In silent stillness lay

Christmas is, and always has been, a magicial time at The Cridge Centre for the Family. Back in the days of The BC Protestant Orphans' Home, children who lived here remember "Christmas was a big event. There were many special times during this season of the year … for deprived children, it was an unbelievably happy time…"

And so it is today, for many of our clients, that Christmas is both a busy and a happy time. Sometimes, though, that busy-ness can become a distraction from what we're really here for. 

This afternoon, as I sat at my desk busily clearing the way for my own time off over Christmas, I heard a sound that put me in mind of the angels that sang in Bethlehem. It was the choir from Saint Patrick's School, who had come to sing for our seniors. Beautiful young voices in harmony singing classic carols as well as a few Christmas songs slowed the whole world down momentarily. 

The children were followed by a handbell choir comprised of eight of our senior residents. They've been practicing all year to share their own Christmas songs with the residents and staff, and they played beautifully. A colleague waved to me from where I was taking pictures, and was going to rush off again, when I urged her to wait and listen to the handbell choirs last song. 

Sitting and listening – tt's one of the most rewarding activities of Christmas. In all the shopping and baking, the decorating and the bustle we can so easily forget, "The world in silent stillness lay to hear the angels sing." May you find silent moments this Christmas, moments filled with peace, with love, and with gratitude. 

The Twelve Days of Cridge-Mas

It can be a challenge during the Christmas season to know just what to buy, whom to support, and where best to spend your precious time, talent and resources. Here's our helpful guide to make your holidays just that little bit easier, updated each day from December 10 – 21: 

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[toggle title=”Day 1: Fill a Hamper”] All clients who receive hampers have now been spoken for. Thank you for your generous response.

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[toggle title=”Day 2: Stuff a Stocking”]On Friday, December 14 drop by The Cridge Village Senior's Centre Grande Lounge between 7:30 and 10:00 am for warm drinks, tasty treats, lively music, and to Stuff the Stocking for The Cridge Respitality Service. As well as a lovely morning break, you'll be providing much needed support for families raising children with special needs.[/toggle]

[toggle title=”Day 3: Transfer a Security”]Nothing says “I Care” like the gift of a stock transfer. While they may not top the list for your family members, a gift to the organization of stocks or other securities will mean we are able to help even more people in 2013. Find out more, including a transfer form for you and your broker to complete, on our Giving page.

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[toggle title=”Day 4: Send a Man, or 10, to the Movies”]For some men who call our brain injury residence home, social activities are a part of their recovery process. For others, a night at the movies is just a great change in routine, and an opportunity to have a little fun and forget about recovery for a while. Either way, a gift of 10 passes or gift cards for the nearby Cineplex will provide a great night out for the residents that will continue to bless them after the final credits roll. [/toggle]

[toggle title=”Day 5: Give of Yourself”]There is nothing like the joy of making another person smile, and that is what our volunteers do every time they give of themselves to spend time with our clients. Call B-I-N-G-O at the The Cridge Village Senior’s Centre, help in the childcare centre, or tidy the gardens at MacDonald House. When you give of yourself, you give the very best! Find out more on out Volunteer page.[/toggle]

[toggle title=”Day 6: Save a Seat”]Do you or a local organization you know have six folding chairs in good repair you’d like to give a new home? Our brain injury support groups at Mary Cridge Manor could put them to good use! Contact mcm@cridge.org to arrange to donate the chairs.[/toggle]

[toggle title=”Day 7: Furnish a Happy Morning”]When woman and children arrive at The Cridge Transition House for Women, they’ve often left behind some of the basics of life. Your gift of alarm clocks, umbrellas, slippers, or pyjamas will ensure a safe night’s sleep and happy good morning. [/toggle] [toggle title=”Day 8: Stock a Cupboard”]Both The Cridge Young Parent Outreach Program and The Cridge Dovetail Services maintain emergency food cupboards for clients to access on their leanest days. Non-perishable food items, diapers and toiletries are always in high need, as are bus tickets and grocery gift cards. [/toggle] [toggle title=”Day 9: Deliver Safety”]A financial donation to The Cridge Transition House for Women’s “Keys in Hand Fund” will cover the costs of moving, storage, and utilities for a woman starting out in her new, violence-free, home. Just designate ‘Keys in Hand’ in the memo of your cheque or in the Message box via online donation on our Canada Helps page.[/toggle] [toggle title=”Day 10: Re-Gift that old Cell”]Giving new phones to your teens this Christmas? Bring your old phone in for recycling and the money we make goes toward new phones for women or towards getting their phone number changed.[/toggle] [toggle title=”Day 11: Leave a Legacy”]The Cridge Centre for the Family may not exist today if not for the forward thinking and planning of key saints along the way who bequeathed gifts in their wills. Your thoughtful addition of The Cridge Centre in your estate planning will mean a brighter future for the organization and the people we serve. Contact Shannon Whissell, Manager of Communication & Fund Development, to learn more.  [/toggle] [toggle title=”Day 12: Say a Little Prayer”]This gift is last, not because it is the least important, but because we want it to stick with you. Please pray for us. Pray for our leadership – the board of directors and our Chief Executive Officer Shelley Morris – that they will have discernment, courage and wisdom in guiding the organization. Pray for our management and staff who go so far and beyond their job descriptions to make a difference in the lives of clients’ they interact with. Pray for the safety and preservation of our physical resources, that they will last to serve so many more people. And, as always, please pray for our clients, for their safety, and that their time with us will be time that edifies, strengthens, and encourages them.

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And, just to get you in the mood, here's a very fun 12 Days of Christmas that's sure to leave you with a smile: 

What Will Your Legacy Be?

In 1892, John George Taylor updated his will, leaving his entire estate to The BC Protestant Orphans' home. Shortly after, Mr. Taylor passed away, forever changing the fate of the organization he had supported late in his life. 

According to the available records, no one is quite sure how Mr. Taylor, a police man by trade, came to amass a small fortune, but the $32,000 he left allowed the society leaders to purchase 12 acres at the corner of Hillside Avenue and Cook Street, then considered the outsksirts of the city, and to build the beautiful red brick home that now bears Mr. Taylor's name. The Taylor building is the heart of The Cridge Centre. Over 119 years it has housed orphans, the homeless, childcare services, and now seniors and administration while the surrounding Garry oak meadow provides shade and space for children to play. 

In 1917, William Alan left Victoria for the fields of war in Europe. He had spent much of his youth in the BC Protestant Orphans' Home, finding in the Taylor Building security, family, care, and encouragement that had been absent in his earlier life. There weren't a lot of jobs for young men without means or education then, so serving his country in the Canadian Army was a proud though undoubtedly difficult choice. William died in battle, and in his personal effects was found a poignant hand-written will.

He left all he owned of any worth to The BC Protestant Orphan's Home, "the only home I've ever known." One can only imagine the faces of the women who had cared for this young man when they received the news of his death and of his bequest: the feelings of loss and pride that they must have felt, and the acknowledgement and encouragement they must have received for his comment. 

The passing of time allows us to reflect on these legacy gifts of the past, and to see some of the difference they made. A legacy gift is so named not for the way it is received, but for the difference it continues to make in the life of the organization. John Taylor's gift was $32,000. His legacy is permanence, committment, and home. The soldier's gift was $1,000, but his legacy was gratitude and acknowledgement of a job well done. 

What will your legacy be? To find out more about legacy giving, or to include The Cridge Centre for the Family in your estate planning, please contact Shannon Whissell or speak with your lawyer or other estate planning professional. 

Once a Cridge Kid, Always a Cridge Kid!: A plea to support Justin Plunkett

UPDATE: July 10, 2013 – Justin lost his fight with cancer on June 6, 2013. His mom posted the following message “This morning at 4:40 am, Justin earned his wings. It was very peaceful and he was surrounded by love. Justin will be forever young. Love you my lil man.” Our thoughts and prayers are with the Plunkett family as they grieve the loss of their son, brother, nephew, grandson, and friend.


Justin Plunkett and his twin sister Jocelyn, not to mention his little sister Olivia and their cousin, were all Cridge kids. Justin and Jocelyn attended school age care in the Taylor Building, while Olivia is still well-known by the nursery, daycare and school age care staff in our new facility. You don’t turn off the love for a child just because they no longer need our services, so there are many Cridge staff who are touched by the battle against brain cancer that Justin is fighting, with his family’s support.

Justin was diagnosed with brain cancer on Christmas Eve 2010. His cancer was in remission, but on October 29 of this year the family found out that the cancer was back, and is no longer considered treatable. We ask all our friends and supporters to consider how they could help the Plunketts. In addition to suppporting Justin’s bucket list, funds will help the family cover the many expenses of serious care not covered by MSP, such as food and ferry costs while at Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, over the counter medicines, and parking at the hospital.

 

Ways you can help:

1. Bottle Drive: Drop of your bottles or a cash donation at the Bottle Drive for Justin this Saturday, November 17 from 11 am to 3 pm at 439 Davida Avenue, Victoria.

2. Donate: The family is accepting donations online at Justin’s webpage: http://www.justinplunkett.ca/. Therre are also details on Justin’s website for giving via cheque or to the trust account at CIBC.

3. Spread the Word: The more people who know Justin’s story, the more likely it is that hius family will have the support that they need, and that Justin will get to complete as much of his bucket list as his body will allow.

We will update this post as Justin makes his bucket list known. He was recently able to visit Maui and check off some amazing bucket list items – be sure to check out the photos on Justin’s website.

Congratulations Soroptomists

Our hearty congratulations to the Soroptomists International Greater Victoria chapter!

These amazing women, celebrating their 80th year of service to Victoria, were honoured last night at the Victoria National Philanthropy Day awards with the 2012 Outstanding Philanthropic Service Club Award for their many projects supporting women in the city. 

Soroptimist, meaning "best for women," raises an average of $35,000 annually to support efforts such as The Cridge Transition House for Women, other transition houses in the city, holiday hampers for single-parent families, school supplies, bursaries and birth training. 

At The Cridge Transition House for Women, the Soroptimists provide 'Fresh Start' kits, providing many of the essentials of a home such as dish drying racks, mops, dish soap, and linens, that are so expensive to replace when a woman is fleeing domestic violence. These kits turn a shelter into a home. 

We're grateful for the commitment of the Soroptimists' support, and so happy to see them recognized for the difference they make for women in so many ways. Soroptimists International of Greater Victoria, you really are 'Best for Women."

 

Violence Against Women is Everyone’s Issue

This autumn will see a number of initiatives at The Cridge Centre to highlight the conversation around and educate people about violence against women.

  1. Orange Day – October 25, and the 25th of each month following, The Cridge Centre for the Family will participate in Orange Day, an initiative of the United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki Moon to end violence against women world wide. Orange t-shirts, orange candies, orange information posters and orange ribbons will ensure that the message – it is up to all of us to end violence – is loud and clear. To learn more about Orange Day initiatives, visit the UNiTE website. If you’d like to know more about our Orange Day activites, please contact Candace Stretch for more information.UPDATE: Enjoy these pictures from Orange Days at The Cridge Centre
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  2. White Ribbon  – The Cridge Centre will be coordinating a number of White Ribbon campaigns across the city. The campaigns will kick-off on November 25th, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and will culminate on December 6th, The National Day of Remebrance and Action on Violence Against Women. White Ribbon campaigns allow male leaders to take a pledge against violenece against women in all its forms, and encourage other men to do the same. The White Ribbon campaign reinforces that violence against women is a societal issue, not a women’s issue. To hold your own White Ribbon campaign in collaboration with The Cridge Centre, please contact Marlene Goley for more information.
  3. Dr. Jackson Katz – Renowned anti-sexist male activist Jackson Katz will be speaking Nanaimo on November 26th and 27th. Dr. Katz is an American educator, author, filmmaker and cultural theorist who is internationally recognized for his groundbreaking work in the fields of gender violence prevention education and critical media literacy. The three scheduled events are a special opportunity to hear Dr. Katz and learn from his innovative and successful work to end violence. The events are sponsored by The Haven Society, and include a free public evening session, a male leaders’ breakfast, and an afternoon session for those working in the social services field. To register of for more information, please visit The Haven Society website.

In the meantime, Dr. Katz has produced a list of 10 THINGS MEN CAN DO TO PREVENT GENDER VIOLENCE: Please read, talk about, and share the ideas on this poster with the men in your life.

 

God Will See You Through

At the October meeting of the Cridge Management Team, Marlene Goley, Manager of Women's and Family Services, shared this devotional by Brigette Weeks. We share it here, as posted on Guideposts, with the hope that it will help you see 'order in the chaos':

My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only He will release my feet from the snare. —Psalm 25:15

Riding a rented bicycle with marginal brakes into a four-way intersection on an unsurfaced road is no game for the fainthearted—and I am fainthearted. But while on a trip to Vietnam, that is exactly the situation in which I was horrified to find myself.

There are few motorcars in Hanoi and almost no public transportation, but there are hundreds of thousands of bicycles and small motorcycles racing around the city, guided by no apparent rules.

 
Taking a deep breath, I plunged into a dense and fast-moving morass of vehicles, all going in different directions, many with multiple passengers and alarming amounts of merchandise. “Please, God,” I gasped, “get me out of this alive.”
 
Then I noticed the other bicycle riders kept his or her eyes glued to the four- or five-foot swath of road right in front of them. There was much swerving and weaving, but clearly you only had to take evasive action if another rider intruded into that space in front of you.
 
I’m a quick study in a tight situation. Eyes front, I told myself, and with one or two close calls I got across intersections without bodily harm for the next two weeks and, more important, without a trace of the ghastly sense of panic I had experienced that first day. God didn’t help me escape; God helped me to see order in the midst of chaos.
 
 

The Cridge Childcare children delight Governor General David Johnston

The pleasure on Governor General David Johnston's face as chidren from The Cridge Childcare Services demonstrated phycial literacy for him was more then clear. His Excellency beamed, clapped and high-fived the children who performed, clearly delighting in their energetic display of throwing skills. 

For the past several months, the children of The Cridge Childcare services from age 3-12 worked with instructors from the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence on age-appropriate basics of sport. Called the ABC's of Physical Literacy, the program is funded by The Victoria Foundation in response to a challenge from Governor General David Johnstone for community foundations to contribute to the creation of 'smart and caring' Canadians. 

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Caring for the Caregivers 2012

Parents' love for their child may never waiver but their stamina and abilities can. Raising a child with special needs presents ongoing physical, social, emotional and financial challenges that create a state of “chronic stress” and can leave family members feeling drained, discouraged, exhausted and isolated from their community. That's where The Cridge Respitality Service steps in. The Cridge Respitality Service provides a much needed relief for these parents who experience a much needed opportunity to refresh, restore, reconnect, and return to their children better able to continue their daily lives.

The Cridge Respitality Service provides a unique and innovative is a unique program through which hotels, resorts and bed-and-breakfasts in Victoria, Parksville and Vancouver provide a complimentary overnight stay for the parents or primary caregivers of a child with a disability while the child receives respite care at home.

A bountiful welcome basket greets the guests at their room, where they often find stay enhancements like a bottle of wine, meal vouchers, or spa treatment coupons. Parents have a chance to relax and restore themselves: sometimes the only break they get in a year.

When we tell people what The Cridge Respitality Service does, they generally understand that it has something to do with the parents of a child with special needs staying at a hotel and having a break for one night from the otherwise unrelenting task of caring for their child/children. In fact, this program could not exist without the accommodations and community partners who make a "Respitality break' so special. 

Donate Now Through CanadaHelps.org!For just $97.23, you can support a family's participation in the program for a year. In addition to a respitality break, families also receive the pricesless gifts of encouragement, support, and the strength that comes from knowing their community is behind them.  (Click the Donate Now link, and select 'The Cridge Respitality' from the Fund/Designation drop-down). If you prefer to give over the phone, call Shannon Whissell at (250) 995-6419

The Cridge Respitality Service is fully funded by generous private donations, including support from The United Way of Greater Victoria.

The buskers are coming – AGAIN!

We are excited to once again be hosting  two international acts from the Victoria International Buskers' Festival.

Clients, society members, volunteers and community members are welcome to join us in the upper parking lot of The Cridge Village for two fun, family-friendly, and mind-twisting acts. 

Les Vitaminés
Wednesday July 25 @ 3:00 pm

Les Vitaminés are a pair of juggling acrobats who have made it their mission to dazzle people of all ages with their extraordinary abilities and burlesque-style staging. 

Mr. Spin
Friday July 27 @ 3:00 pm

Mr. Spin is a highly skilled, comic and vaudevillian-style street/circus act. He has a loveable, charismatic character that is a favourite with all audiences!

Come join the fun!