By Emily Kemp, Revelstoke Women’s Shelter Society
Revelstoke Women’s Shelter Society’s (RWSS) new executive director hopes International Women’s Day, celebrated on March 8, will remind women of their strength.
“The obstacles women face today are slightly different than those of the courageous women who gave us the vote, but we maintain that women should not forget their right to live in a safe and supportive environment,” Lynn Loeppky said.
Loeppky, who has been with the shelter for over 10 years, was promoted to the role late last year. She has more than 30 years of experience and training in the social sector in B.C. and Saskatchewan, including working with families, the government and local service providers.
“I hope to expand on the great work of previous executive directors to help women in the community,” Loeppky said. “We have great support from our community service providers and we’re continuing a range of programs this year to boost awareness.”
International Women’s Day is celebrated every year to remember the women’s rights movement. Loeppky believes the shelter is a vital resource for Revelstoke, which has provided support for women in difficult times since 1985.
“We’re an isolated community,” Loeppky said. “Without the shelter, women locally would not have a safe place to go that’s anonymous and confidential. Where would they go without uprooting their entire life? They don’t have many other options here.”
This year, Loeppky hopes to continue working on the shelter’s goal to source second-stage housing. The lack of housing in Revelstoke is often a block for women and their children trying to move forward in their lives.
The shelter’s Moving Forward program, which includes a calendar of events for women in the community to come together in a supportive environment, is growing this year. In April, women, men and youth peer support groups will be trialed. The women’s group will build on the already successful Moving Forward program while the male program will be a first of its kind and the shelter will be looking to hire a male coordinator.