Women in Victoria who have experienced violence, trauma, abuse and neglect have the opportunity to go to a safe place to get support from a local women’s centre, Bridges for Women Society.
Tomorrow (Oct. 16), Bridges for Women is opening its doors to the public to create awareness about the work they do for women in Greater Victoria.
“We really wanted to create an opportunity for our donors, our prospective students and community members to be able to come into Bridges and get the experience of what happens for the clients when they come here,” said Victoria Pruden, executive director of Bridges for Women.
Bridges for Women offers a six-month employment program, preparing women for the workforce, trauma counselling and mentoring, among other programs.
“Our typical client is a woman that is in recovery from having left an abusive relationship,” said Pruden. “In some ways the experience of being abused is holding them back.”
Through the various programs and counselling, Pruden said there is always a huge transformation that takes place in the women.
“By the time they leave the program, they’re ready to either go out and get work or go back to school.”
The open house will be a chance for people to get a behind-the-scenes look of what goes on at Bridges for Women.
“We are an agency that deals with safety concerns, so often times our offices are closed to protect the clients who are coming here, so this is a chance for people to come here and check it out in a safe and fun way,” said Pruden.
At the open house there will be food, refreshments, music and door prizes. There will also be an opportunity to meet some of the society’s staff and students.
Bridges for Women is a not-for-profit society and relies on community donations and fundraising.
“We’re finding that our clients are really hungry right now,” said Pruden.
Cash donations as well as grocery store gift cards are accepted. Donations can be made in person at 320-1175 Cook St. or online at bridgesforwomen.ca.
The open house takes place Oct. 16 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.