Young women helped by 100 more

Peninsula’s 100 Women Who Care chapter has surpassed its goal.

Co-founders and volunteers of the Saanich Peninsula Chapter of 100 Women Who Care present a cheque of $12

Recently, 100 Women who Care of the Saanich Peninsula Chapter presented a cheque of $12,400 to Artemis Place.

A school for girls aged 15 to 19 years of age, Artemis Place is a small, self-paced academic school for vulnerable young women who don’t find success in the regular public system. For more than 40 years, the school has provided support to young women through integrated education, counselling support and helping the women obtain life skills. It also has a child care centre, providing a safe place for those who have kids.

Executive Director of Artemis Place, Rachel Calder gave a tour to the women and the PNR, showing the various rooms, including the daycare facility.

Co-founders of 100 Women Who Care of the Saanich Peninsula Chapter, Debra Bartlett and Shelley Mann were present for the tour and were both very pleased with the facility and what Artemis does for young women.

There are 40 students at Artemis, with 25 per cent of the students either pregnant or already parenting. Calder said they can take up to 12 infants and toddlers in the daycare space they have now, but their goal is to expand.

The main goal in their strategic plan is to open up a centre for children age three to five — expanding the existing daycare which provides services for infants and toddlers. She said this would allow the school to be able to keep the little guys within the program until kindergarten.

As for the students themselves, they have their own assignments to work on in the classes they’ve selected.

“So it’s self-directed, they come in, they work on their assignments, they hand them in …” said Calder.

She added the day is very flexible, with students coming in, finding a space where they’re comfortable and connecting with their counsellor if they need to.

“We support our students with issues like housing, income assistance, going to the food bank sometimes, getting to see a counsellor. We’ll do some outreach and outtrips to support our students with basic life skills or other needs outside of just school needs.”

Sometimes, depending on their state, young individuals will isolate themselves and not want to be in a group setting right away and Calder said Artemis Place tries to integrate them into that group setting.

“We really encourage everybody to come into the groups right away but we have such a high incidence of anxiety that some students feel overwhelmed in any group setting. So, then we accommodate those students and help them to slowly integrate into participating into our groups and into our classroom settings,” she said.

Calder said they are extremely grateful for the $12,400 donation from 100 Women Who Care — Saanich Peninsula. It will allow them to enrich their programming so they can bring in more interesting extra curricular options or enrich the curriculum they offer. It can also help in bringing in more clay or paint and art supplies along with food, as the school provides lunch.

“We’re so honoured and grateful to be supported in this way from the community. It’s really exciting. Being a non-profit in the province is challenging in terms of the availability of funding and appropriately responding to the complex needs of our participants … so it’s a real gift and we’re just so grateful and honoured.”

Representatives from Artemis will give a talk to 100 Women Who Care on March 2 at 7 p.m. at Glen Meadows Golf and Country Club in North Saanich. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Bartlett said the most powerful part of 100 Women is when the recipient comes in to talk about how the money will be of benefit.

The first meeting of the Peninsula chapter of 100 Women was in April, 2015 where they had 84 members, raising 8,400 to give to The Cridge Centre for the Family.

The second saw 104, raising 10,400 to the Victoria Brain Injury Society. The third saw growth to 124 members — and $12,400 raised for Artemis, marking their largest donation to date.

Each woman in the meeting will write a $100 cheque to the selected organization. Meetings are held quarterly.