Gingerbread Extravaganza!

The Iredale Group Architecture have made some incredible gingerbread houses for the kids at the Cridge Transition House for Women. What a great way to share some love on this Giving Tuesday!

gingerbread star wars

What is Respitality?

Respitality volunteer preparing baskets for our families

Respitality is one of the beautiful ideas that grew into a vibrant program based on a need that was evident in our community. It is a combination of respite care and hospitality, wrapped up with love, and provided to the families of children with special needs. We have over 450 families registered through the program — they each get one night a year to stay in a local hotel and receive a basket full of treats.  For many of our families, this is the only chance they will get all year to get away and have their batteries recharged. We hear over and over again, how grateful the families are – how much they needed and appreciate the break. Parents everywhere can identify with that crazy need sometimes to escape the kids – imagine how hard that would be if your child has special needs that make a regular babysitter impossible. Our families often face exhaustion and isolation — they need a break. And so, here at The Cridge, we are so thrilled to be able to give them that much-deserved break – to bless them with that opportunity to take a breath, relax and know that their child is well cared for. We are also so grateful for the hotels who provide their rooms free of charge, and the local businesses who provide us with gifts and other products with which to pamper our families.

Learn more about the Cridge Respitality program and its services.

Orange Day is TOMORROW!

What is Orange Day, you might ask?  A good question since most people — myself included up until a few weeks ago — have no idea.  It is an international day of recognition and protest against the violence perpetrated against women.  Orange Day is a United Nations initiative that was started in 2008 as a call to action against the pandemic of violence happening world wide against women and girls. In an effort to raise awareness, educate and encourage political will, the UNITE campaign has spread around the world with its message of hope for survivors and the need for immediate change.

Here in Canada, the issue of violence against women has been in the forefront for a number of weeks but the question is whether it will fall into the background again as other news comes to light. Although this is not an issue which affects all of us directly, it does affect more of us than we care to admit.  Even if it was a purely “female” issue, which it most certainly is NOT, it would still be affecting 50% of our population.  What other pandemic in the world has affected 50% of the global population? Half of the population of our world are women — and yet the issue is still not considered important enough for global action. This is horrifying and unjust in the extreme.

Here at The Cridge Centre for the Family, we take the issue seriously. Our Dovetail Services provides housing, care and support for women and their children who leave an abusive relationship. Finding safety is the first step towards healing and our staff and volunteers are passionate about doing that and so much more. And so, as a staff team, and as an organization, we stand up and say NO to violence against women — we wear orange proudly on the 25th of every month and continue to be proactive to end violence against women and girls.

What are you going to do?

Our Vital Volunteers

For the past 20 years, The Cridge Transition House for Women (CTHW) has benefited from the wonderful work of volunteers. Over the years, dozens of talented women have volunteered their time at CTHW to offer a listening ear to a woman or child, help with cooking meals and keeping the House tidy, provide transportation to  important appointments, pick up and sort through donations, and countless more tasks!

Our volunteers come with a wide-range of skills, personal experiences and talents to share. The staff team at CTHW includes a volunteer coordinator who recruits, trains and coordinates these volunteers so that they can make use of their unique set of gifts in the work they do with our women and children. Here are just a few snapshots of the vital work that volunteers do at CTHW:

  • Marj has such an encouraging heart. Her favourite thing to do is just sit and chat with the women and children at CTHW, and she can often be found sharing a cup of tea with a resident in the eating area. She is also always willing to offer practical help, and is the first to offer to help a resident cook dinner or do the laundry. A favourite memory of Marj was the time she put on the Raffi Christmas CD and danced around the Christmas tree with all of the children!
  • Our faithful volunteer Evie comes each week on the night before our groceries are delivered. She dutifully goes through our fridges, tosses old leftovers, and creates AMAZING meals out of whatever ingredients remain. Her ability to create something delicious from nothing is such a valuable gift to us. Evie also has a green thumb and can often be found in the backyard, helping to keep the garden alive and the weeds at bay!
  • Melody has been our Wednesday evening volunteer for many years now. As such, she has an essential role in getting our weekly Cobs Bread donation from the storefront to the House. It is a huge job, as there are many many bins full of bread each week that must be picked up, packaged and brought back to CTHW. Because of Melody’s commitment to volunteer, women at CTHW as well as families in our Supportive Transitional Housing are able to access free bread each week.

These are just a few examples of the vital volunteers that give of their time and talents to enhance the lives of women at CTHW. We are so thankful!


Thoughts about Jian Ghomeshi and Violence against Women

I was a huge Jian Ghomeshi fan, and tuned in nightly to listen to Q on CBC. As a fan, I was deeply shocked to learn of the hateful, violent acts he has perpetrated against women over the past decade or more.

But as shocking and sad as that has been, I have been SO incredibly encouraged by the national conversation that has emerged in our newspapers, radio, television and social media. People are having real, honest dialogue about the realities of violence against women. Every day since the Jian Ghomeshi story broke, I have seen coverage of this issue that has far surpassed anything I have seen before. It is terrible that it would take something like this to bring it to the forefront, but I am thanking God that (at least for now) it is part of our national conversation. Thought I would share a few highlights of what I have come across:

  •  George Stromboloupolos shared the Jackson Katz video below to all of his Facebook and Twitter followers. He has tweeted a lot about violence against women as a men’s issue. I was so glad to see that he sent out Dr. Katz’ important message:
  • This piece in the Huffington Post came out a few days after the allegations. It is written by a former crown prosecutor and she lays out in stark detail the realities of what women face when they choose to report rape. “Women know in their bones what the system has in store when they pick up the phone to call 9-1-1”. She nails it:
  • This is an article in the Toronto Star that de-bunks the myths around rape and sexual abuse. It really honours the bravery of the 9 victims who have stepped forward this week.

So often it can feel like the world around us just doesn’t get it! I have felt so encouraged to read the truth about violence against women in black and white.

 Candace Stretch

Assistant Manager 
The Cridge Transition House for Women

DF’s Story: Celebrating Success

brainInury IconDF came to live at Mary Cridge Manor (MCM) just over three years ago. He was homeless, living in a shelter, and had spent the majority of his adult life in and out of prison. He is a recovering alcoholic and addict. When he arrived at MCM, DF took methadone daily under the care of a doctor.

DF settled into the routine of MCM quite quickly; however, initially he seemed reserved and shy and rarely came to the office or attended functions. Although it was somewhat concerning to the team, the protocol was to keep building the trust and relationships in hopes of getting him to engage. What soon became apparent to the team was that DF was not “avoiding doing the work of rehab” but rather he was “celebrating” that he had a home. DF was thrilled beyond belief that he was no longer on the street and declared, “I haven’t had a home in five years.” He was extremely proud of his apartment, the furniture and belongings he had gathered, and simply wanted to enjoy the surroundings he had always longed for, but never had.

In following the “whatever it takes” (WIT) model, the team worked with DF to flesh out his three-year goals and to develop a plan to achieve them. DF’s goals were similar to other client’s (e.g. return to work), but he had one we had yet to encounter: DF wanted to come off methadone. He knew this would be challenging, but he also knew and believed whole-heartedly that it was something he had to do in order to move forward with his life so he could live the way he wanted.

With the dedication of skilled team members, and in consultation with DF’s physician, medical and support agencies, a one-year plan was devised to continually and slowly reduce DF’s methadone until he was no longer taking it. DF worked hard with his physician and team members to complete the process and to find other meaningful ways (e.g. mindfulness) to help him cope day-to-day.

DF works several days a week in the MCM employment project, which consists of building and shipping greeting cards. He is always ready to lend a hand in the card project and with other events happening at MCM. His care and concern for others is second-to-none and he demonstrates every day that anyone can turn their life around when given the supports and services to do so. 

DF is looking forward to the next chapter of his life. He is exploring options to return to school for training as a Community Support Worker. His future goal includes opening a recovery house for addicts. DF has the drive and heart to help others and we have no doubt in his ability to work hard and achieve this goal. 

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!