‘Shine the Light’ campaign closes strong

Ken Kellar

As November draws to a close, a local organization is looking back on a successful month-long initiative.

Riverside Community Counselling Services, a program of Riverside Health Care, has been celebrating their annual “Shine the Light” campaign this month. The campaign has tied in to the town recognizing November as “Woman Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month.”

Both the campaign and the town’s decree are aimed at combating domestic violence and sexual assault towards women.

Riverside Community Counselling Service’s community family violence counsellor Jacquee Loerzel said the month-long effort was worth the work that several organizations. and the community, put into it.

“I think it’s great,” Loerzel said.

“I think we have made lots of awareness. People seem to be talking about it. We’ve had lots of people asking for posters and showing us their pictures of them wearing purple on Purple Day.

“Every little bit counts and every little bit helps and we’re just happy that -even if it’s just one person that they reach out to- one person that can be more informed and feel supported,” she added.

The campaign kicked off with a flag raising event at the Civic Centre on Nov. 1, and the opening of Riverside Community Counselling’s new Sexual Assault and Patient Care area at La Verendrye Hospital which coincided with “Wear Purple Day” on Nov. 15.

Riverside Community Counselling also organized a health and wellness fair at the Sunset Country Métis Hall on Nov. 21.

“The theme was ‘wellness and awareness,’ so we wanted to have some vendors that promote wellness and self care,” Loerzel said of the fair.

so [had] some information tables just about health and wellness in general, and awareness about domestic violence, human trafficking and other things to do with violence against women.”

Visitors to the fair were able to create and decorate their own ornaments, make stress balls and buy cupcakes as well as learn more about some of the issues that Riverside Community Counselling and its partners were presenting.

The organization also had a presence at last Friday’s Lakers game.

While there are no more official events that will take place for the Shine the Light campaign, Loerzel noted there are still a few ways to take part before November is over.

“We have a couple of draws that are at some of the local businesses,” she explained.

“So Northwoods, Pharmasave and Seven Generations, so there are a couple of little fun initiatives there where if you guess the quote, who said this quote, you get your name put in for a draw.”

Even as the campaign comes to a close, Loerzel noted that the overall goal of “Shine the Light” doesn’t just end with the flipping of the calendar.

“We just want to keep continuing to make sure that people are aware of violence against women and that it does happen in this community and that there are lots of resources here to help and to support,” she said.

“For the women in this community that do go through violence and have experienced violence, for them to feel supported by us is really important to me, that we acknowledge them.”