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Social work students fundraise for women and children in crisis

Balloon animals, a professional hula-hooper, and a BBQ took over the Green on July 12, as social work students raised funds and awareness for women and children in crisis.

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By Katherine Gibson (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: July 16, 2014

SOWK 380 raises awareness for local transitional homes. (Image:  Alyssa Ruth)

SOWK 380 raises awareness for local transitional homes. (Image: Alyssa Ruth)

Balloon animals, a professional hula-hooper, and a BBQ took over the Green on July 12, as social work students raised funds and awareness for women and children in crisis.

Fourth-year social work student Alyssa Kavanagh, along with others from her SOWK 380 class, spent the afternoon collecting items to support local transitional homes. Several members from the group have personal experience with these homes; Kavanagh herself completed a practicum in one of the facilities.

Kavanagh’s experience broadened her understanding of the large scope of women and children who require transitional homes.

“When I did my practicum with one of [the transitional homes],” she says, “I went into a room and there were just files, and files, and files of all the women who have been in there — it was pretty shocking, actually, to see how many people over the years actually utilized these transitional houses.

“You don’t really know about it until you hear about it, or maybe you need the services. It’s definitely really important because so many women need to use these transition houses and there aren’t always enough resources to give out to the women.”

Kavanagh explains that fundraising for household goods is also important because many women who enter these facilities have very few possessions with them.

“A lot of women come through fleeing abuse and when they get there they don’t have anything but the clothes on their back,” she explains. “They may not necessarily be going back home from where they came from because sometimes that could be a dangerous situation.”

The fundraiser supports transitional homes in the Fraser Valley, which Kavanagh believes will help connect students to the event.

“They’re all local organizations: it’s Abbotsford; it’s Mission; it’s Chilliwack,” she continues. “They’re all areas that students reside in. It affects everyone.”

Although there is no formal plan to continue fundraising for these facilities, Kavanagh maintains that students can and should support transitional homes in their communities.

“Women are the mothers of our children and it’s really important to be able to give every woman opportunity,” she concludes. “Protection and safety is the number one goal, and to give better opportunities to women who are maybe not in the best situations and really need support.”

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