New focus for Northern Haven outreach programs

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

Since 1996, Northern Haven Support Society has helped women and their children escape domestic violence in Slave Lake. Throughout that time, there has been an outreach education program. This now has a new focus, because of a new grant.

“The grant is prevention of family violence and abuse,” says Nikki, Northern Haven outreach worker. For security reasons, Northern Haven staff do not use their last names.

The new outreach program has four aspects: presentations, Learning Circles, Ladies Skill Building Sessions, and VIP Program.

VIP stands for Violence Is Preventable Program and is a school-based program.

Northern Haven outreach has taught courses in the schools for years.

The old program targeted teenagers, says Nikki. This one is for Kindergarten to Grade 12.

“It (VIP) increases awareness of the effects that domestic violence has on students,” she says.

Learning Circles will be open for all community members, both men and women. These will be Northern Haven team members sharing their knowledge about healthy relationships, domestic abuse, how to support someone in an abusive relationship, healthy parenting, financial abuse, sexual consent, etc.

“Within Northern Haven we have some really skilled women,” says Nikki. “Our main goal is to deliver it in the most culturally-sensitive way, so it is welcoming and accessible for everyone. I’m hoping to get a couple of Learning Circles going this summer.”

The first Ladies Skill Building session is Basic Vehicle Maintenance. It is July 19 from 1 to 3 p.m. Registration is required. To register, call or text 587-516-0543.

“It’s open to any lady,” says Nikki.

Ladies Skill Building will be focused on teaching skills needed to live independently. Topics may include basic budgeting, simple home repairs, healthy communication tools, recipes on a budget, safe food handling practices, edible gardening, canning, etc.

Northern Haven may also start up a women’s book club.

Nikki is looking for other organizations and individuals to collaborate.

“We will have other skill-building sessions that are also open to men,” says Nikki.

Nikki will also have information booths set up in the community.

Northern Haven also runs a women’s emergency shelter and has community services.

The emergency shelter opened in 2008. It provides a safe place to live for women, escaping domestic violence, and their children.

Community services support women, men, and their children escaping domestic violence who are living in the community.

Both the shelter and community services provide a variety of supports to their clients. These range from parenting support, financial education, transportation, safety planning and danger assessments.

Northern Haven supports people from Slave Lake, Faust, Kinuso, Driftpile, Smith and the rest of the M.D. of Lesser Slave River. Northern Haven Support Society crisis line is 1-877-214-4418.

There are also women’s shelters in Wabasca 780-897-3333 and Sucker Creek 780-523-2929.

Nikki is the new outreach worker at Northern Haven Support Society.

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