family Violence Prevention Society names new executive director

Dave Dormer

CTVNewsCalgary.ca

Published Thursday, January 28, 2021 11:12AM MST

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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