By Kevin Sabo For the Advance
Five men in Castor showed their high heels on May 23. They participated in Castor’s third “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event, raising money for the Association of Communities Against Abuse, which is headquartered in Stettler.
The walk took place on Main Street starting in front of the Lighthouse Church running to the intersection by Nickles & Dimes Insurance, and back again. The Walk a Mile in her Shoes event is an international event that takes place every year. Castor has been hosting every other year for the last few years.
The event was started as a fun way to bring awareness to the serious issues of rape, sexual assault, and gender violence. Mandy Fuller of Castor and District Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) brought the event to Castor in conjunction with the Association of Communities, a non-profit society that helps provide free and much needed therapy to survivors of sexual abuse.
The society was formed 30 years ago when a need for therapy was found in rural Alberta. At the time there was a significant number of children missing school due to traveling to Calgary or Edmonton for therapy. The common thread to the children needing these services was childhood sexual abuse.
The program was developed more than four years by Judilonne Beebe and a board of directors with the mandate of helping educate the public, helping particularly children, who were abused and ending the cycle of abuse.
Starting small, the society has grown over the last 30 years, helping provide counselling to those between the ages of three and 65, and serves up to 165 clients per year, at no charge. The society has eight therapists plus a clinical supervisor spread over the East Central region of Alberta, as well as two members who work with communities in the region in preventative education. The minimal credentials of the therapists is a masters in counselling with 10 years of trauma experience.
The therapy that the society provides is also long term. Most crises-based therapy that can be accessed through Alberta Health Services or other providers can only run for between eight and 12 sessions, before payment arrangements need to be made. The society provides therapy to clients for up to two years and makes every attempt possible to find that therapy within an hour drive of the individuals home.
The society holds multiple fund-raisers throughout the year in East Central Alberta so they can keep providing this amazing service, and all funds stay within the community that raised them. For more information please visit www.againstabuse.ca.