For two decades, the Jeanne Renault Golf Classic has raised funds for the Woolwich Community Service’s Family Violence Prevention program (FVP). Last year, the tournament brought in some $13,800, which was used to support 118 victims of family violence in the community. This year, the event will take place on August 14 at the Conestoga Country Club, and organizers hope they can top last year’s numbers.
“The Family Violence Prevention Program is one of the many vital programs that the Woolwich Community Services provides,” said Leigh-Anne Quinn, WCS community resource coordinator. “We serve all of Woolwich Township and northern Wellesley Township, so anybody within that catchment area can utilize the program. Last year, the program was able to educate young people on how to reduce violence in their lives through the public education component of the program.”
Libby Berry is an educator with the program who teaches school children strategies for preventing violence. In 2013, Berry told The Observer about the positive lessons the program imparts to students.
“Giving children the tools to build healthy relationships can prevent bullying, limit peer pressure and give children the confidence that they need to foster friendships that will help them to reach their full potential,” Berry said.
She added, “The program has been embraced by area schools and their partnership in reinforcing the healthy relationship curriculum is deeply appreciated.”
For victims of domestic violence, the FVP provides options to help men and women escape controlling or abusive relationships. That includes education and safety planning, as well as support for finding housing assistance, counseling or legal services.
“We deal with the beginning, the crisis, the urgent part of what’s going on,” FVP coordinator Virginia Logan said. “But it’s also a long term program, so people can get ongoing individual support, counselling, we can help them get therapy they need to work through the trauma that they’ve lived. We have four stages of women’s groups that we offer, and it’s really an opportunity for women to do some healing work and get healthier.”
The support can have far reaching implications, Logan said.
“We get to see women who need to get out, get out and be safe and heal and get healthy. So what I think happens is that it breaks the cycle of violence, so that the kids connected to these families aren’t, hopefully, going to continue the same pattern that they’ve grown up with.”
Quinn urged members of the community to take part in the event.
“It is a major fundraiser for that particular program,” she said. “It is a really great day for golfers to get out and support a great cause,” Quinn said. “So they tee off at 12:55 p.m. and basically they are going to get 18 holes of golf with a cart, and the opportunity to get out of the office for the day. But not only that, in the evening we have a dinner, there is a silent auction, we have a prize table, we do raffles.”
The WCS is still accepting foursomes, with an early bird cost of $125 per golfer. After August 5, the entry fee is $140 per golfer.