The Cridge Centre Ride for Refuge

The Cridge Centre for the Family is THRILLED to be the host partner for the first Ride for Refuge in Victoria, BC, taking place October 4, 2014. The Ride for Refuge is a non-competitive family- friendly ride that raises money for charities that support the exploited, vulnerable and displaced.

Will you join us? We need you, and our clients need you too! What could be better than all of us squeezing into our spandex (optional!) and sweating together while raising money for The Cridge Centre for the Family?


How You Can Help:

  1. Captain a Team of Riders:

    Team Captains register, choose The Cridge Centre for the Family in the charity list, and recruit 8-12 riders to their teams. Staff, volunteers, clients, friends, family and your church community are all great possible captains or team members. Sign up to be a Team Captain at
  1. Volunteer:

    Most of the volunteer work will be on the day of the ride. We will need people for the welcome, registration, food service and route safety teams. We also need volunteers for the route and promotion teams in the 6-8 weeks prior to the ride.
    Sign up to Volunteer at
  2. Sponsor:

    Event sponsors ensure that every penny donated goes to essential services provided by the many charitable partners of the ride. Costs such as lunch, rest stop snacks, port-a-potty rentals and security team fees are all great opportunities for your business to be in front of 300 people out to do some good. Contact Shelley Morris to become a ride sponsor – click her name to email, or call (250) 995-6419.

  3. Ride:


    A ride just isn’t a ride if there’s no one riding. If you don’t feel you can can captain a team but still want to ride for The Cridge Centre, click here to register:  


  4. Give:


    Donate to the Cridge Team at  

Click here for a ride poster: Ride for Refuge


Chef’s Corner: Pumpkin Pie with Pastry Cream

Everywhere you look this time of year it’s pumpkin spice this and pumpkin pie flavoured that. Why not just go with the real thing – creamy, spicy, satisfying pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin Pie 


Group A:

  • 5ml Ginger
  • 5ml Cinnamon
  • 2ml Nutmeg
  • 1ml Cloves (ground)
  • 65ml Hot water
  • 2.5ml Vanilla

Group B:

  • 2 Eggs
  • 140g Brown sugar
  • 2ml Salt
  • 195ml Evaporated milk
  • 35ml Orange juice
  • 325g Canned Pumpkin
  • Zest of ½ orange

Group C:  1 pie shell – homemade or your favourite pre-made brand


  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Combine A and mix well
  • Add A to B and mix well
  • Prick pie shells and pre-bake for 5 minutes, then fill and bake at 350°F until brown and set – about 30 minutes. Check pies and if browning too quickly drop temperature to 325°F.

Pastry Cream (Yield: 450 ml)

Group A:

  • 315 ml Milk
  • 50g Sugar
  • Pinch Salt

Group B:

  • 25g Cornstarch
  • 40ml Cold milk

Group C:

  • 2 Egg yolks

Group D:

  • 10g Unsalted butter (soft)
  • 2.5ml Vanilla or other
  • flavouring as desired


  • Scald A
  • Combine B to dissolve starch and set aside
  • Add B to A slowly, stirring constantly
  • Cook on low heat 5 – 8 minutes until no starch taste remains
  • Temper C with the hot mixture and add into the cream
  • Mix well and cook an additional five minutes.
  • Remove from heat. Blend in D. Cover with cling film right on top of the cream so no air gets in.

YIELD: One beautiful pie

Nik Seniors' ServicesNik Milonas, Executive Chef at The Cridge Village Seniors Centre, is a Certified Chef de Cuisine.

Nik believes that “cooking is the best gift you can give. I believe in serving people fresh food grown as close to home as possible as it provides the best taste and nutrition.”

Ride for Refuge Call for Volunteers

RIDE Logo - With Square Icons

The Victoria Ride for Refuge is off with great momentum (insert bicycle pun here), but we’ve still got great opportunities for people who don’t want to ride to participate as volunteers. All volunteers are asked to sign up online at Volunteer teams include

  • the welcome team
  • registration
  • route marshals & rest-stop attendants
  • celebration organizers
  • photo/videographers

We’ve also got a special need for one dedicated individual to come alongside our Event Co-directors for the next 6 weeks and contribute to the planning, promotion and operations of the Ride (Volunteer Job Description). If you know someone who would be GREAT for this job please forward them this post. If you are interested in this position, please email Shannon at and let her know.

Cridge Respite Connect- A Wonderful Tool for Helping Familes!

Imagine being the parent of a child with Asperger’s syndrome: supporting your child through the daily routine of life leaves no time for self-care. Because of your child’s complex needs you have no one in your circle of friends and family who is willing to provide childcare, yet taking a break is crucial for you to have the energy to be an effective parent.

The Cridge Respite Program seeks to connect families to qualified respite care providers (RCP’s), so that parents can take a much-needed break knowing that her child is well cared for.

Over the course of the past year, the staff of The Cridge Respite Resource Service have developed a dynamic tool for helping families and RCP’s to connect. The tool is called “Cridge Respite Connect” and is an online platform that allows families to post detailed profiles of about their child and their childcare needs are. It also allows RCP’s to post their specific qualifications, interests, and availability.

Families can then look through the profiles of RCP’s and contact those that will meet their specific needs. The Cridge Respite Program coordinator manages and monitors Cridge Respite Connect and helps both families and RCP’s to create profiles that will be effective in creating a great connection.

Since the launch of Cridge Respite Connect, many success stories have emerged of families who have found just the right person to care for their child:

  • One mother emailed: “Just to let you know that a very wonderful person called me up who had seen my profile online. He started working today! I am very excited to have him, I think he will be great!”
  • Parents of another child wrote: “Thanks to you, we have found great care providers. You can remove our profile and we will contact you in the future when the need arises.”
  • A grandparent caring for a child with special needs shared: “I would like to thank you for submitting my profile to your respite care website. I have received three interested people and would like at this point to have my ad taken down as I do not want to be overwhelmed by talented respite caregivers (so hard to choose!)”

We are so proud of the impact that Cridge Respite Connect is having in the lives of families with children with special needs!

A Seniors’ Story: Gratitude

Icon SeniorsWe thought we’d share with you this letter from a resident in the seniors’ centre:

A message of gratitude to my Cridge family,

Every morning, after thanking God for His gift of a new day, I sing quietly in my heart but loudly in the great outdoors, “I am full of joy, ALLELUIA, knowing deep peace at the Cridge, my home!”  My nine decades of living have convinced me that all my memories; joy and sorrow, success and failure, doubt and faith, tragedy and comedy; are seeds of hope.

In my time here my life experience has already proved a reality. In three and a half months all of my Cridge memories are seeds of hope producing everlasting flowers of peace and joy, or courage and compassion, of laughter and song, and of fine food and gentle, cheerful service.

In 2002, when macular degeneration started the deterioration of my eyesight, I experienced deep fear. Soon, however, I realized that my near blindness is one of God’s greatest gifts to me because through it I meet caring, compassionate people whom I would never have met if my eyesight were perfect. Here at the Cridge I am even more aware of the importance of God’s gift because were I not nearly blind I might not have chosen the Cridge as my home. How foolish I would have been! How blessed I am!!!

My family, there is no way you can possibly understand how deep is my appreciation of your caring love and service.


Anna’s Story: Smiling through Closed Doors

Icon Transition House

The past couple of months we have had the privilege of working with Anna, a recent immigrant to Canada, and her adorable toddler son. After suffering months and months of physical and psychological abuse at the hands of her husband and her in-laws, Anna made the decision to seek safety at The Cridge Transition House for Women. Since that time, she has been an example of how frequently our system closes the door on women fleeing abuse.

Anna has experienced system failure with Income Assistance, who refused to cover the cost of her much-needed dental work. She has experienced it with Legal Aid, who assigned her a lawyer who belongs to a male rights group, and who has not been willing to take legal means to keep her safe. Legal Aid would not approve a change of counsel request, nor have they been willing to pay for an adequate translator to help her understand the process. She has experienced it with Canada Immigration who have given her a condition of having to remain with her husband for two years. Staff are currently trying to support her through the difficult process of trying to have this condition removed from her Permanent Residency. If we are unsuccessful, she will face deportation.

Through all of this, Anna has kept a smile on her face and hope in her heart. She is moving forward with her life, and plans to move to our Supportive Transitional Housing program in July. She is a loving mother to her son and a delight to work with. We are so pleased that we have been her open door!

Lauren’s Story: Turning Assets into Opportunities


Three years ago, Lauren was 20 and had a new baby girl. She was in a relationship with her baby girl’s fatherShe had hoped that when she got pregnant he would stop using drugs, hitting her and calling her awful names. He didn’t. Then she hoped he would stop when the baby was born. He didn’t.

Lauren had a cousin who tried to stay connected to Lauren. When her baby girl was born, Lauren’s cousin made a deal with Lauren: leave the boyfriend and she and the baby could stay with her cousin until Lauren could get on her feet. Lauren realized that her boyfriend was not going to change and that taking her cousin up on her offer was her best chance to make a life for herself and her daughter. Shortly after Lauren and the baby moved in with her cousin, she heard about The Cridge Young Parent Outreach Program (Cridge YPOP) from her midwife. Lauren gave The Cridge Young Parent Outreach Worker Nicole a call.

This was the beginning of Lauren’s three year journey with Cridge YPOP.

Nicole connected Lauren and the baby to a supportive housing program for young moms. While she was in that housing program, Nicole helped Lauren get her baby girl into Cridge daycare and to register for an employment program. Lauren started to dream of a bright future. She got excited about going back to school, entered a college course, and got into permanent subsidized housing.

When Nicole offered the first run of the Cridge Asset Building Program for Cridge program youth, Lauren signed up. Lauren used the skills she learned to save and keep saving after she completed the program. She saved enough to realize her dream of buying a small car to make getting baby to daycare, getting herself to school, and doing errands like grocery shopping easier. She stayed in school, too.

Lauren will graduate from her college program this month. Cridge YPOP helped Lauren with these big steps and with lots of little steps, too. Nicole was there for Lauren when the baby was sick and when Lauren was confused about immunization schedules and developmental markers. She shared Lauren’s delight in the first tooth, the first step and the first words. She made her computer available when school assignments were due.

Lauren’s story is the story of many of the young moms who have relied on the support of The Cridge Young Parent Outreach Program. Some of the other young moms have had smaller successes, some are still struggling. Nicole never gives up. This quote from one young mom says it all: “This program plays a pivotal role in my life with my children and I would be lost without it.”

The Cride Young Parent Outreach Program is grateful for the support of The United Way of Greater Victoria and The Victoria Foundation for funding.

UWGVFundedProg2012Vic Fndn H2 Spot-tag-stack (2)

Spirit of Play: Come Play With Us

In celebration of Child Care month this May, The Cridge Centre for the Family and The Cridge Childcare Services have been having fun exploring the importance of play in child development.

Paula West-Patrick, Manager of The Cridge Children’s Services, participated with James Vitti and Gillian Petrini in a special radio program on CFUV called Radio Child: Press Play. You can listen to Paula’s portion of the program here:

(The play button is on the left edge of the black bar)
The Cridge Early Childhood Programs invite you to attend “The Spirit of Play” open house on Saturday May 31st from 10:30 am-3:00pm. Programs at  1309 Hillside Avenue will be open to the community for a fun time of exploration through play.


For further information you can contact Paula at 250-995-6416 or



Congratulations, Dr. Chris!

Today one of our very cherished former team member, Chris Heyd, will become Dr. Chris Heyd as he graduates alongside his classmates in the University of Victoria Island Medical Program.


Children from School Age Care send Chris off with well-wishes!

It seems just yesterday, though it was really almost four years ago, that Chris resigned his post as School Age Care Coordinator to return to school. Chris was cherished by the staff he managed, the children he cared for, and by his supervisor Paula West-Patrick, Manager of Children’s Services.

Paula has nothing but kind  words and fond memories of Chris. In fact, she had trouble picking from among her favourite attributes of Chris’:

  • a very caring nature
  • a real knack for listening to people and empathising with concerns
  • interest in the environment and nature,
  • a great sense of adventure,

Paula thinks that Chris’ well-rounded nature provided the school age care children with a positive, caring, role-models, and she’s certain that as a doctor Chris’ patients will have the pleasure of a very caring bedside manner. Today, Chris is not only crossing the stage with his classmates; he has also earned the honour of giving the valedictory address.

As part of his training, Chris spent four weeks as a health care volunteer in rural India. Of that experience Chris says, “I will continue to be involved in international health in the future.  . . .  I believe it should be part of an ethical life in the first world, as we could not enjoy our lifestyle without dependence on the developing world.  We have a responsibility to give back.”

Giving back is, it seems, a program ethic as well as a personal one for Chris. Also graduating today are two classmates of Christ who volunteered at The Cridge Transition House for Women during their training. As well, CTHW is the recipient of a class donation at today’s commencement celebration.

Congratulations to all the graduates as they begin their professional lives of service. And our best wishes to our Dr. Heyd, who will always be a part of the Cridge Centre family no matter where he goes.

Robin’s Story: The More We Get Together …

Do you remember that simple tune from childhood?

The more we get together, together, together
The more we get together the happier we’ll be.

(If’ the song is not stuck in your head yet, check out this Raffi video)

That song evokes the kind of morning we have once a year when all members of The Cridge Centre for the Family Society are invited to breakfast – a time of sharing stories and appreciation for the service of our society members.

In between the welcome, the grace, the thank you speeches and the dismissal lies the meat of the morning – the bacon, yes, but more importantly the client presentation. Including stories straight from the mouths of those we serve is inspiring, moving and rewarding.

Robin and Geoff

Robin (L) with Geoff Sing (R), Manager, The Cridge Brain Injury Services.

This year’s presenter Robin Bienvenu has been a client of the Cridge Brain Injury Services for the past 5 years. Seven years ago today Robin, an otherwise healthy young adult with a secure job, a thriving business, and a brand new baby son, slipped into an unanticipated coma.

After 48 days Robin woke up, the myelin in his brain and nervous system so destroyed by acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) that he felt like little more than “a head on a pillow.”

With few functioning nerves in his body, Robin couldn’t even feel the weight of himself in his bed.The seven major areas of Robin’s brain were all impacted by ADEM, impacting his memory, motor function, sight, emotions, and more. Because he didn’t fit the model of who ADEM generally attacks, it took four years for Robin to be diagnosed. He considers himself lucky in some ways – the myelin in Robin’s body regenerated so that he is now mobile and active. He remains legally blind though, and this unavoidable brain injury took Robin’s relationship and his livelihood.

Connecting with The Cridge Brain Injury Programs was “a god-send” for Robin. He spent two years living in Mary Cridge Manor, which offers independent living with support, and even though he has moved on to his own independent housing, Robin stays connected with the community kitchen and community garden programs. Working with other brain injury survivors, both on staff and with his fellow clients, Robin has relearned much of what the ADEM had stolen from him in his physical recovery. He has also grown as a leader, developed new passions, and returned to school.

As of this fall Robin will be studying at the University of Victoria with the hopes of becoming a registered counsellor who works with people with disabilities. His good humour (Robin cracked that Christmas shopping with his white cane is like being Moses parting the Red Sea), his optimism, and his appreciation of life will be great assetts for Robin as he takes this next step in his schooling and as he continues to bless the clients and staff he meets at The Cridge Brain Injury Services.

We are blessed with faithful and committed society members, and a driven and passionate Board of Directors. Having them all in the room to hear Robin’s story is one small way of showing them how important they are.

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