A 100th birthday is usually a scenario that lends well to the receiving of gifts, not the giving of them. IODE Alberta is turning things on their heads a bit in this way as the women’s charitable organization took its centennial last week to launch a major drive to help out women’s shelters in the province.
They’re trying to raise $100,000 for the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters (ACWS) to boost its children's curriculum.
“It's been recognized over time that family violence has a very negative impact on children's brains. If they have the right kind of counseling treatments and supports, the damage done to the brain can be healed,” explained Valerie Braiden, one of the dozen members of the IODE – Ethel Cuts chapter here in St. Albert, predicating a book called The Healing Brain: Supporting Resilience and Hope, which was developed by Dr. Dawne Clark as a teaching aid for social workers and shelter staff.
The Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire (IODE) offers scholarships, bursaries, book prizes and awards, while pursuing other philanthropic and educational projects in various communities across the country.
In 2011, the ACWS' first children's curriculum was developed for participating shelter childcare workers to implement interventions with mothers and children aged 18 months to five years. Interventions were based on different women's goals and situations, and included attachment-based activities for mother and child as well as individual work with elders.
The money IODE Alberta and its chapters is raising will help pay for training sessions for people to receive a program of education on this book from webinars and in-class situations throughout the province. There has been talk about using this manual in other countries as well, Braiden noted.
It’s vital training, make no mistake. Shelter workers are frontline staff to the mental health crises of the clients that they serve. Many have physical injuries but all have emotional scars that are certainly painful for even the most astute care worker to observe repeatedly.
“It has been pointed out to us by Jan Reimer, the executive director of the ACWS, that the turnover of staff and volunteers in shelters and allied agencies is quite high due to the stressful nature of the work that they do, so you might just get one person fully educated and on stream and a few months later, she leaves to be a truck driver because she witnessed too much and just can't deal with the situation anymore.”Fundraising for this project includes receiving direct donations though the IODE also has a quilt raffle going on as well. You can send cheques and money orders to IODE Alberta at P.O. Box 44004 Southcentre in Calgary, T2J 7C5. Learn more about the organization via its website at www.iode.ca/iode-in-alberta.html. Donations can also be made directly online via email to [email protected] or to www.acws.ca/donate (please specify ‘IODE Alberta 100th Anniversary Project’ on the form as well). Tax receipts will be issued for donations of $20 or greater.