‘Where to turn’ is the theme of this year’s Family Violence Prevention Month. Northern Haven Support Society board has two events in November. It is launching an ongoing campaign called Slave Lake Speaks Out and has a purple Christmas tree at the Christmas Craft Sale to collect gifts for the women and children in the shelter.
Purple represents women’s shelters and the fight against domestic violence.
The goal with Slave Lake Speaks Out, #SLSpeaksOut, is to get people talking about domestic violence.
“Domestic violence is everyone’s business,” says Lynn Haas, NHSS board chair. “Domestic violence is not a deep dark secret anymore.” For years, it was something that people tried not to think about, she continues, but people can’t be silent anymore. If you see something, talk to the people. If you hear someone screaming, call the police, don’t investigate yourself. For people experiencing abuse there are places to turn.
“Don’t remain silent, speak out,” Haas says. “By speaking out, you learn where to turn.”
Northern Haven Shelter and Outreach, the RCMP, and area churches are places that people can turn to if they see or experience domestic violence, says Haas.
The campaign will include handing out key chains and magnets. There are also posters in bathrooms and bars for NHSS. If you need help call 1-800-323-7288 or 780-849-4418.
In past years, NHSS board has had a vehicle outside the MRC during the craft sale. However, since it is often cold in November, they decided to move the clothing and toy drive inside. They will be in the foyer of the Multi-Rec Centre in Slave Lake on November 15 and 16 with a purple Christmas tree. The goal is for people to bring donations of women and children’s clothing and toys. Clothing items mentioned were pajamas, socks, underwear, toques, mitts, diapers, and other basic items that a family fleeing violence may need.
Donations will be placed on and around the purple Christmas tree. These will be given to women and children staying at the shelter.
The goal is to make it “nicer in the shelter around Christmas time,” says Haas.
Northern Haven Support Society is “a wonderful asset to the community,” says Haas. It started out with three women meeting together and is now an 11-bed staffed shelter.
People interested in volunteering with the purple Christmas tree, with the Slave Lake Speaks Out campaign, or other projects can contact Haas at 780-805-9014.