WEAAD: Education can be fun!

June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). Not the most fun sounding title for a day, but, with a fun and interactive environment, learning how to protect yourself and those you love can be.

For eleven years the BSG Coaltion to End Violence has been organizing their annual Seniors Kitchen Party in recognition of this day, or as they call it…WEAAD. Offering live music, a hot meal and interactive entertainment combined with many community display boards, seniors enjoy a fun day, filled with important information regarding services and tips to make aging easier and safer.

This year, gathered at the Royal Canadian Legion, seniors were pampered and treated to a delicious hot roast turkey dinner with cake for dessert. Keynote speaker, Nancy Power of Service Canada spoke of changes to the Old Age Security program and Death Benefits. Paula Woodfine and Cheryl Johnson from the YMCA got participants up and out of their chairs punching and moving to musical beats of oldies but goodies. Each were offered a complimentary session as a parting gift, thanks to the YMCA.

Not to sit idly when music is pumping through speakers, dancers from the Twilight 50+ Dancers Club in Port au Port, kick-started the dance thanks to the musical entertainment of local band Overflow.

During the afternoon event, participants were encouraged to browse the dozen community display boards each promoting their own programs and services offered to our aging citizens.

As the day came to a close, many stopped a moment to get capture the day with a photo. Dressing in silly hats, colorful boas and accessories many posed at the photo booth to reflect the smile they carried inside with all vowing to return again next time!

Each of the local coordinating committees under Violence Prevention Southwest host and organize their own WEAAD event.

To check out pictures of the day’s event, follow us  on Facebook!

IDAHOT: Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion

In a world where technology and advancement has enabled us to send an instant message to someone across the country; check out our own groceries or attend a wedding without leaving our own home, how can we be so behind in basic human rights?

How can so many countries and individuals not believe in the simple truth? LOVE IS LOVE! Regardless of gender identification, assigned sex, or sexual preference we ALL should have simple right to love freely and who we want.

Today, over 70 countries around the world still criminalize same-sex relationships. Many LGBTQ+ people continue to experience severe human rights abuses and persecution in their home countries. Often fleeing from their countries and homes in search of freedom and justice all in the name of love.

May 17th is recognized by many countries as International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. A day aimed to raise awareness globally of LBGTQ+ rights, while encouraging change and inclusion.

Joining the worldwide celebration, members of Bay St. George Coalition to End Violence joined the Western Pride committee at the Town of Stephenville Office on Friday afternoon as Major Tom Rose read and signed a proclamation declaring IDAHOT a day to be celebrated and recognized in the small community. Mayor Rose spoke with pride how he feels proud of his community and his council’s commitment to ensuring Stephenville is a community known for inclusion and acceptance.

BSGCEV Chair Bernice Hancock, thanked the three dozen individuals gathered for their continued dedication to enticing and encouraging acceptance and change. However, she also added, that “While we have come a long way, there is still so much more that needs to be done.”

Following the proclamation signing, the group gathered outside as the Pride Flag was lifted to fly outside the town office.

A Person! No Matter our Differences! Cultural Sensitivity Training

In partnership with the Bay St. George Coalition to End Violence, NAWN (Newfoundland Aboriginal Women’s Network, facilitated a one-day Cultural Sensitivity training to front-line service providers, post-secondary students, health and justice providers along with other governmental department and community organizations as part of the Violence Prevention Month activity and event line-up. 
Setting the pace for the day, participants enjoyed a traditional opening engaging in song, smudging and opening prayer. The morning’s agenda covered information on the indigenous heritage, a history of the oppression,  an awareness of the indigenous groups in our province and an overview of their history. During the afternoon, what was preconceived by the participants as a fun, interactive activity, soon turned emotional as, the Blanket Exercise, gave life to the challenges of the indigenous people and how they suffered at the hands of the “white” people and how resiliency is a huge part of their culture and proud heritage. 
Four narrators told the story of a once-happy people who were emotional and physically beat down, drove from their homelands, killed off by deadly infectious diseases and had their families torn apart as their children were “scooped” from them during the ‘Sixties Scoop.” For many, self-identified, indigenous people in the room, the interactive Blanket Exercise slowly gave an emotional indication of the plight and suffering of their ancestors.  As many tried to form their thoughts and feelings into words, raw emotions were evident. Words such as embarrassment, anger, heart-break and speechless were among those used to describe the feelings following the activity. 
Coming together in union, hand-in-hand the participants, following an emotional day, swayed and joined in song and prayer as the day’s training came to an end with many a promise to continue educating and advocating for respect for all people. As Kofi Annan said, “We may have different religions, different languages, different colors of skin, but we all belong to one human race.” 
Remember, during Violence Prevention Month, and every other month, be kind to each other; don’t judge until you have walked a mile in their shoes.
Another session will be held on Thursday, March 7, 2019. For more information contact 643-4563.



Ecole Polytechnique Massacre Still Remembered 29 Years Later

“Twenty-nine years later, and we are still committed to keeping their memory alive” This was the sentiment spoken by Michelle Felix, Assistant to MP Gudie Hutchings in reflection of the massacre that happened on December 6, 1989 at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, Quebec. In her delivery of a letter sent by MP Gudie Hutchings, MP Hutchings pledged to continue working towards a future where “gender-based violence must not be tolerated in this country.”

December 6 is a day in Canadian history that is not remembered as a great one, or one that provokes happy thoughts. Instead it is filled with grief, heartache and sorrow. It is on this day 29 years ago that 14 women, strong, independent and intelligent, were targeted, shot down and killed simply because they were women.

During a candlelight vigil held at LA Bown in Stephenville on December 6, Bernice Hancock, co-chair of the BSG Status of Womens Council, recounted that fateful day’s events. 

“Marc Lépine, a lone gunman, ran through the hallways and entered a classroom on the first floor. He separated the men and the women and asked the men to leave the room. He shot the women. He then proceeded through the school, specifically targeting women. Within fifteen minutes, he had murdered 14 women and injured thirteen other students. He carried a note stating that he blamed women for all the problems in his life and in society as a whole.”

She recalled as a young mother of a son, how Lepine’s mother must be tormented and the sorrow she must have felt knowing that her child, her son, committed such a violent act then took his own life. Ms. Hancock spoke of her own commitment and vow to raise her son “to be a strong, caring, kind man who would see women as equal and respect them.”

Since 1989, the BSG Status of Womens Council, the College of the North Atlantic, in partnership with the BSG Coalition to End Violence invite community members and students to gather in memory and remembrance of these 14 young women and the hundreds of aboriginal women who are either missing, or murdered because of their gender and/or ethnicity.

Raw emotions were visible as the names of each of the 14 are read aloud with a description of their all-too-soon ended lives. Roses were laid in their honour and candles lit offering light to come from the darkness. 

Words of encouragement and hope were offered by Sharon Williston, Executive Director of the Newfoundland Aborginal Women’s Network.

“Take a look around here today. Many stay in unhealthy relationships because we don’t think we are worth it. We don’t hold value in our lives, but look around. These are people who care…care for you. If you need help. If you need to speak to someone, look around, these are people who can and will help you. You are not alone!”

Executive Director, Janice Kennedy brought words of empowerment and offered 14 acts of action that each individual can choose to do to help change this world in which gender-based violence is still apparent. 

Following the vigil, BSGSWC board member, and previous recipient, Brenda Dennis awarded the Stephanie Cormier Chassion Leadership award to 2nd year Community Studies student, Lenny Tiller for his outstanding leadership qualities and commitment to the college and the community at large. 

In concluding the event, Ms. Hancock invited everyone to remember today, to remember these women “and to go forward in this world and make it a better place.  Be the change you want to see in the world.”


SWCEV Unveils New Name at AGM

Bernice Hancock, Executive Director of Community Education Network, coordinating agency of Southwestern Coalition to End Violence, welcomed everyone to the 11th Annual General Meeting of SWCEV.  A special welcome was given to those who were participating in the Inclusive Communities Regional Conference.

Providing a brief history and background of Southwestern Coalition to End Violence, Bernice acknowledged the continued financial contribution provided by the Provincial Government through the Violence Prevention Initiative.  Identifying the uniqueness of the SWCEV, one of nine Regional Coordinating Committees (RCC), being it is the only RCC that has three local coordinating committees (LCC) under one umbrella: Peaceful Communities (Port aux Basques and coastal communities); H.E.L.P Committee (Burgeo & area); and the Bay St. George Coalition to End Violence (BSG area).

Following the recommendation of Violence Prevention Newfoundland and Labrador, she announced that SWCEV has officially changed their name to Violence Prevention Southwest (VPSW) with all social media and website reflecting the change.

The 2017-2018 Annual Activity Report, Financial Report and the Audited Financial Statements was presented. Members from each LCC was invited to highlight their respective committee and year.

Krystal Hill of Peaceful Communities; Kathy Cutler of H.E.L.P Committee and Janice Kennedy of BSG Coalition to End Violence highlighted activities over the past year. Common highlights included:

  • Sexual Violence Awareness activities
  • World Elder Abuse Awareness Day events
  • Violence Prevention Month initiatives and partnerships in the community and schools.
  • Community Education and Public Awareness Activities ongoing
  • Suicide Prevention presentations
  • Lunch and Learn activities
  • 16 Days of Activism

Those in attendance were thanked by Bernice and invited to view a 45-minute all-access documentary revealing Gemma Hickey’s physical changes and internal struggles during their gender transformation.

Gemma is best known for co-leading the movement that legalized same-sex marriage in Canada and they’re the founder of Pathways, an organization that offers support to survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

Following the screening participants enjoyed a time of networking and socializing including offering a traditional ritual of making one of Egale Canada’s facilitators a honourary Newfoundlander.






SWCEV: Inclusive Communities Regional Conference

October 11 is National Coming Out day. For those of us who do not live in disguise, or fear of our gender this is just another day. However, for those in the LBGTQI2S (Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, Gay, Trans, Queer, Intersex, 2 Spirited) community, this is a day of strength, celebration and inclusivity.

For the 60 people gathered at Days Inn in Stephenville, Oct 11 was an emotionally packed day of training, learning and camaraderie. 

Front line service providers from the southwest coast were invited to attend SWCEV’s Inclusive Communities Regional Conference Oct 10-11, 2018.  Folks from various government departments, the health sector, community agencies, Parks Canada, educational field and counsellors availed of this free opportunity to learn how to create safe and welcoming programs and services.

While the conference content may have been convoluted and heavy at times, Martin Krajcik and Kevin Welbes Godin, facilitators with Egale Canada, kept the days flowing and light with their recognized experience and ability to read their audience.

During his self-introduction, Martin set the pace for the conference by telling the group, “I’m passionate about human rights…I’m not here to change your beliefs, we want to change our behaviours.”

With candid conversation, definition explanations, interactive group activities, and teaching videos participants were challenged  by Kevin to leave the conference with at least one promise/commitment to help change and educate on LBGTQ issues.  There was an abundant discussion on the importance of pronouns and the difference between sex and gender, (“gender identification originates in the brain not the genitals”).  Healthy conversation flowed when discussing how important self-expression and identity are, especially to those in the LBGTQI2S community. Most of us do not want to be boxed in, so why limit ourselves to how we look, behave and express ourselves? In fact, today, with so many mental health issues arising, we should encourage the opposite. We each all have so many different identities (parent, child, employee, volunteer…), different struggles…one cannot possibly know us just by looking at us, as one said “they cannot know what it would look like to look through my eyes.”

Staggering statistics on Day 2 delivered by Kevin set the mood for discussing the Trans individual and their lives. 42% of Canadian Youth are homeless because of their sexual orientation, with 40% of suicide victims in the LBGTQI2S community. Mary Barter, Youth Engagement Coordinator attending, was angered by these statistics. “I feel angry that people have to feel isolated and alone.” 

Following the morning discussion, participants engaged in an impactful activity inviting participants to live a few emotional moments as a LBGTQI2S individual. Coming Out Stars enticed tears, fear and internal reflection that proffered declaration of personal change and influence.

             “As a mother of a child who has come out as gay, I fear for the life she will live.”

   “I’ve been fortunate enough to be surrounded by friends and family who have supported me.”

                     “What a risk it is to come out, I don’t live that world, and found myself unable to relate, but I feel guilty that I am part of a society that has caused so much pain.”

As the conference came to a close, Kevin reminded everyone of his earlier challenge to make changes, to educate and make the world more inclusive and safer for all. Some suggestions included offering preferred pronouns in email signature lines, providing support and training for staff; placing visuals and communications in public areas of office, changing policies to specify acceptance; and use inclusive language to name a few. 

Kevin and Martin congratulated the participants for taking part in the change by attending the conference. Thanking SWCEV for the opportunity, Kevin added “doing seminars like this will help the next generation with supports in ‘coming out'”

For more information on how you can create an inclusive, safer work place environment check out Egale Canada

Thank you to the Western Star for covering our conference in the media. Check it out!





Plans under way for Inclusive Communities Regional Conference

Egale Canada will be partnering with Violence Prevention Southwest to offer a two day training session on how to Create Safe and Welcoming Workplaces, Programs and Services Wednesday & Thursday, October 10-11, 2018 at the Day’s Inn in Stephenville.

Below is an overview of the sessions offered.

LGBTQI2S 101: Creating Safe and Welcoming Workplaces, Programs and Services – Participant Learning Objectives

This full day session includes LGBTQ 101: An Introduction to LGBTQ Identities in the first half of the day.  During the second half of the day, participants reflect, brainstorm and address the challenges and barriers to equitable LGBTQ inclusion and safer space. Participants work through real-life scenarios specific to their environment to develop proactive strategies and solutions for creating LGBTQ inclusive policies, procedures, culture, programs and services in compliance with Human Rights legislation.


Knowledge-Based Objectives

  • Know the LGBTQI2S acronym
  • Understand that norms of gender and attraction are socially constructed
  • Know the 4 categories of human identity (assigned sex, gender identity, gender expression and attraction)
  • Understand how the 4 categories interact
  • Understand the diversity of LGBTQI2S identity and the importance of social location
  • Understand Intersectionality as it relates to LGBTQI2S identities
  • Understand pronoun use

Attitude-Based Objectives

  • Value access to identity labels
  • Value pronouns and why they matter
  • Value accountability in making amends for mistakes

Skills-Based Objectives

  • Participants will be better able to implement inclusive language in their day to day work and personal lives
  • Participants will understand the value of making amends when mistakes are made, and how to positively respond to their mistakes and misunderstandings
  • Participants will be better able to engage and understand the LGBTQI2S community

Trans Community Awareness Full Day Training – Participant Learning Objectives

This six-hour workshop will increase participant’s knowledge of trans identities and trans-specific issues, highlight best practices for inclusion, and help participants understand the experiences of trans folks in their workplaces and communities.

 Knowledge-Based Objectives

  • Know the LGBTQI2S acronym; what is it and what it stands for
  • Understand that gender and attraction diversity are ancient and world wide
  • Understand the categories of human identity and how they interact
  • Understand what trans identity is and the diversity of experience of trans people
  • Understand that common experience of transphobia enables structural forms of transphobic violence
  • Understand pronouns, what they are, and why they matter

Attitude-Based Objectives

  • Value access to identity labels
  • Value safer spaces for trans people by understanding the interlocking impacts of transphobic discrimination
  • Value gender affirming approaches to transition as a process that is self determined
  • Value respecting pronouns

Skills-Based Objectives

  • Participants will be better able to implement inclusive language in their day to day work and personal lives
  • Participants will understand the value of making amends when mistakes are made, and how to positively respond to their mistakes and misunderstandings
  • Participants will be better able to engage and understand the LGBTQI2S community

Registration is required. For more information contact Corinne at 643-2247 or email swceviolence@gmail.com for more information.

Our Seniors Celebrated during World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Throughout the month of June several events were held throughout the southwestern region in celebration and recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was launched by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations. The purpose of WEAAD is to provide an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect.

 On June 16, the Bay St. George Coalition to End Violence hosted their annual Seniors’ Kitchen party at the Stephenville Lions Club.

 Over 110 pre-registered for the event consisting of a hot turkey meal catered by Jennifer’s Sweet & Savoury Occasions. Social Worker with Western Health, Sean Hillier offered life-saving tips regarding taking medications.

 Following lunch and keynote, the Twilight 50+ Club from Port au Port got the party started with a few toe-tapping dances, inviting everyone up afterwards. Thanks to Overflow for lending their musical talent.

 Many community organizations were invited in to set up displays offering information and resources to those attending.

 Special thanks to all volunteers, organizations, Stephenville Lions Club and seniors for coming out year after year making our event bigger and better.

 See you all again next year! 

Check out our Facebook page for more great pics! 



Credit: https://eldermistreatment.usc.edu/weaad-home/

Montreal Massacre Remembered

Twenty-eight years after the horrific mass murder of 14 young women in Montreal, candlelight vigils continue to be held to remember the lives of the 14 female students shot down during class at Ecole Polytechniques on December 6, 1989.

During an emotional remembrance ceremony held at the BSG Campus of the College of the North Atlantic, Executive Director, Janice Kennedy offered somber statistics that indicate that violence against women, particularly in this province is continuing to rise. She went on to say that until we come together as a united front, she fears the numbers will continue to increase. “We need to start the conversation” she continued.

Representing and honouring the young women who lost their lives at the hands of one man who decided that their lives didn’t matter, were 14 Community Studies students who laid a rose 

and lit a candle as a symbol of the life that was. Each were remembered for who they were, not the manner in which they died.

Michelle Felix, Assistant to Member of Parliment Gudie Hutchings, brought greetings on Gudie’s behalf, saying that “Canada is committed to addressing gender-based violence.” She also confirmed that “living a violence-free life is a right.”

Each year at the Dec. 6 Vigil, a second year Community Studies student who portrays exceptional leadership qualities is awarded the Stephanie Cormier Chassion Leadership award in memory of a lady who excelled in this area, giving selflessly to her family, and her community. 

BSG Status of Women’s Council board director, Brenda Dennis announced Daryl Oakley as this year’s recipient. Brenda congratulated Daryl on being a leader in his community and to his peers. During her presentation Brenda spoke of how Daryl regards leaders as people who are passionate about wanting to help, and to get a job done through many things such as inspiration, passion, loyalty and motivation. Daryl says “that leadership is so important because people take on the personality of their leaders.”

Following the ceremony, those attending offered congratulations and socialized in the dining hall over refreshments.

Check out Facebook for more pics. 


International Day of Persons with Disabilities

To ensure equality for all, the Bay St. George Coalition to End Violence supported Brenda Dennis, Independent Living Intern with Empower as she hosted a Community Resource Fair in recognition of International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Dozens of community folk dropped by the Stephenville Lions Club on Friday afternoon, Dec. 1st to visit the many displays on hand. During one-to-one conversations many learned about the useful resources available in our community such as Mental Health & Addictions services. Having housing issues, Michelle Power, the Housing Support Worker with the Community Education Network was happy to offer assistance.

In addition to the displays and take-away information, several guest speakers educated the audience on many programs and services available, particularly to the aboriginal community and other minority groups. Rocky John from Conne River spoke on Jordan’s Principle; a program that offers financial assistance to families of children under the age of 19 who is requiring medical attention. Dr. Stewart McNeil and Jonathon Bennett, with the Tajike’k Center, encouraged all to become more in tune with their personal wellness journey.

Several presentations engaged the group in interactive, fun activities. Sharon Williston with the Melgignat Women’s Group had everyone on their feet playing a childhood favorite party game-Pass the Parcel, just one of the fun activities they enjoy during their elder and youth socials. Kim Kendell, Youth Outreach Worker, taught the group the advantages of being more mindful in our own lives. Encouraging everyone to slow down and to become more aware in the present moment.

Those who attended all agreed the afternoon was an informative, fun way to learn about some of the programs available to all in our community and surrounding areas; that equality and inclusion is not to be only recognized one day of the year, but every day.

Don’t forget to check out Facebook for more pictures.