Lakeside Haven – Violence Recovery for Women and Children

The Cause

Every woman who has suffered abuse deserves an opportunity for respite and healing, away from the extraordinary pressures of her daily life. Every child deserves the chance to simply be a kid, carefree and unafraid.

Lakeside Haven is a retreat, offered twice annually, for women and their children who have experienced family violence and are currently living in a second stage, long term shelter through Wings of Providence. The retreat offers these families a safe, nurturing space to explore new activities,
rebuild relationships, relax, and heal as a family. Last year, 27 women and 58 children, ranging in age from seven months to 16 years, experienced outdoor adventures and participated in trust-building games and family time campfires each night. While the reach is modest, the impact is enormous.

Our moms are given a relaxing weekend to decompress in a safe, beautiful, natural setting, knowing their children are having fun in the care of qualified professionals. They’re given respite from the stress of leaving an abusive relationship, living in temporary housing, balancing work or school, and managing the lives of their children, who are also under tremendous strain.

Our children are given a chance to run free, explore, and ask questions of our caring staff who design entire days around adventures to be had, games to be played, and friendships to be made. To a child who lives with the emotional and psychological trauma of abuse, and the consequences of leaving their home and neighbourhood, this weekend is designed to be a paradise of positivity, fun, and security.

Our families learn there is a community that cares about them, with people who understand what they’re going through, and support to help them take care of themselves on their journey. They are allowed to heal, have hope, and be a family again - free from the threat of violence. For many, this is the first family vacation they have ever taken.

Qualified psychologists from YWCA Edmonton Counselling Services are in attendance throughout the retreat to offer support and counselling for anyone who needs it. We strive to achieve long-lasting, positive goals for the women and children who come to Lakeside Haven. By offering a safe, enriching environment and modelling healthy relationships and coping skills, we look to ensure families have the opportunity to break the cycle of violence, heal, and build resilience.

Who Will it Benefit?

All beneficiaries are women and their children who have experienced domestic violence and are currently living in a second stage, long term shelter through Wings of Providence. Each year, approximately 25 women and 55 children of all ages, from infants to teenagers, benefit from these powerful and impactful weekends.

We offer a special family retreat that improves emotional, social, and physical well-being by providing safe, supportive, high-quality experiences in a healthy outdoor space. Moms get a chance to reconnect with their children away from the pressures of day-to-day life, helping with recovery and moving them forward as a family while creating new, happy memories.

Lakeside Haven participants have lived violence-free lives for approximately six months, which is crucial to the effectiveness of the retreat experience. We have determined that the program is most effective with families at this juncture, as they are no longer embroiled in daily violence and so are more receptive to this weekend of respite and healing as well as being open to learning new coping skills. The women and their children can relax, enjoying one another's company in the safe, welcoming atmosphere of Lakeside Haven.