Imagine for a minute that your partner is no longer the person you fell in love with. No, you didn’t just grow your separate ways. No. One day your partner showed his true self and he turned out to be manipulative and violent.
Maybe that side of him would peek through after a stressful day at work or a night of drinking with his buddies and he would come around the next morning telling you he was sorry and didn’t mean to hurt you. And you love him so you believe him.
You hide the bruises with long sleeve shirts and makeup and put a smile on your face. But then it happens again, and again.
Finally, you have a choice. It’s not an easy one, but in a panic, you leave.
Staying with your partner could mean your life, but leaving is still terrifying. Staying was painful but it was comfortable, now you’re venturing into the unknown. You’re probably feeling confused and alone.
A woman’s initial contact with Rowan House typically starts with a call to our crisis line where her story, much like the one you just read, can be heard. If she agrees that our programming is a good fit and space is available she will begin her journey with us.
Once settled in, women and their children find community at Rowan House. They see other families are going through the same thing and they are not alone.
Women don’t have to worry about where their next meal is going to come from or ensuring their children have clothes on their backs, they can focus on coping and accessing services for moving forward.
Children also find comfort with our staff. They learn how to regulate their emotions and deal with the violence that they’ve witnessed or even experienced themselves.
Our staff encourage women to see themselves as complete and whole. We believe in second chances, new opportunities and homes free of violence.
As a past resident once said, “This is the best place to heal, grow and educate yourself. Bless each family and woman in their journey to greatness.”
Rowan House’s mission is to provide crisis intervention, long-term support and preventative education to break the cycle of abuse in our communities. In doing so, we work to fulfill our vision: that we can all thrive in safe and empowering relationships.
Rowan House Society offers a continuum of trauma-informed services to prevent and end domestic abuse in the rural communities we serve. Our main objective is to provide immediate safety and support for women and children fleeing abuse through our short-term, 24-bed emergency shelter and crisis line. One-on-one support and advocacy in a community setting is also available through our Outreach program for families who may need our services, but not necessarily housing, to keep themselves safe; and we work to challenge social norms and break the cycle of abuse by providing Preventative Education and Awareness for youth in schools, as well as presentations for the general public.
Safety, trustworthiness, choice, collaboration and empowerment are our core values.
We serve a large rural area in southern Alberta including the communities of Okotoks, High River, Black Diamond, Turner Valley, Millarville, Longview, Blackie, Nanton, Vulcan, Claresholm and the surrounding areas.
Our Report to the Community: Shelter Statistics (April 2020 – March 2021)
Crisis Intervention: a 24 bed, 30-day program emergency shelter for women and children fleeing abuse. Our goal is to keep families safe in the short-term while empowering them to create a solid foundation for healing and building a new life free from abuse. We provide food and basic necessities, trauma-informed crisis support, client advocacy and referrals in a number of areas. We also do danger assessments, safety planning and healthy relationship education – all at no cost to the client.
Specialized Children’s program – nurturing, non-judgmental child care practices that reflect an understanding of the challenges children who have witnessed abuse may be facing, including behavioural and developmental issues. Focuses on self-esteem, decision-making and boundary setting, while facilitating the repair of attachment between mother and child.
Outreach – one-on-one support in a community setting for women who may need the programming aspect of the shelter, but not the shelter itself; or they may not be ready to leave their partner but are looking for support to stay safe in the relationship while they navigate their choices. Outreach Support Workers also provide follow-up services as residents move out of the shelter to ensure a more stable transition into the community, reducing the likelihood of a woman returning to her abuser. And, while we are unable to accept men into shelter at this time, we have recently begun offering them supports through this Outreach program as well. We also work together with other agencies in the community who may also be working with families affected by violence to ensure well rounded, ease of support by all.
Our Preventative Education program is one of the most important parts of our work. It includes three different streams of programming aimed at breaking the cycle of abuse at every stage. We work to provide early intervention through age-appropriate healthy relationship education to students in grades 2, 5, 8 and 11; we work to help women currently struggling in relationships with a 6-week healthy relationship education group; and finally, we work to challenge social norms and break the cycle of abuse in our communities through domestic abuse education and awareness through presentations and activities for the general public. These include our free, self-guided Create Change online course, our Journeys to Hope & Healing Podcast and our Family Violence Prevention Month campaigns.
Rowan House receives an annual operating grant from the Government of Alberta that covers approximately two-thirds of our total, overall budget. However, these funds are restricted to our core, Crisis-Intervention program – our emergency shelter. The government dollars ensure we have staff on site 24-7 to answer our crisis line and support women and children in getting to the shelter, and throughout their 30-day stay. A nominal amount goes toward our food, basic client necessities and facility operations, while most of our other programming (Prevention, part of Outreach etc.) is a commitment of our Board of Directors and is fundraised for annually. Approximately $600,000 must be raised to maintain our current level of service.
We look forward to the opportunity to discuss the many ways you can help bring hope to women and children fleeing family violence:
Thank you for your consideration.