There’s a name in Leduc and across the capital region that women and children know is a safe haven: Riseup House.
Riseup House Society, a non-profit organization, has been operating in the city for a number of years offering services such as counseling for victims of domestic abuse. The society gained its moniker from its original location, a converted house on 49th Ave. Riseup House has since moved to a space behind Cottage Computers in Leduc. Cottage Computers has donated the use of this space for two years and Riseup says they’re very grateful for that donation.
While Riseup House Society does not operate a shelter, the group offers a number of services that are just as important in the effort to stop family violence in any of its forms. Society chair Erna Carter said the group’s goal is “to eradicate domestic violence in the community.”
The ladies noted 100 per cent of Riseup House’s clients are women. Carter also noted that there aren’t too many counseling services that are free of charge anymore but money is often an issue for clients of Riseup House.
Riseup House offers individual counseling, individual assessment and group counseling.
When a woman first comes to Riseup House she completes an intake assessment. The intake process helps staff to assess whether or not the client is a good fit for Riseup or if perhaps they would be better served by other community agencies. “We are not a crisis centre,” said Schuurman. Riseup House often gets referrals from victim services and is able to help women once the initial crisis situation has passed.
Schuurman noted there are a variety of screening tools available and if Riseup House finds they can help a client, the client is assigned to a counselor. Counseling can be individual or group, and many clients do both. Each counselor has their own style and this is considered along with what the client feels will work for them.
Schuurman said many women feel they are alone when facing a family violence issue and group counseling shows them the issue is widespread and they have a chance to listen and learn from other women. Riseup House also has support groups such as Healing Your Emotional Self which focuses on childhood trauma and Parenting Resilient Children.
Counseling is available daytime hours, while support groups are available both during the day and in the evening.
Carter said Riseup House is looking forward to their AGM coming up Thurs., Mar. 31 at 7 p.m. in the Wingate Hotel on Sparrow Drive. Special guests will be Leduc RCMP Insp. Kevin Kunetzki and Cst. Bridget Avis as well as victim services coordinator Laura Barnes.
The society’s annual budget depends on grants from different levels of government, fundraising and donations from the community such as a massive donation from the EIA Charity Golf Classic. Carter said fundraising and donations are down a bit in the current economy, which isn’t a surprise to anybody. “We’re trying to be realistic,” she said.
The group continues to plan fundraising activities that are both financially successful and enjoyable for the community. As well, Riseup House Society receives a grant from the City of Leduc. “The City of Leduc has been extremely supportive of us,” said Carter.
Carter said the society is also interested in looking at regions where their clientele comes from for further assistance. Schuurman said just under 50 per cent of Riseup House’s clientele comes from the City of Leduc, while just over 50 per cent comes from the surrounding area, including Wetaskiwin, Millet, Maskwacis, Thorsby, Calmar, Edmonton, Spruce Grove and Sherwood Park areas, plus some clients from other provinces. So Riseup House really is a regional service provider.
Carter noted Riseup House is completely non-profit, has several paid staff including counselors and is governed by a board of volunteers. They are always looking for new board members.
Riseup House can be contacted by calling 780-739-7473 and leaving a message or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.