The Leading Change Expansion Pack: Social Change From Your Sofa

The Cause

Leading Change is the call-to-action program of the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters (ACWS). It includes customizable, transformative programs and tools to inform, inspire, and equip people to create culture change. It is the only domestic violence prevention program informed by the frontline service expertise of women’s shelters. We know from the research and the experiences of our member shelters that culture change is key to reducing the alarming numbers of women that shelters serve each year. The Leading Change Expansion Pack (LCEP) will take what we have developed through our Leading Change program and the decades of experience in this field to develop a program experience that people can order right to their doorstep. The LCEP is a free subscription box designed for men to use at home to expand their knowledge with a series of guided activities to "level-up" and help end gender-based violence in our province. Any adult can subscribe to receive a LCEP, but it is designed with men in mind. Most men are not abusive themselves, but in the age of #metoo and other social media movements, many are curious about their role to help create positive change, they want to contribute to cultivating a safer world for the women in their lives, and they are willing to do some self-exploration and learn more. We launched the LCEP in 2020, and with nearly 1000 boxes having been ordered and shipped, we want to develop version 1.2 of the LCEP to continue to lead positive, transformational change across Alberta.

Who Will it Benefit?

In 2018/19, Leading Change supported 135 organizations to recognize and interrupt domestic violence in their workplaces and in the community. 6,130 people were trained to be leaders of change, including training for junior and high school students on consent, healthy relationships, and the impact of abuse. The LCEP version 1.0 is nearly sold out with over 800 boxes having been ordered and shipped out across Alberta. We are keen to develop version 1.2, so that new subscribers can continue to “level-up” their learning and contribute to ending violence against women. Those who will directly benefit is anyone who orders a box; the LCEP is marketed towards men and boys, but anyone can order a box. Many who work in the social services sector have ordered LCEP boxes to increase their learning, so they can continue to be leaders of change in their communities and have further impact in ending gender-based violence. Likewise, those who will indirectly benefit are the women and girls in the communities where the LCEP reaches, as it will help create healthier relationships and safer interactions. Similarly, during the past year having an independent, socially distanced option for individuals to participate in Leading Change programming has proven to be successful. With many still working from home, or hesitant to gather for larger group trainings, another round of LCEP will help create an impact while in-person options are still limited in many communities.