Coming off the heels of a seasonal bump in shelter demand from early January, the Rowan House Society has been looking into new ways to engage the Foothills community both in regards to shelter demands and costs, and issues of domestic violence and abuse.

Executive Director for the Rowan House Society Sherrie Botten says, they were able to visit more local schools in 2018, bringing awareness and education towards a wide range of topics.

"Last year in our prevention program, we did presentations in 154 schools, which is up from 121 in 2017. In our prevention programs we go into schools and talk with students about bullying, dating violence and about healthy and unhealthy relationships. We run the program in grades 2,5,8 and 11. It's really exciting to part of most schools in the community, and it fits in well with the curriculum."

This year, Rowan House launched the Breakfast With The Guys event, which is an initiative Botten says the society wants to continue to support.

"We're doing a lot of work with men and boys, we had our first Breakfast With The Guys event last November, and it's something we want to continue next November."

However, the group has also been looking into a few new programs, and Botten says one of their programs they plan to launch aims to raise awareness in the community towards the ongoing cost of supporting families in an emergency shelter.

"Another exciting thing we plan on launching in 2019, is the Pay For A Day Campaign. That's where we look at questions like; what does it really cost for a woman or child to be in the shelter, and how the community can support that, whether it's through a donation or volunteering at the shelter. When women and children come to the shelter, they don't need to pay for anything when they are here, we also provide all the instrumental things they need, like food, clothing and toiletries."

Lastly, Botten says the crew is looking into ways they can keep families safe from a domestic abuse situation, while still allowing the affected victims to remain in a familiar environment.

"We're exploring a stay at home model, where the abuser leaves the house and the family gets to stay at their home. It's much less expensive, and more supportive for women and children who will be able to stay in their own home."

More information on the Rowan House Society can be found here.


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