© Times-Herald photo by Lisa Goudy
A total of 260 tickets were sold to the first annual Business Women of Moose Jaw’s Spring Sparkle and Shine Salute to Southern Saskatchewan PRISM Awards on March 8, 2014 in the Macoun Lounge at SIAST Palliser Campus.
The Business Women of Moose Jaw’s Sparkle and Shine event raised $25,899.55 for the Moose Jaw Transition House.
“We were really blown away. I mean we knew the event was successful, that everybody seemed to have a great time. We were pleased with how many tickets were sold and how many nominations came in,” said Karen Closs, director of the Moose Jaw Transition House. “We were really pleased in all of those areas and then to find out in the end that so much money was raised too for transition house, that was just wonderful.”
She said the money would be used to start a pilot position for at least one year of a life skills coach at the shelter. The emergency shelter usually consists of one person whose responsibilities also include answering the crisis line. The maximum occupancy of the shelter is 15 people.
“It can be a lot for one person to be trying to manage answering the phone and still be available for work with the clients in the shelter. So our thought was to have a life skills coach in the centre. It would enable that person to spend a little bit more time with the clients doing some of the things we don’t always get the opportunity to do,” said Closs.
“It’s using fundraised dollars. We don’t know how sustainable it will be, but our hope is that we’ll be able to continue this.”
The life skills coach’s responsibilities might include helping clients make appointments and learn about finance, budgeting and meal planning.
"Oftentimes women that we work with may be coming from a position where they’ve obviously been in a relationship,” said Closs. “Now sometimes they need assistance around parenting as well.”
Other shelters in Saskatchewan have a similar position.
“We’ve been envious long enough and now we’re really happy to have this money available that we can do the same thing for our clients here,” said Closs.
Also, having another body in the shelter during the day to work with clients is a benefit to help meet the needs of all clients. That job can be taxing for just one person.
The transition house has six bedrooms to accommodate 15 people. There is an extra emergency space for a temporary time.
She added sometimes women might come to the shelter at the end of the summer and, because it’s hard to find housing, might be at the shelter until almost Christmas.
The shelter tends to be busier in the summertime.
“I can’t say for sure why that is, but my theory has always been that because we serve such a large rural area that rural women are more likely to leave in the summer when they don’t have to take their children out of school and they don’t have to contend with the weather and how to get to Moose Jaw to the shelter,” said Closs.
She added the work the shelter does wouldn’t be possible without the support of the community.
Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.