Comox Valley Transition Society

Words by Anne Davis
Photos by Karen McKinnon

Making a difference for 30 years.

 


 
Comox Valley Transition Society started in 1987 with one employee and a small group of volunteers. Today, in its 30th anniversary year, CVTS has 60 employees in 6 worksites, including a large and successful downtown business. And that is something to celebrate!

Since 1987, CVTS has responded to over 27,000 crisis calls from women fleeing abuse, and sheltered almost 7000 women and children. Several thousand more have received a wide variety of services at times of crisis in their lives. CVTS has made a difference in the lives of thousands of Comox Valley residents.

What is more difficult to measure are the things we can take pride in preventing: the number of the assaults that didn’t take place because women were able to flee to the 14-bed Lilli House shelter; the drug overdoses avoided because women were admitted into the 12-bed Amethyst Recovery House for women in recovery from addiction; the children who didn’t grow up in poverty because their mothers received the services they needed at the right time, through Stop the Violence Women’s Counselling and the Bridging Employment Program; the children who didn’t repeat as adults what they had witnessed in their homes because they were able to access Children Who Witness Abuse Counselling.

Over the years, services have continued to expand to include the above mentioned, along with a legal information program, Aboriginal Outreach, Women’s Drop-in Lunch program for women who are homeless and/or living in deep poverty, Men’s Group, Community Navigator, BeSafe Girls Groups, and the Violence is Preventable (VIP) school-based program.

Working closely with the RCMP, Probation, Victim Services and others, CVTS has, from the beginning, been an integral partner in our community’s network of support for victims of family violence and has taken the lead in providing community education and awareness events to prevent and bring attention to the problem of domestic violence. When CVTS was asked to take on the administration of RCMP Victim Services, it was recognized as a good fit and the program was welcomed into CVTS.

In 2008, CVTS took a giant step forward and opened the “Too Good To Be Threw Thrift Shop” in order to generate a source of funding that isn’t dependent on government or on grants. “Too Good To Be Threw” has been a huge success, generating revenue for CVTS services that would not otherwise be possible to provide, and serving as a source of free clothing and household goods for women in crisis.

In 2016, following decades of careful stewardship of resources, CVTS was able to realize a long held dream and purchase its own office building in downtown Courtenay. The homelessness crisis in our community has impacted women and children attempting to escape violence. CVTS staff, particularly Heather Ney, the Executive Director, have worked closely with other community groups to find solutions. In 2016, a brand new building with four units was purchased to house women and children, and two units of longer term transitional housing were created within the Amethyst House building. This is the beginning of what CVTS hopes will be an expanding program of providing housing to women and children in need.

Our community continues to support the important work of the Transition Society through monetary donations; the donation of goods, and shopping, at “Too Good To Be Threw”; and volunteering and participating in public awareness events. This year, CVTS will be inviting our community to help celebrate 30 years of service.

For more information and to see how you might contribute, please visit us at cvts.ca.