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Waypoints Raises $65,000 at Dinner Theatre Fundraiser

Thank you so much to Outlaw Films for producing a fun video for The Awesome 80s Prom!

Click on the image below to view the video on our Facebook page (opens in new tab):

www.facebook.com/waypointswb/videos/1526349204071990/

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PRESS RELEASE - JUNE 12, 2016

Waypoints Reopens Unity House and the Compass

Restoration activities have already commenced at Unity House, the Wood Buffalo Region's only Emergency Women's Shelter, and The Compass, a 78-unit affordable housing apartment building in Timberlea. "ServiceMaster, our cleaning and restoration company, has told us they will be able to turn all three, (including a duplex used for programs) of our buildings back over to us by June 30th," said Michele Taylor, Waypoints' Executive Director. "We have some smoke damage in some of our buildings, fridges need to be replaced, roof insulation needs to be replaced and there is a lot of cleaning being done, including floors, walls, all surfaces, ventilation systems and all contents. It is a big job and some of our donated items will have to be replaced," noted Taylor.

Unity House will reopen on July 4th, including their 24-7 domestic violence crisis line, and 24-7 sexual assault and abuse crisis line. The Compass will be fully operational by July 1st. "We were very lucky to have sustained as little damage as we did, and our thoughts are with all of the community members who lost their homes," added Taylor.

For more information contact Michelle Taylor, Executive Director at michele.taylor@waypointswb.ca or call her cell on 780-881-8099

 

Click here to download this
press release in pdf format

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PRESS RELEASE - MAY 26, 2016

Important Update from Waypoints (formerly Fort McMurray Family Crisis Society)

Waypoints ceased operations of all its programs and services and closed its doors by 4:00 PM on May 3rd in response to a mandatory evacuation of the downtown and shortly after Timberlea. Those involved ensuring clients at Unity House and Second Stage Housing at the Compass were moved to a safe location and the Housing First clients were able to get transportation to a reception centre. Staff were contacted, notified of the situation and advised to fuel up their vehicles as soon as possible. For Waypoints, along with the rest of the community of Fort McMurray, it was the start of what would become a very different future from what we had been expecting to live.

Fast forward to May 26th and the Waypoints leadership team of Executive Director and Managers have been meeting virtually and through text groups to plan communications, ensure financial obligations are met, insurance claims are started, and prepare for restarting operation. “After making sure that our clients and staff were safe and our buildings were as secure as we could make them, we focussed on communications internally, with our board and funders, as well as with social social profit coordination efforts.” said Michelle Taylor, Executive Director. “With approval from our funders, we continued to pay all but out casual call-in staff throughout this period. Knowing that their income was secure during this time was incredibly important to the well-being of our staff and we thank our funders for seeing how important continued pay would be to the ability to restart operations at the first opportunity and to retaining our staff.” said Taylor.

Currently all three Waypoints buildings are standing and awaiting assessment for smoke and water damage from Waypoints’ insurance adjusters on June 6th. “After the walkthrough, we hope to have a good idea of timelines to get Unity House, the Compass and the Opportunities for Change Centre back open and to relaunch our programs and services for the community. We are tentatively planning to start basic operations by July 4th. This would include the leadership and administration teams working out of the first floor of Unity House.” said Taylor. “As soon as we have tentative dates for reopening Unity House, our two crisis lines and the Compass, we will release them on our website and through social media.” added Taylor. “The staff can’t wait to get back to work!”

Waypoints operates a 36-bad emergency women’s shelter, an Opportunities for Change centre, domestic violence outreach programs and services, sexual assault programs and services, as affordable housing apartment building, Housing First program and Second Stage Housing for women escaping domestic violence. They also operate two crisis lines for the Community.

For more information contact Michelle Taylor, Executive Director at michele.taylor@waypointswb.ca or call her cell on 780-881-8099

 

Click here to download this
press release in pdf format

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FORT MCMURRAY – February 9, 2016

Dinner Theatre a Hit in Fort McMurray!

Every February Waypoints, (formerly the Family Crisis Society) holds their annual fundraiser to support the operations of its women’s shelter and ten other programs that contribute to the fight against family violence, sexual assault & homelessness. From Chef Michael’s Coast to Coast Kitchen Party to Luv-a-polooza with the Beatles tribute one year and the Rat Pack the next, Waypoints has had a lot of success with their events. But this year was something different.

“We wanted to create a ‘must see’ event for Fort McMurray. Something different, a unique experience that people would be talking about long after the event. This year, we achieved that with ‘Fanny and Manny Tie the Knot, a Delicious Comedy Dinner Theatre’. The idea came from ‘Tony and Tina’s Wedding – Dinner Theatre in Las Vegas’ and grew into purchasing a similar script and partnering with a local theatre company with a passion for the work we do in the community. This company is Theatre; Just Because, helmed by Michelle Thorne and Danna-Rae Evasiuk,” said Michele Taylor, Waypoints’ Executive Director.

From that point, the Waypoints’ team led by Event Coordinator, Jenna Longaphie, along with Theatre; Just Because, went to work to create a night of comedy showcasing our local talent in an immersive experience that would be fun for everyone involved. The Suncor Energey Centre for the Performing Arts proved to be the perfect venue for a dinner theatre and Ristorante Cosa Nostra came on board to put the “delicious” in the dinner.

Both nights sold out weeks ahead of the event. “Silent auction items are still being picked up, but we believe we have made $52,000 for shelter operations.” said Taylor. “In a time of such ecomonic stress, to see this level of support for the women’s shelter is really impressive. This is just one more reason to love this community,” said Board President, Cliff Dimm. “We are excited to continue our partnership with Theatre; Just Because and make a February dinner theatre our signature annual event. Be sure to get your tickets early next year, they are sure to sell out again!,” says Taylor.

For more information please contact Jenna Longaphie at jenna.longaphie@waypointswb.ca or 587-537-8903 ext 9.

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I Moustache You For Consent

Sexual Awareness Month, May 2015

Waypoints' upcoming I ‘Mustache’ You for Consent campaign is designed to change public opinion regarding sexual assault within our community. The campaign aims to raise public awareness on sexual assault and to encourage citizens of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo to talk about this difficult and uncomfortable topic of sexual assault and consent.

According to Statistics Canada, 21,900 sexual assaults were reported to the police in 2012. However, the number of sexual assaults actually committed is estimated to be much higher since many individuals are unclear of what is considered a sexual assault and how consent is defined. To change that, the I ‘Mustache’ You for Consent campaign focuses on providing a clear understanding of how to ensure consent has been obtained before engaging in sexual activities.

The Canadian Criminal Code states that consent is NOT given if: the person is unconscious; it is an abuse of power, trust, or authority; the person does not say yes; or the person changes her/his mind. It is important to know and remember that the legal age of consent in Canada is 16-years-old and it is your personal responsibility to obtain consent prior to engaging in any sexual activity regardless of your relationship status.

The I ‘Mustache” You for Consent campaign was designed as a part of the Sexual Assault Awareness Month beginning May 1. Throughout the month of May, Waypoints' Sexual Assault Program will be promoting this campaign at a variety of locations around town. At each location, community members will have a chance to purchase I ‘Mustache’ You for Consent t-shirts and mustaches on a stick. People are encouraged to come out, show support and spread the message about consent by taking ‘mustache’ photos and using #SAPYMM. The Instagram account will be checked regularly by sexual assault program staff members for the most creative I ‘Mustache’ You for Consent photo; at the end of May the owner of the most creative photo will win a gift certificate at a supporting local business.

In addition to community awareness, the Sexual assault program also provides individual counselling; hospital, court and RCMP support; support groups; and educational resources. For more information on the I ‘Mustache’ You for Consent campaign, sexual assault and/or consent, contact Waypoints' Sexual Assault Program at 780-743-4691 ext. 232.

Article first appeared in Your McMurray Magazine's Home & Garden Guide 2015

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Healing Journey: A Resourcing Support Group for Women Who Have Experienced Childhood Sexual Abuse

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Trade Show Visitors: Vote for FMFCS!

Vote for Waypoints at Syncrude Canada's booth in the Fort McMurray Tourism's Spring Show and Market on April 24-26.

If we win the most votes, Syncrude Canada will donate $10,000 to Second Stage Housing for women and children that need increased security, subsidized housing and recovery support.

Syncrude's booth will be located in the main concourse at the Suncor Community Leisure Centre.

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Waypoints' Recycling Bin in support of the Stop the Hurting, Start the Healing Campaign

Deposit your bottles and cans in Waypoints' Recycling Bin located inside the Advanced Bottle Depot, downtown at 8322 Fraser Avenue. All proceeds will go towards the Stop the Hurting, Start the Healing Capital Campaign for a new emergency women and children's shelter in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

This will be the largest domestic violence construction project underway in Alberta and will meet the communities need for these type of facilities, programs and services for years to come.

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Royal LePage True North Realty Team 7th Annual National Garage Sale for Shelter, May 9, 2015

Join the Royal LePage True North Realty Team for the 7th Annual National Garage Sale for Shelter on May 9, 2015 from 9AM to 1PM at the Fort City Church (101 Spruce Street). It's a fun charity event in support of our local women's shelter.

Donations are now being accepted and can be dropped off at the Royal LePage True North Realty office: Downtown at 8600 Franklin Avenue - #618.

Residents donating large items (furniture, etc.) can arrange a pick-up appointment in advance by calling the office at 780-743-1137. Matco Moving Solutions will be picking the items up from donators on Friday, May 8, 2015.

Click here to learn more about the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation.

Click here to download the official press release in pdf format.

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Waypoints' 3rd Annual Tournament of Hope at Miskanaw Golf Club at MacDonald Island Park, June 5, 2015

Golfers mark down June 5 on your calendar to play in Waypoints' 3rd Annual Tournament of Hope at Miskanaw Golf Club at MacDonald Island Park with a 1:30 PM Shotgun start.

All proceeds will go towards the construction of a new state of the art women and children's emergency shelter that will increase our capacity to help those in need. The new facility will house a total of 45 bedrooms from the current nine.

To enter a team or to learn about sponsorship opportunities, contact Jenna at 587-537-8903 ext. #9, email fcs.jenna@shaw.ca or Tim at 587-537-8903 ext. #8, email fcs.tim@shaw.ca.

Completed forms can be sent to Jenna at fcs.jenna@shaw.ca or fax to 780-791-5560.

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Shoppers Drug Mart “Tree Of Life Campaign” continues to make an impact at Unity House

A donation of $36,886 will help improve the quality of life for women and their families at Unity House thanks to proceeds raised during the 2014 Shoppers Drug Mart Tree of Life campaign.

The Shoppers Drug Mart Tree of Life campaign is a four-week program held annually across Canada between September and October. National in scope, yet locally-based, the annual Tree of Life campaign gives Shoppers Drug Mart customers and employees the opportunity to donate directly to organizations that make a difference to women's health in their own communities.

All four Fort McMurray Shoppers Drug Mart stores had selected Waypoints' Unity House as their charity of choice and made the cheque presentation today.

Congratulations to Karen Olson (pictured right) who helped raise more than $7,000 for the Tree of Life campaign in 2014 when working her shift as cashier at Shoppers Drug Mart in Thickwood.

Karen has worked at SDM for more than two years and credits the whole store from the management, supervisers and to the customers for her success at generating funds for this worthwhile cause.

It comes from the heart, thanks Karen and all employees, management and customers of the four Shoppers Drug Mart stores who contributed to Unity House in the Tree of Life campaign.

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Left to right (standing): Chris White - Associate Owner Timberlea, Tizy Joseph - Associate Owner Thickwood, Sharon Strickland - Supervisor Timberlea, Waypoints Executive Director Michele Taylor, Darlene Frampton - Front Store Manager Thickwood, George Cloete - Associate Owner River City Centre. Front row: Flor Llanos - River City Centre Assistant Front Store Manager/Tree of Life Captain and Karen Olson - Thickwood Cashier.


Waypoints receives $100K donation for new shelter

 

Left: Waypoints workers Tim O’Rourke and Michele Taylor accepted a $100,000 donation Thursday from Nexen Long Lakes, presented by Cindy Amerongen and Stella Kreutzer, to go towards the new women and children’s emergency shelter, which is expected to break ground this spring. PHOTO: AMANDA RICHARDSON/TODAY STAFF

With phase one of Waypoints' new Timberlea build complete, FCS is looking forward to breaking ground on phase two — a new women and children’s emergency shelter.

Tenants are now moving in to Waypoints' 78-unit affordable housing apartment building, featuring a secured area to be used as transitional housing for women and children escaping domestic violence, which means the society can now turn its focus to phase two.

The emergency shelter will replace the downtown Unity House location, and in addition to being a modernization from the current early 1980s building, it will also be significantly larger.

“It will be a 45 bedroom shelter, opposed to a nine bedroom shelter, and there will only be one bed per room in the new shelter, so women have privacy,” said Michele Taylor, Waypoints' executive director.

At the current downtown facility, there are multiple beds and bunkbeds in each room, which can be problematic for those admitted to the shelter late at night and for those seeking privacy.

“Right now we have women coming in in the middle of the night, going into a room where other women are already sleeping, that they don’t even know,” Taylor said. “It’s a very uncomfortable feeling, especially when women can be waking up at night crying.”

The new facility, Taylor said, is “going to have a sexual abuse and healing centre and it’s going to have society offices,” adding of the three components, the shelter will be the largest.

Thanks to funding and donations — like Thursday’s $100,000 sponsor donation from Nexen Long Lake — Waypoints' final goal of nearly $40 million for the two phase build is getting closer and closer.

Taylor says a final tally is still being calculated, but will fall between $37 and $38 million.

Between Nexen’s contribution and the planned sale of Unity House and a parcel of land in Timberlea, Taylor says the end is in sight.

“With those sold, we should only need about $2 million more to cross the finish line with our fundraising goal and actually break ground,” Taylor said.

Waypoints' goal is to break ground on phase two this spring, and Taylor says the doors will open to clients ideally in the spring of 2017.

Fort McMurray Today
Sunday, December 11, 2015
Amanda Richardson, Today staff
amanda.richardson@sunmedia.ca

Click here to read article at fortmcmurraytoday.com

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H.O.G. (Harley Owners Group) Chapter Fort McMurray presents $7,000 to Waypoints

  

Above left to right: John Cutler, Mike Kelly, Jenna Longaphie (FMFCS Community Awareness & Special Events Coordinator), president Kelly Melanson and Lloyd Grainger.

A few members of the Oilsands H.O.G. (Harley Owners Group) Chapter Fort McMurray, Alberta recently presented Waypoints with a cheque in the amount of $7,000 from Toys for Tots proceeds. A special thank you to all of the Oilsands H.O.G. Chapter Fort McMurray, Alberta members for your generous donation.

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I Experienced Childhood Domestic Violence, CDV and Went From Feeling Guilty to Free

Children think emotionally, not rationally. When you were exposed to domestic violence as a child, your brain drew the wrong conclusions: “I couldn’t stop it, but I should have.” “I was there, so it must have been my fault. It happened because of me.” This creates a tremendous sense of guilt and the burden of carrying it weighs you down. It makes you feel ashamed and unworthy.

My mother and step dad fought constantly. I felt bad seeing her in pain. I felt very guilty that I was not able to help her. And yet, a part of me was also frustrated and desperate for the fighting to stop. So, I remember yelling at her as well. I think I wanted to make her feel bad, hoping this would somehow bring the fighting to an end, as I didn’t know how else to effectively voice my frustration. I was tired of seeing it happen over and over. But, then, each time I yelled at her, I knew I was hurting her feelings and she didn’t deserve it. This made me feel even guiltier and somehow directly responsible for what was unfolding in our household.

As I got older, feeling “guilty” was a natural response for me. If someone was hurting in my presence and I couldn’t find a way to fix it, I took on the burden of that pain and a lot of the responsibility for it. I felt horrible about it and always felt people would be disappointed in me if I couldn’t help them with their problems.

It wasn’t until I got older that I began to realize I could feel angry about or empathetic with lisaother’s circumstances without feeling somehow guilty or responsible for them. As an adult, your adult brain is now developed to understand this logic rationally, which you could not comprehend as a child. It was especially after my own experience with domestic violence as an adult that I began to realize violence between parents is never a child’s fault. It certainly wasn’t my children’s fault when it happened in our home. So, therefore, it couldn’t have been my fault as a child when it was happening in my childhood home. I learned to accept this rationally. But I struggled to truly accept it emotionally, because the habit of feeling guilty was so firmly ingrained.

Over the years, life experiences contributed to a gradual transition in my thinking and feeling with respect to guilt. I begin to see how I had been controlled by the GUILTY lie that I absorbed as a child, and this was most obvious when I had to unlearn it in order to leave my own abusive situation. I knew we were never going to be a family and I felt really guilty for uprooting my children. But I knew it was something I had to do because it would be in our best interest in the long run.

Thankfully, friends and advocates alike helped me realize I didn’t have to linger in that place and I did the right thing – the thing I had wanted to do for my mother all those years back, which was get her to leave the abuse behind. By sharing my story with others and rediscovering my past through their eyes, I finally began to realize and accept the truth emotionally – that I was never guilty as a child about what happened in my home.

The opposite of GUILTY is FREE. Overcoming my sense of guilt and feeling free was something that took a long time for me. But the destination was worth the journey. I’ve learned to let go of the guilt. I’ve realized that it’s a useless emotion for a former child of domestic violence that does nothing but hold you accountable for things that are not your fault and are out of your control. For so many years, I was desperate to fix things that just weren’t meant for me to fix – in an attempt to make up for something in the past that was never my fault. I now know that what I lived through as a child is nothing for me to feel guilty for and I’m happy to finally be FREE of this burden.

Lisa Floyd
From opening scene of THE CHILDREN NEXT DOOR

Article from the Children of Domestic Violence blog.
Click here to read original posted article and more.

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The Lisa Project: Little Girl Calls 911 As Her Mother Was Beaten Up By Her Stepfather

The little girl on the other end of this 911 call is Lisa Floyd. During this call, she is in tears as she begs the dispatcher to send the police because her stepfather is beating her mother. Everything she says is horrifying to listen to and you can really feel the pain in her words. Fortunately for her, this wasn't the end of Lisa's story. Though, like many stories, things got worse before they got better.

Years after this tape was first recorded, Kit Gruelle, who is an advocate for domestic abuse survivors, wondered what had happened to the little girl named Lisa. Kit was working for the police department and was able to use those resources to track her down. She found Lisa, but, unfortunately, Kit found her in her own abusive relationship. With Kit's help, Lisa was able to work her way out of it.

It was around this time that Lisa found out about the tape. According to Field Education, Lisa vaguely remembers signing over rights to this 911 call audio recording to her, but she had no idea this tape would be "used to educate people about the effects of domestic violence on children." Even with years between her and the incident, Lisa is still not able to listen to the call and relive the events of that night. She does wonder why this particular recording has gotten so famous. She said she called the police hundreds of times when she was a young girl, and Child Protective Service (CPS) workers came out to her house at least twenty-three times. She and her siblings were never taken away. When she was younger, she didn't want to be taken away from her mother and was glad CPS never took her away, but, now that she can look back, she wishes they had.

On the Children of Domestic Violence blog, Lisa shares her story and starts it all off with, "I’m Lisa, a survivor with a future, because of my past." She talks about the difficulty of growing up and how life continually tried to drag her down, "I started to believe I wasn’t worthy. I felt like a failure, destined for nothingness. I didn’t believe I could change my life or my situation." With these feelings, she moved into a relationship just to feel something, but it didn't take long before the relationship turned abusive. She put up with it for years, but was eventually able to break away. She attributes a lot of that to "people who have entered my life during this transition. The ones who took the time to encourage and nurture my growth."

Near the end of her story she says, "My journey isn’t over – I still have many lessons to learn and obstacles to overcome. I’m just not afraid to take them on." I think it is important for people to remember. You aren't stuck where you are. You are simply facing an obstacle you need to overcome. With the help of people who care about you and your own belief that you have worth, you can survive.

The San Francisco Globe
December 8, 2015
Read the article and listen to the video by clicking here.

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A community free of domestic violence and abuse, sexual assault and abuse and homelessness.

 

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To lead in improving the fundamental safety and health of individuals, families and communities.

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