Volunteers of CASASC’s text/webchat crisis line win Community Builder Award

Recognized for making a lasting difference in community, the volunteers of the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre (CASASC)’s 24 Hour Text and Webchat Sexual Assault Crisis Line received the Community Builder Award.

Volunteers accepted the Red Deer Mayor’s Recognition Award on the evening of June 6 at the Cambridge Hotel.

CASASC Volunteer Coordinator Michele Kercher and CASASC Volunteer Board Member Matthew Mowbrey accepted the award from Mayor Tara Veer on stage on behalf of the 70 plus volunteers.

CASASC introduced the provincially-available 24 hour text and webchat line in May 2016. The addition to the 24 hour crisis phone line was introduced due to a missing need within the community.

The Mayor’s Recognition Awards recognize Red Deer individuals, groups or teams who have brought honour and recognition to Red Deer in one of five categories. Award recipients are selected by the Mayor’s Recognition Awards Committee, with the exception of the Mayor’s Special Award recipient, who is chosen by the Mayor herself.

Since the launch of the text/webchat line, hundreds of individuals have contacted the crisis line from across the province.The line is open to anyone affected by sexual violence.

The phone line, along with the text/webchat crisis line, are run by the volunteer coordinator and are supported by over 70 volunteers. Typically, there are over 120 text/webchat shifts to fill each month so those accessing the crisis line can speak/have contact with someone no matter the time of day. Without the volunteers taking these shifts, the text/webchat line would be unable to operate 24 hours-a-day, year round.

In 2018, volunteer responded to 220 text/webchat contacts with individuals across Alberta.

From inception (May 2016 to December 2018) volunteers have assisted 653 individuals in the province. The need for this service only increases.

No Secrets program receives grant from Community Foundation

The Red Deer & District Community Foundation has granted $7,500 to the No Secrets education program.

No Secrets is a personal safety program for children ages 5 to 9 with a focus on child sexual abuse prevention. No Secrets provides a forum from which children can discuss safe and unsafe touching, body parts including private areas, feelings and who you can tell.

In 2018 No Secrets was presented to almost 10,000 students across Central Alberta.

Thank you to the Red Deer & District Community Foundation for supporting this important prevention-based program in our community

New therapy dog joins the team

CASASC has a new furry face greeting clients as they enter the door.

Meet Sylvie, an eight-week-old Bernese Mountain dog. She joined the CASASC team on May 24 and already is a popular addition to the pet therapy team. Sylvie is in training and is working with her handler Mackenzie on a daily basis to learn all of the ins and outs of supporting clients.

Mackenzie says Sylvie has already made a difference with many clients. Seeing her adorable fluffy face and displaying her calming demeanor is enough to lighten up the mood in the office, for clients and staff alike.

Photo Credit: Pehlz Pics

Respect Day draws crowd to City Hall Park

CASASC’s annual Respect Day celebration was held on Friday, May 24 in Red Deer.

Hundreds attended to have a taste of the by donation BBQ, watch the Indigenous dancers and drummers, Country Pride line dancers and peruse the community info booths. A DJ played music throughout the afternoon, keeping the celebratory atmosphere in the park.

The day highlighted the importance of creating a culture of respect in order to combat sexual violence.

Respect Day is the awareness event connected to our current proactive campaign titled #iRespect. The goal of #iRespect is to encourage everyone (global citizens) to conduct their lives and treat one another with respect. This in turn reflects our vision – ending the culture of sexual violence and helping to build safer communities for all Central Albertans through promoting awareness and healing, education, empowerment and renewal.

Respect Day was held in connection of Sexual Violence Awareness Month.

Calgary Roughnecks – Join us at the finals

Over the winter we partnered with the Calgary Roughnecks, Calgary’s professional box lacrosse team, to raise funds.

The good news is, the team has made it into the NLL finals and we are selling tickets to what could be the final home game when the roughnecks clench the title.

Purchase a ticket for this playoff game on Saturday, May 25 and receive an unforgettable Saturday night of fun while supporting a great cause. Roughnecks games are fast, fun and entertaining for everyone.

CASASC raises money for each ticket that’s sold. That’s right. It’s as easy as going to the link below and making your purchase directly with the Roughnecks:

https://calgaryroughnecks.com/casasc/

This one-time fundraiser ticket feature (with the amazing discounted ticket rate) will be offered for this home game.

Grab your friends and let’s raise some funds for CASASC.

 

 

Shine a Light on Sexual Violence: Your 2019 Guide to SVAM

 

The Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre (CASASC) is dedicated to supporting those affected by sexual violence each and every day of the year. In Alberta, May is Sexual Violence Awareness Month (SVAM). The goal of SVAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities on how to prevent it.

The theme of SVAM this year is Shine a Light on Sexual Violence. We know that one month alone isn’t enough to solve the widespread issue of sexual violence; however, the attention we generate during the month is an opportunity to energize and expand prevention efforts throughout the year.

 

About Shine A Light

Sexual Violence Awareness Month is about more than awareness – the ultimate goal is prevention. This year’s theme centres around shining a light on the issue of sexual violence, bringing out an often taboo topic to the light of the public realm. Whether it is talking about the issue of consent, taking action, or stepping toward prevention through respect and education – sexual violence needs to be addressed.

Survivors of sexual violence often feel they are hiding in the dark, that they cannot come forward. One client expressed to us that she felt like “pulling the blankets over her head,” after her experience. A child age client supported by CASASC had this to say to other survivors: “Hold on. Someone needs to hear your story. Don’t give up. I refuse to sink. Don’t let anyone dull your shine! Stars can’t shine without darkness.”

Through the light, we can move forward and heal. Through the light we can take steps toward prevention. This is why we shine a light on sexual violence.

 

Key Messages: Sexual Violence and Prevention

Sexual violence is a serious and widespread problem. Anyone can experience sexual violence in their lifetime, however most incidents occur against women and girls.

In Canada, 87 per cent of survivors are women and girls. Ninety-four per cent of offenders are men. Sexual violence is the most underreported crime in Canada. Ninety-five per cent of survivors do not report their assaults to the police.

Statistics also show that some groups are more likely to experience sexual violence including: Indigenous women and girls, children and adolescents, people with disabilities, those of the LGBTQ community and new Canadians.

When we speak about prevention, we mean stopping sexual violence before it even has a chance to happen. This means changing the social norms that allow it to exist in the first place, from individual attitudes, values, and behaviors to laws, institutions, and widespread social norms. CASASC believes this is achieved through the concept of respect.

Prevention is all our responsibility. We can create and promote safe respectful environments through all facets of our lives. We can intervene to stop concerning behavior; promote and model healthy attitudes and relationships; promote the creation of a culture of respect; and believe survivors and assist them in finding the support they need.

 

How You Can Stay Involved All Month Long

Each week in May we’re featuring different ways you can get involved by promoting awareness and taking action. Want to get involved? We’ve got you covered. We’ve created custom SVAM graphics for you to share, tweet and tag CASASC throughout the month, along with many other resources:

 

Respect Day

Your week-to-week guide: Shine A Light

Week 1: Consent (May 1 – May 7)

Week 2: Action (May 8 – May 14)

Week 3: Respect (May 15 – May 21)

Week 4: Education (May 22 – May 28)

 

Checking your social media feeds anyway? Follow CASASC on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook where we will be sharing information, statistics, resources and graphics for SVAM throughout the month of May. Share our posts, tag CASASC and encourage others to do the same.

Central Alberta Fit Body Bootcamps Celebrate Respect

During the first week of April, four Central Alberta Fit Body Bootcamp locations teamed up with CASASC to promote the #iRespect campaign.

South Red Deer, Ponoka, Innisfail and Lacombe Fit Body Bootcamps sold CASASC’s MADE TO RESPECT t-shirts at their facilities, encouraging attendees to wear their shirts to class.

On April 17, CASASC was presented with a donation of $1,968 from the four locations.

We are grateful to the locations for promoting the message of respect and supporting this important awareness campaign.

 

 

 

National Volunteer Week

National Volunteer Week 2019 was celebrated from April 7 to April 13.

The Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre has a team of 70 plus volunteers who lift up those in our community 24 hours a day.

In honour of National Volunteer Week 2019, we asked our volunteers why they give their time. On our social media channels we featured a series that showcased their responses – their volunteer factor, why they volunteer.

“Everyone deserves to be heard and needs to be given a chance to be heard. Silently listening can be all someone needs to bring some rest to a restless heart.”

 

First annual Women’s March Red Deer set for March 9

In recognition of International Women’s Day, the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre (CASASC), Red Deer Welcoming and Inclusive Communities (WIC) and the Central Alberta Immigrant Women’s Association (CAIWA)will partner together for the first annual Women’s March Red Deer.

Join us on Saturday, March 9 for an empowering march designed to bring awareness and encourage women to be a visible force for positive change.

The event will start at 11 a.m. at CAIWA’s Club Café (5019 Ross Street) with a pre-gathering and smudge. The march will launch from the café at 11:30 a.m., winding through the downtown core, returning by noon.

All are invited to attend the march – all cultures, abilities, ages, races and gender identities.

Following the march through downtown Red Deer, a potluck lunch and sharing circle will be held. Attendees can bring food items to share with the group.

The purpose of the march is to not only bring awareness around International Women’s Day, but to connect a diverse group of women from the central Alberta region to create unity and solidarity in the community.

“The theme for Red Deer Women’s March is women healing communities,” said Sadia Khan, march organizer. “Women have always been the heart of healing communities, peacebuilding and a visible force for positive change.”

We must equip and empower the women, especially the younger generation to be a catalyst for change.”

Attendees are encouraged to bring signage for the march that is empowering, inclusive and respectful.

The goal and messaging of the Red Deer Women’s March aligns with Women’s March Canada, on the principals that all people of all backgrounds – women and men, gender non-conforming people, indigenous and immigrants, of diverse faiths, abilities and ages – are all deserving of equality, justice, freedom and inclusion.

“We will continue to embody these principles to amplify and activate issues using education, mobilization, dialogue engagement and collective action,” said Khan. “As women we fight across time and space against all forms of discrimination, exclusion, marginalization, violence and lack of equal opportunities. This march is an opportunity to reflect, rejoice and recharge together in community with amazing women to amplify awareness and dialogue.”

A poster making party will be held on March 3 for those who want to make a sign in advance in a collaborative setting.

Organizers plan to make the march an annual event.

Information on media availability on the day of the event will be released one week in advance.

President’s Challenge Scores Big

CASASC ended up the big winner of the President’s Challenge over the weekend.

The back-to-back event saw Olds College President Stuart Cullum and Red Deer College (RDC) President Joel Ward face off on the court in a game of twenty-one on February 8 and February 9.

The challenge also featured a taste test, with Olds College Brewery vs. Red Deer’s Troubled Monk Brewery, both offering samples for a nominal donation to CASASC.

Staged during the RDC Kings and Queens and Olds College Bronco’s last regular season basketball games, the challenge was an opportunity to bring awareness to the issue of sexual violence and the services CASASC offers.

Once the double-header wrapped up, CASASC raised $456.50 in donations.