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A Message from our Executive Director

Well, here we are at another amazing juncture. This is my last newsletter message as the Executive Director of Women’s Community House (WCH) as our world officially turns on its axis and we move forward with a new organization, a new name, a new look, a new vision and an expanded service offering in 2017. This is so exciting, and an abundance of work is currently underway to ensure that we are so much more than the sum of our parts. As Executive Director of the new organization, I will continue to lead with perseverance, devotion and a strong belief that a community free of violence is within our reach. As Anne Baxter, President/Chair of the WCH board, so eloquently expressed her thoughts in our 2015/16 Annual General Report, I wanted to share the highlights of her message: From the President 2016 was a history making year for Women’s Community House (WCH) and to honour this pivotal part of our rich history, I found myself “looking back” over the years. Since 1978, Women’s Community House has grown to be one of the largest shelters in the country. We are an active and participatory member of a dynamic community that has achieved an international reputation for services offered to abused women and their children. Through advocacy at the regional, provincial, national and international level, Women’s Community House promotes solutions to ending violence against women. During this past year, we have continued to innovate and grow. WCH and the Sexual Assault Centre London (SACL) explored whether a merger of the two organizations would enable us to provide even better services for those impacted by woman abuse and sexual violence. After two years of careful consultation with all audiences, together with relationship-building across the two organizations, both boards agreed unanimously, at a joint board meeting on June 22, 2016, to become one organization. It was an emotionally charged meeting and a truly significant point in the history of both organizations. Jennifer Noel, Chair, SACL said, “We know that we will be stronger together! The time is now for us to strengthen our presence in our community and continue to create communities of safe spaces and advocate for social and political change”. We dream of an inclusive world of shared power where everyone lives freely without fear of violence. We believe that together, and with our many partners and those with lived experience, we can make this vision a reality. Over the coming months, we will begin the integration process with the stalwart belief that together we will be able to deliver better service to those impacted by woman abuse and sexual violence. We owe a debt of thanks to many:
  • To our founding mothers who had the vision to know that our community was in desperate need of a shelter and for having the fortitude to soldier on to make that a reality;
  • To our many board members and volunteers who, over the last 38 years, through their unwavering commitment, devotion and vision, have helped shape WCH into an outstanding leader in this community, and nationwide;
  • To the Executive Directors, the management teams and their staff who each day, every day, 365 days a year, tirelessly provided/provide quality service with high levels of client satisfaction. Your dedication to the vision and mission of WCH is exemplary;
  • To our current board and members of the unification committee who gave many hours, much expertise and knowledge with the end decision to become one organization is sincerely acknowledged and much appreciated.
I am honoured and privileged to have been a Board member and Chair of the Board of Directors of Women’s Community House. I am confident that the next chapter in our history will be as exciting and, undoubtedly, as remarkable and significant as the last. - submitted by Kate Wiggins