Submission: Five years ago, a group of concerned citizens established the Riseup House Society as a women’s outreach centre providing free personal counselling, support group services and educational resources for women impacted by domestic abuse in intimate partner relationships. Since that time, Riseup House has been able to provide direct services for over 275 women, with the numbers increasing each year; over 1200 individual counselling sessions with qualified professional counselors; more than 30 weekly support groups, averaging 10-12 weeks each; and over 100 presentations about family violence throughout the province of Alberta. As a registered charity, Riseup House feels it is important to provide a barrier-free service for clients. Many women cannot afford the cost of professional counselling, and other women are put at risk if their partners learn they are reaching out for help. Securing funds to make these free services possible is an ongoing challenge. In 2012, funding through grants and other government sources covered only 32% of Riseup House’s annual budget, making it necessary for them to raise the remaining funds.
During the past five years, Riseup House has relied on the help and support of many individuals, businesses and organizations that care about this community. Along with Riseup House they envision a day when all people and families will enjoy safe and nurturing relationships, free of the fear and trauma of violence and abuse. Their support has enabled Riseup to provide for all its services, educational resources, highly qualified and dedicated councillors, and the cozy and comfortable surroundings of the Riseup House facility. Riseup House was on the verge of closing its doors this fall and is extremely grateful to the businesses and individuals who made it possible for them to continue. The need is huge, and on a daily basis women in need of support are calling the Riseup House. Besides word of mouth, the majority of referrals to Riseup come from Leduc and District Victim Services, Leduc Food Bank, Leduc Housing Foundation, Family and Child Services, other helping agencies, local professionals and churches. Recent donations have allowed Riseup House to continue and to make plans to offer a full range of support services in early 2013. The month of November is Family Violence Prevention Month in Alberta, and there are two funding events planned to highlight the work of Riseup House:
Local Author Book Signing: Saturday, December 8th between 2:00 – 6:00 PM, author and pastor, Grant McDowell will have his latest book for sale at Sobey’s in Leduc. Grant is donating 30% of the cover price of his book to support Riseup House. Evening at the Atrium: On December 14, from 7:00-11:00 PM, a fundraiser for Riseup House will be held in the Atrium at the City Hall in Leduc (#1 Alexandra Park). Local art work will be available for purchase during a silent and live auction sale. Appetizers will be served, and a cash bar with wine and beer will be on hand. Tickets are $20 each (includes a complimentary wine / beer), and all proceeds go to support Riseup House. Call Riseup House for tickets (780-739-7473).
The women attending Riseup House are treasures and worthy of all efforts made to assist them. Without Riseup House, many would not have a safe sanctuary to heal and grow. One of the women attending Riseup gave her councillor a key chain with the word FAITH engraved on it. “You believed in me when no one else did,” she shared, “and because of that you saved my life.” Knowing she had previously attempted to commit suicide as a result of her abuse, this was not simply a matter of speech. This story is only possible because of the partnering support Riseup House has received. If you would like to partner with Riseup House and become a part of this story, please call 780-739-7473 or go to HYPERLINK "http://www.riseuphouse.ca" www.riseuphouse.ca. (Joanne Van Beek, Executive Director – Riseup House Society.