May’s Giving Clinic Lifts Up Women In Need

Every month, Vicars School of Massage Therapy donates one day’s gross proceeds from the public massage clinics offered by supervised students-in-training and held at the school’s Edmonton and Calgary campuses. We’re pleased to announce that May’s recipient charities are a pair of women’s emergency shelters in Edmonton and Calgary who do amazing work.

On May 13th, the day after Mother’s Day, when many of us are thinking of the women and children in our lives, Vicars’ donations will go to WIN House in Edmonton and Awo Taan Healing Lodge in Calgary. Both groups provide essential, life-saving services and support for women and children flee domestic violence.

Click here to book your appointment for May 13th while there are still spots available!

WIN: Five Decades of Life-Saving Care in Edmonton

WIN (Women In Need) House was founded in 1970 by a group of Edmontonians concerned for the safety of young girls and women, particularly young indigenous girls and women who were arriving alone to the city with no place to stay. Five decades later, WIN house operates two emergency shelters and a transitional housing shelter offering safety to single women, women with children, and non-binary and transgender individuals.

WIN House accommodates up to 70 women and children at a time for 21-day stays with wrap-around services including meals, clothes, nurses, crisis intervention support, child support, pet care, and valuable links to housing, legal, employment and educational services and numerous post-shelter goods and services. In 2023, WIN House gave essential support and shelter to more than 500 adults and children, and the need is increasing. While WIN House staff took almost 2800 calls to their crisis lines last year, they had to turn away close to 1800 people because of lack of space or capacity in their shelters.

WIN House has several partners in the Edmonton community. One partnership with Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society provides on-site indigenous cultural teachings and experiences. Another partnership with Goodwill ensures that donations made to Goodwill, explicitly on behalf of WIN House, are tracked and gift cards issued for WIN House residents.

“Community involvement is vital as it not only brings much-needed awareness to the challenges faced by women and children in vulnerable situations but also fuels our ability to provide them with essential support,” says Britni Brady, WIN House director of development. “Every contribution, big or small, directly impacts lives and fosters a safer, more supportive environment for our residents.”

WIN House operates with funding from government and other grants, fundraising, and individual donations from members of the public. In addition to donations made to Goodwill on behalf of WIN House, monetary donations to WIN House can be made using this link or through CanadaHelps.Org. WIN House also welcomes those interested in volunteering.

Awo Taan: Culturally Informed Healing in Calgary

Indigenous women are three times more likely than non-indigenous women to be victims of violence. Calgary’s Awo Taan Healing Lodge Society Women’s Emergency Shelter is the only women’s shelter in Alberta specifically for indigenous women and children. Founded in 1986 by Ruth Scalp Lock and other leaders, the vision was to create a shelter where women and children could be sheltered in a uniquely indigenous environment. A dedicated committee of people from the indigenous community, the Alberta government, the school system, the police service, and the private sector established the facility and raised the funds necessary for Awo Taan to open its doors.

Guided by cultural practices and traditional teachings such as those of the Medicine Wheel, smudging, and healing circles, Awo Taan—the name means shield in Blackfoot language—offers shelter and services to vulnerable and at-risk women and families. The 32 bed, full-service shelter is open 24-7 with counsellors available at all times. Awo Taan provides comprehensive services to support women’s mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual healing. Women and children can stay up to three weeks, and Awo Taan ensures that they are accommodated after that time through stay extensions and referrals to other agencies.

One hundred percent of Awo Taan Healing Lodge’s budget comes from fundraising, which includes support from corporations, multi-year funding agreements, public organization, and individual donations.

To support Awo Taan directly, visit this link, or call 403-531-1970, Ext 200.

Vicars welcomes clients of all different health backgrounds to our Edmonton and Calgary public clinics. You must book online to experience a massage at our clinics. A session lasts 75 minutes, including 15 minutes for assessment, and costs $35.00.

The Edmonton Public Clinic is located at 2824A Calgary Trail Northwest, Edmonton. The Calgary Public Clinic is located at 200 Country Hills Landing NW, Calgary.

Kathleen Thurber
Author: Kathleen Thurber

Kathleen Thurber is an Edmonton-based health and science writer.