Updated: 4 days ago
It’s the season of giving, and we love giving back to our community at Yvonne’s Fitness! For the past 10 years, as the holiday season starts to wrap up, we have our own holiday party…a Zumba party! And we love to take this opportunity to raise funds and awareness for different organizations around our city. We donate all funds from our end-of-year Masterclass to our chosen institution, as well as organizing things like donation drives when we know it’s part of their community initiative. Being a primarily female-centric community, we’ve chosen female-centric organizations to give back to over the years, such as the Laurel Centre, Villa Rosa and the West Central Women’s Resource Centre.
This year, we have chosen to support the North Point Douglas Women’s Centre, an organization that grew out of a women’s empowerment project in 2002. Earlier this year, our country came face to face with a tragic part of our history after the uncovering of multiple mass graves at the sites of Canada’s former residential schools. Our Zumba students took this to heart, and spent the year educating themselves more on the history of these events and what they could do to give back. It was a unanimous decision that we should choose one of our city’s Indigenous organizations this year, and thanks to recommendations from women within the Indigenous community, we have landed on North Point Douglas Women’s Centre for this year.
What began as an empowerment project for women in the community in 2000 grew into a full organization in 2002 when they moved into their current location. NPDWC is a safe place for women and families in their community to gather and make connections, gain access to needed resources and so much more. While we certainly can’t capture everything this amazing organization does for their community in one blog post, we’d like to highlight just a few of the ways that NPDWC supports those around them.
Programs and Resources
NPDWC has a full list of programs and resources that they offer year round, some available for certain blocks of time and some accessible all the time. Their Drop-In Centre is open throughout the week and offers a safe space for all women identified people. They provide resources such as snacks, access to computers/phones/etc., crisis support and smudging and traditional medicines. At the request of the women in the community, they also have men’s hours to create a space for men to come and find support and healing, too.
NPDWC also runs numerous programs throughout the year that use Indigenous traditional teachings to guide the women in their community through different aspects of life, such as recovering from violence, parenting, women empowerment and healing through matriarchal leadership. They also offer counselling services where a traditional helper offers holistic services and methods such the Seven Sacred Ways of Healing Trauma. This is a very short list and description of the programs and resources offered at NPDWC. For more information, you can visit their website, and explore their “What We Do” tab!
Mama Bear Clan
The Mama Bear Clan is NPDWC’s community safety initiative that consists of patrols who head out into the neighbourhood three days a week to promote safety and reduce violence by being a positive presence in the community. These volunteers provide things like basic first aid, water, food, clothing and hygiene items while they are out patrolling the area. What started with only a handful of volunteers has now grown to over 500 - and all are welcome to join on patrol!
NPDWC runs this program with the “belief that safety is fostered through relationships…sometimes all people need to feel safe is knowing someone cares about them.” Through the Mama Bear Clan, they hope to build friendship and trust within the community while incorporating the Seven Sacred Teachings: love, honesty, respect, courage, truth, humility and wisdom. Aside from bringing some much needed items to those living on the street, they also provide safety through things like walking someone to a bus stop or home, picking up dangerous items off the street or calling emergency services when needed. The Mama Bear Clan accepts all volunteers - find out more about how you can get involved!
In addition to monetary donations, which go to helping run the organization as a whole, NPDWC accepts donations of some essential items that their community needs. They accept non-perishable food items, hygiene products, seasonally appropriate clothing (especially during the winter!), as well as things like baby formula, pet food and home items like can openers. The Mama Bear Clan also accepts donations of the items they need for when they are out patrolling!
In addition to our monetary contribution, Yvonne’s Fitness will be running a donation drive for North Point Douglas Women’s Centre. If you wish to contribute, you can bring items to any of the in-person classes at the Lindenwoods Community Centre, or arrange with Yvonne to drop of at her place! We will continue to collect until early January, at which time we will pick a date that works for NPDWC and arrange a drop-off date of the cheque and donation items all together. Please see their Donations Wish List for a full list of items they are looking for! (They also have two wish lists online - their GoodLocal Wish List, and their Amazon Wish List!)
We are so happy to be supporting and working with the North Point Douglas Women’s Centre this year. The programs offered that we’ve mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg. By getting involved and giving back to our community, we connect with what’s happening around us and learn more about the community and the people within it. As Canadians, it is our duty to educate ourselves more about the history of our country, and the history of Indigenous people in our country (and also right here in our city), and how that history impacts the people of the Indigenous community today. We thank North Point Douglas Women’s Centre for being not only a safe place for those in their community, but for also being a place where we can learn, get involved, and give back to our city.
Yvonne and students delivering cheques and donations from past Masterclass events.