New programs strengthen Association of Communities Against Abuse’s mandate

Association offers a range of preventative education programs, available for people of all ages

Several new programs at the Association of Communities Against Abuse this fall are strengthening the organizations’s overall mandate.

“Going into the fall, we are definitely gearing up for programming and educational opportunities. We are offering programs that we have offered for about 25 years for pre-K up to Grade 12 about healthy relationships and education about forms of abuse and violence,” said Stephanie Hadley, executive director of the organization.

As to new ventures, Hadley said she is being certified as a first responder for sexual violence trainer.

“That is a program developed by the Alberta Association of Sexual Assault Services, and it’s a really fantastic two-day workshop that walks through (issues of) sexual violence – what the impacts are, how our society is impacted and what some of our beliefs and stereotypes are about sexual violence,” she explained.

“It also trains people on how to respond appropriately to disclosures of childhood sexual abuse or adult sexual abuse.

“I’ll be also breaking that curriculum down and doing some ‘Lunch and Learn’ events on some of those topics. If someone does want to do the full two-day workshop, there is credit towards social work training, and it also is something that will be offered fairly regularly as well.”

Over the summer, Hadley also received training on compassion fatigue.

“A big part of that is that I want to be able to better support my team. We have a team of trauma therapists that work for us as well as educators and support workers.

“So it’a about self-care and being aware of the risks of compassion fatigue and burn-out. I also see an opportunity to share that information outside of the agency to other first responders, too.

“There are a lot of people who are working in ‘helping’ fields that would really benefit from that information,” she added.

“If there is an employer or an agency that is looking for a workshop on compassion fatigue, it’s quite flexible. We can tailor it to the needs of whoever the audience is,” she said. “We are excited about it, because it’s something that isn’t being offered in this region. It’s new, and I think it will all be really beneficial.”

Hadley said the organization is also in the process of rebranding, which includes the recent launch of a new web site at www.acaahelps.ca. Looking ahead, a United Way fundraiser barbecue has also been scheduled for the Sept. 27th starting around 11 a.m.

“We are one of the funded organizations by the Central Alberta United Way and the other local agency is the youth centre right across the street, so we partner each year to do a fundraiser to give back to the United Way,” she said. “We try to use that corner by No Frills at the end of Main Street.”

Hadley also noted that over the past year, the organization has almost entirely reduced the wait list for therapy.

“In every community other than Camrose right now, we are pretty much down to a zero wait time which is amazing. We also hired four new therapists this past year, so that has really helped.”

Still, the demand for services is high. “As of August 1st, we had opened more new files than any previous year in (the past) seven months, so it’s been a busy year,” she said.

As mentioned, the Association offers a range of preventative education programs, and those are available for people of all ages.

Check out www.againstabuse.ca or call 403-742-3558.

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