Willow Place E-News 2023 Holiday Edition
The holiday season has arrived, and amid the busy-ness, we reflect on the past calendar year with gratitude, and with hearts open to new ideas and opportunities. We are thankful for the dedication and valuable contributions of staff, and volunteers, including our board of directors, and for the many community partners who help us serve violence survivors every day of the year. Special appreciation to all of our caring supporters who contribute by sharing our information with others who may benefit, and through in-kind and monetary gifts – we could not sustain our work without you.
Willow Place continues to experience increasing calls for both outreach and shelter supports – we provided a record 13,400 stays in the past fiscal year (2022-2023). Our current facility poses limitations on our capacity to provide support, and this has also resulted in our movement toward acquiring a new space and hiring a dedicated fundraiser for this purpose. Watch for details to follow in the coming year, as we anticipate this exciting new phase!
Although rising service demands present concerns, this experience may also reveal positive aspects – potentially, more calls are being received because of reduced stigma and increased awareness of supports. As such, we remain committed to ongoing assessment and continual improvement strategies, ensuring we provide low-barrier, trauma-informed, and culturally sensitive violence prevention supports for Manitobans.
On behalf of all of us at Willow Place, we wish you peace, good health and happiness as we say goodbye to the fading year, and approach the New Year with renewed optimism fueled by your kind support and acknowledgment of our work.
RED ROAD TO HEALING
Indigenous Cultural Programming
Our shelter program was very grateful to initiate new cultural supports this fall with the Red Road to Healing program. The ten-week Indigenous cultural program was created by Shannon Buck, a respected Traditional Knowledge Keeper, and has become well-known and appreciated for its unique supports. Not all shelter participants stay with Willow Place for ten weeks, but they can continue to attend the program after departing. The program also offers flexibility for women to join at any point in the series. Those completing all ten sessions receive a certificate.
Chii megwetch, thank you, to the Indigenous Knowledge Keepers who are facilitating Red Road to Healing for the Willow Place violence prevention shelter program – we are grateful to offer this valuable healing support on-site.
THE POWER OF STORY
Welcome and thank you, Amna
Willow Place has enjoyed visits from storyteller and group program facilitator, Amna, this autumn. Amna shares storytelling from around the world to benefit both children and adults in our shelter program. We look forward to watching this program evolve. We have already seen the excitement and interest Amna’s presentations and performances stimulate, and we have witnessed the power of story to unite diverse cultures and also to promote cultural tolerance and understanding.
Welcome Eniola – Holiday Traditions
Eniola A. is the Human Resource Coordinator at Willow Place and she joined our team in spring 2023. Eniola brings a wealth of experience as a Certified Human Resources Professional with decades of dedicated service in the industry.
Please share a bit about your background
I have a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the intricacies of HR management, a solid foundation in HR Policies, and I have consistently demonstrated the ability to navigate the dynamic landscape of human resources while staying abreast of industry trends and best practices.
What are some of the key responsibilities of your role at Willow Place?
In the role of Human Resources Coordinator at Willow Place, I oversee a range of critical HR functions. This includes but is not limited to recruitment and onboarding, employee relations, benefits administration, HR documentation and compliance, training and development and performance management. During my tenure, there have been notable contributions to enhancing the HR processes and employee experience at Willow Place. These achievements stem from a strategic and proactive approach to HR management, fostering a positive workplace culture and ensuring HR policies align with the organization’s goals.
My organizational prowess, excellent communication skills and keen sense of empathy and discretion contribute to effective employee engagement, conflict resolution and a continued collaborative and respectful work environment. I remain dedicated to fostering a workplace where employees thrive and organizational goals are met with efficiency and integrity.
We know you love family gatherings; can you please share a holiday tradition?
A traditional recipe my family enjoys for the holidays is JOLLOF RICE. Nigerian Jollof Rice is more than just a dish: it is a culinary masterpiece deeply rooted in the vibrant culture and traditions of Nigeria. This beloved one-pot rice dish holds a special place in family gatherings, celebration and everyday meals, making it staple across the country.
This dish is a symbol of unity and togetherness, its preparation and consumption brings people together, transcending ethnic and social divides. Whether served at weddings, festivals or Sunday Family dinners Jollof Rice is a culinary ambassador reflecting the rich diversity and shared love for good food in Nigeria.
In Nigerian Household, the preparation of Jollof Rice is often a collaborative and festive affair. Families pass down unique recipes through generations, creating a sense of continuity and tradition. The dish is not only a centerpiece for celebration but also a comforting daily meal, reinforcing the importance of family bonds and shared experience around the dining table.
The ingredients for Nigerian Jollof Rice are a harmonious blend of flavors, creating a delicious and aromatic dish. Common ingredients:
- Long Grain Parboiled Rice: The foundation of Jollof Rice, chosen for its ability to absorb flavors without being mushy.
- Tomatoes and Tomato Paste: a vibrant red color and rich taste comes from ripe tomatoes and tomato paste, forming the base of the dish
- Onions and Bell Peppers and Scotch Bonnet: These aromatic vegetables add depth and sweetness to the dish, enhancing its overall flavor profile
- Vegetable oil: Often used for sautéing and frying, contributing to the dish’s richness
- Spices and Seasonings: A combination of spices like thyme, curry, bay leaves and seasoning cubes or powder provide provides the characteristic savory and aromatic notes
- Prepare the base: blend tomatoes and bell peppers to create a smooth base. Sauté finely chopped onions in vegetable oil until golden brown.
- Add tomato paste: stir in tomato paste, cooking until the mixture thickens and the oil separates
- Seasonings: add a blend of spices and seasoning, adjusting to taste preferences.
- Rinse and parboil rice: wash and parboil the rice until its partially cooked. Drain excess water
- Combine ingredients: mix the parboiled rice with the seasoned tomatoes mixture, ensuring an even coating
- Cooking: cook the rice mixture over low to medium heat, allowing it to absorb the flavors. Add water as needed until the rice is fully cooked.
- Fluff and serve: once cooked, fluff the rice with a fork to separate the grains. Serve hot, garnished with additional ingredients like fried plantains or grilled chicken.
Nigerian Jollof Rice is a celebration of culture, family and the joy of sharing a delicious dish with loved ones.
WELCOME NEW VOLUNTEERS
New, specialized team members
From the onset of COVID, Willow Place had to rapidly adapt. Included in this was our volunteer program. We used downtime enforced by health restrictions to envision, rebuild and streamline our volunteer program, and to find ways to provide more hands-on support for new volunteers.
Most recently, specific needs have arisen in our busy shelter program. These have included cultural supports, translation support, and donation support. Thank you to Volunteer Manitoba for the platform they continue to provide – Willow Place appreciates the visibility and credibility of Volunteer Manitoba services, and the assistance provided to help us recruit for these specialized needs.
Those with questions about our volunteer program are encouraged to contact Shannon on our Community Team: [email protected] or call Shannon at 204-615-0313, ext. 224
FUNDRAISING AND DONATION HIGHLIGHTS
Caring community makes a difference!
November was Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Manitoba, and Willow Place launched our Power of PJs campaign, together with other Manitoba shelters in the Gender Equity Manitoba (GEM) network. Thanks to caring community, we were able to exceed our goal of collecting 150 pairs of new pajamas for women and children in shelter! November also was highlighted by community fundraising including Hockey Helps the Homeless, Royal LePage Shelter Foundation (Ecuador Trek). We are so grateful for the funds raised by these endeavors, and also for the awareness they raise.
Our shelter program is currently accepting donations of stocking stuffer gifts and new unwrapped gifts for women and children. Our deadline to receive items is December 19. For information and to arrange your donation, please contact Renee or Pam:
Renee: 204-615-0313, ext. 231 ([email protected])
Pam: 204-615-0313, ext. 237 ([email protected])
Our shelter program needs to replace a sectional sofa and is hoping we can find a donor. Our needs are a bit particular due to the busy nature of our spaces. The sectional can be gently used but needs to be leather or pleather, with seating for 6-8 adults, dark in colour (brown, black or grey), and with no rips or punctures. If you are able to help out, please contact Pam:
204-615-0313, ext. 237 ([email protected] )
Thank you for your kind support! To quote celebrated Indigenous author, Richard Wagamese, “We are all one drum and we need each other.”
Learn more about Richard Wagamese: CLICK HERE!