Power of You campaign helps keep doors open in Victoria

Stacy made one of the best choices of her life by going to a transition home in Duncan last year.

Stacy made one of the best choices of her life by going to a transition home in Duncan last year.

It was here that a worker told her about the Bridges for Women Society, a community agency offering employment training and supportive programs for women impacted by violence or abuse.

“They helped me in so many ways,” said Stacy, who did not want to publish her last name. “They helped me with my own self-image and my own self-esteem and made me feel that I was actually worth while.”

The program helped Stacy put together a cover letter and resume, and gave her the knowledge to keep a job once hired.

After six months in the program, Stacy graduated from the Bridges for Women Westshore program and within a month found full-time employment.

“I now have another family. Bridges for Women is like another family. I have a home. The support is the big thing. There’s things that tend to happen in real life that baffle people,” she said. “As someone who has gone through stuff and needed counselling and training, there’s things that happen that set you back. It’s being able to come to some place and be welcomed and talk about it.”

Bridges for Women is one of roughly 111 programs in the Capital Regional District that receives funding from United Way Greater Victoria.

“It helps us make sure that we can keep our doors open in Victoria,” said Victoria Pruden, executive director of Bridges for Women. “We don’t turn anyone away, but as you know, there’s a cost to supporting people in need. It really helps us be the best community resource that we can be.”

United Way Greater Victoria is launching its annual community campaign, the Power of You on Wednesday, Sept. 16, encouraging residents, workplaces and community leaders to become donors and participate with the organization.

Patricia Jelinski, CEO of United Way Greater Victoria, said even the smallest donations can make a difference.

“When you become part of this large collective, which is what makes United Way unique, you’re part of a movement of people that when we come together, have a huge impact in our community,” said Jelinski. “It’s the power of that collective.”

This year, the organization hopes to see 2,000 new donors and raise roughly $6 million. Last year, they helped 80,000 kids, youth, families and seniors in the local community.