Supporters of Woolwich Community Services have made some midweek golf a tradition for 23 years, coming out for the Jeanne Renault Golf Classic. This time out, they’ll be gathering on August 10, a week earlier than usual, at the Conestoga Country Club.
The event is WCS’s one big fundraiser each year for its family violence prevention program. It’s a key contributor to keeping the program’s work going in Woolwich and parts of Wellesley, explains Virginia Logan, coordinator of the family violence prevention program.
There’s a twofold aspect to the work, she noted. There is a violence prevention aspect, which focuses on educating school-aged children in the townships about domestic violence, and a supportive aspect that helps survivors dealing with untenable circumstances.
To promote prevention, WCS hires an educator that visits schools in the townships.
“She teaches children right from JK-SK up to Grade 8,” said Logan. “She goes in every class three times in a year and teaches them healthy relationship lessons – so, healthy relationship skills – and does it age appropriately.”
For the younger kids, that might be through songs and puppets; for the older kids, something more straightforward.
“It’s really the work in the schools that I think is key, because we want it to stop. We want to break that cycle.”
The other part of the family violence prevention program supports people, mainly women and children who’ve been in abusive relationships, though men are not immune, said Logan.
The individual and group supports on offer will vary considerably depending on each person’s situation, she added, but generally revolve around getting people access to the services that they need, be it housing, legal, financial or the like.
“The (program) last year educated 2,805 young people about how to reduce violence in their lives. It also supported 117 women and men who were survivors of domestic violence, in our last year only,” said Kelly-Marie Bryant, community resource coordinator at WCS.
The program is funded in part by the Ministry of Community and Social Services, but WCS is expected to raise about 40 per cent of the budget themselves to keep the program going. The tournament is a big part of that, with all proceeds from the event earmarked for family violence prevention efforts.
The tournament will run from 1-5:30 p.m. next Thursday at the Conestogo club.