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WILLOW PLACE NEWS – February 2022 – Willow Place

WILLOW PLACE NEWS – February 2022

Supporting well-being: body, mind and spirit

Maybe you have heard of the winter blues? The shorter days, extreme cold temperatures and factors like challenging road conditions and transportation concerns can amplify feelings of isolation and higher stress levels that can occur during long, prairie winters.  For the past two years the impact of the coronavirus has contributed additional stresses.

The good news is that small changes can really tip the balance toward a happier and healthier winter! Suggestions include taking a walk outdoors daily to both support healthy immune, physical strength and endurance, as well as mental health. Just 10-15 minutes can make a difference!

Hydration is also important – winter air can be dry, and with many of us wearing COVID masks, it takes a bit of extra effort and awareness to remain well-hydrated. One guideline suggests one glass of water for every 10 kg of body weight, so a person weighing 70 kg should aim for 7 glasses of water a day. Not a water drinker? Start slowly, and boost hydration with herbal tea or soups.

Social needs can suffer during the winter. Setting up check-ins with friends or family that live alone; for those working from home, or confined to home by weather or illness, can be transformative for both parties.  Volunteering once or twice a month, including random acts of kindness, also help with social needs, as well as another fantastic benefit – did you know that when you help others, it triggers a biochemical reaction to support a healthier immune system?
Preparing meals in advance, and freezing portions for later use can also support wellness, providing a break on days when you feel too tired to cook. Preparing extra soup to share with a friend or neighbour, running an errand, or offering a ride on a cold day, are examples of small gestures that offer a welcome boost to both the giver and the receiver of the kindness. Where health precautions allow, connecting with a family member or neighbour to share bulk purchases and meal preparation can also build positive supports, and lessen the burden of meal preparation and food costs.

Another wellbeing tip to beat the winter blues is trying a new hobby or activity – many options are available online and with low or no cost.  Having something to look forward to is a wonderful thing, and depending on the format, hobbies can also support social needs.

Acceptance is possibly the most important aspect to managing wellness – what are some things you can only enjoy in winter?  Appreciating where you are at can support shifting the focus to things you have and can do, versus what you may lack. Listing what you are grateful for each day, and posting it where you will see it throughout the day is a helpful way to see potential in each day, regardless of the weather or season.

 Here are some links to support your winter wellness goals: GET OUTDOORS

Sustaining vital programs; responding to needs

Increasingly, Willow Place relies upon donations, fundraising and grant funds to sustain 24-hour family violence prevention programs and supports.  Willow Place continues to see higher demand for our services, along with increased operational costs, due to the coronavirus pandemic. We are also seeing individuals seeking support with more acute and complex needs. Willow Place must continually re-assess and adapt service delivery to meet changing needs. As such, we are especially thankful for the following organizations who have provided granted funds:

Women’s Shelters Canada, COVID recovery grant
Second Harvest Canada, food security grant
Healthy Together Now, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority – healthy living grant
Hockey Helps the Homeless
, housing support grant
Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, 
granted funds from agent fundraising
Winnipeg Foundation, 
family fund grants for general operations
Abundance Canada, 
gifting funds for general operations

We envision a future where healthy relationships flourish – thank you for sharing in this vision!

24-hour support and information: 1-877-977-0007 or 204-615-0311
Text support: 204-792-5302

Making a difference daily

The shelter support worker role is fundamental to Willow Place’s family violence shelter program.  Shelter support workers are versatile and highly skilled individuals who provide a wide range of valuable supports to women and children in the shelter program.  Support workers may manage 24-hour reception desk duties, while assisting with new participant intake and orientation to the shelter, and meeting daily needs of diverse participants in a fast-paced and ever-changing environment.  To allow mothers time to meet with counsellors, take a shower or make phone calls, shelter support may assist with child-minding.  Coordination of meal-times, snacks and preparation and cleaning of rooms and common areas, as also areas where shelter support plays a vital role. Twice weekly, support workers will facilitate house meetings with shelter residents, to share guidelines and information with participants, and to hear and bring forward participant concerns. Shelter support workers also support receiving and organizing of donations.  Maintaining safe and comfortable spaces is only possible with the contributions of shelter support staff – throughout COVID there have been additional tasks required, including more frequent general sanitizing as well as deep-cleaning routines.

Here is what Shelter Support Worker, Analita, had to say:

Q: What is your favourite aspect of the shelter support role?
A: Getting to work directly with the women and children who are in shelter and supporting  participants in activities such as games, crafts and groups

Q: What is one thing you have learned?
A: Learning to communicate positively with women from different cultural backgrounds and supporting individuals who are involved in abusive relationships

Q: What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a shelter support worker?
A: This line of work can be stressful, lean on your coworkers and support them in the same way – always make sure to find time for laughter!


Serving diverse needs in community

Outreach is an important service provided by Willow Place, both on our own and with partner organizations. Outreach is needed for a number of reasons – for example, for earlier intervention when individuals are facing relationship difficulties.  The outreach program allows Willow Place to support a broader variety of needs, including supports for women, men, and also couples. Participants in outreach programming can access trauma-informed counselling and referral to other beneficial supports.

Willow Place counsellor, Sherri, provides outreach services by phone and also on-site with community partners and offered the following insights:

Q: What are some things you have learned or observed in the outreach program?
A: I was reminded today of how abuse does not discriminate. No matter the gender, race, educational level or socio-economic status, abuse can affect anyone

Q: Can you share a success story?
A: I have been blessed to walk alongside an individual that has connected back to their roots and traditional ways after fleeing an abusive relationship. What an honour to bear witness to someone moving from crisis toward thriving
Q: What is a something that inspires you in your work?
A: “The most important relationship we can all have is the one you have with yourself.” ~ Aristotle.

If in immediate physical danger – individuals should call 911
For 24-hour info and support: 1-877-977-0007 or 204-615-0311

Donate, share and connect

There are many ways to support Willow Place – all support, large and small is appreciated and makes a difference for participants of our family violence shelter and outreach programs! Willow Place relies upon both in-kind and monetary support to fund our services and to provide a wide array of essentials for our participants. We keep a wish list on our web site for those wishing to donate in-kind items. Due to limited space and staffing resources, we cannot accept all in-kind donations, but will happily refer donors to community partners who may be in need of certain items. 

Another great way to support Willow Place is by sharing our information!  Willow Place provides information on programs and services, family violence statistics, donation needs, community partnerships, healthy relationships and wellness on our web site and social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest. When you follow Willow Place and share our posts, you let others know about resources available in our region.

In recent months, Willow Place has been inspired by the kindness, generosity and creativity of caring community members! Domino’s Pizza and Supper Central have shared meals for shelter participants; EMK Clothing has donated proceeds of sales via their Kindness campaign; and many local crafters have shared quilts, afghans, mittens, scarves. Recently, the Alt Hotel, Winnipeg has donated gently used bedding and towels, and I.C.E Recreational Marketing donated 30 boxes of children’s COVID masks!  Winnipeg Soup Sisters continue to bring family packs of frozen soup to feed our shelter participants, along with wonderful wish list items collected from community.  Calendar Club stores have provided several large bags of new charity teddy bears for the shelter, and SuperStore locations in Winnipeg continue to support us with occasional donations of Joe Fresh clothing and other items.  Chatters Salons have made several general donations of hair care products in the last year, and Richlu Manufacturing, Tough Duck staff and management have supported Willow Place year-round, including during the holiday season, and in the summer months with “Christmas in July” initiatives to fulfill wish list needs of our shelter program – truly amazing!

The coronavirus pandemic has radically changed so many things and has presented many challenges, including widespread economic impacts. One bright spot, however, has been increased awareness of the need for family violence prevention services, and improved online giving support. Willow Place also maintains an Amazon Wish List to make purchasing decisions easier for donors, and uses Canada Helps for safe and convenient monetary donations.

Here are some helpful links to support Willow Place!