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.

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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 pwestpatrick@cridge.org



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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Chef’s Corner: Apple & Celery Turkey Sliders

Fresh, crisp, and fun – what more could you want in a weekend meal? This take on the slider trend makes use of lean ground turkey and the snap of apple and celery.

Apple and Celery Turkey Sliders 

Yield: makes about 20 small patties

  • 1 kg ground turkey mixed
  • 100 ml green onions chopped
  • 200 ml celery minced
  • 2 apples peel on and small diced (any local apple that you like)
  • 45 g butter unsalted
  • 10 ml salt
  • 3 ml white pepper
  • ½ lemon juice and zest
  • ½ bunch parsley minced
  • 2.5 ml ground sage


  • Cook the green onions, celery and apples in butter until tender. Let cool.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and combine.
  • Using a scoop or tablespoon form into patties.
  • Refrigerate approximately two hours (they can also be refrigerated overnight for use the next day).
  • Cook in a skillet using a small amount of butter until golden on both sides.
  • Place on a rack and finish cooking in the oven @ 350 °F until an internal temperature of 74°C or 165°F is reached (use a probe thermometer).
  • Serve on small buns or on their own with a side salad dressed with cranberry mayo (consisting of equal amounts of cranberry sauce and mayo) or your favorite condiment.

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.”

Can we talk about your will?

This week – March 31 through April 5 – has been declared Make A Will Week by the British Columbia Ministry of Justice. Making a will is one of those potentially uncomfortable adult tasks that we often want to avoid, yet having a valid will is the best way to ensure that the people and charities who matter to you will be taken care of when you pass.

Make a Will Week: March 30 - April 5

While the Ministry of Justice website has a considerable list of resources to help you with the important legal and financial considerations in planning your estate, it helps to take a bit of time before you get to those technical issues and consider questions such as:

  • What and who really matters to me?
  • What legacy would be meaningful to leave in my community?
  • After my family is taken care of, what might I leave to charity?
  • Is there anyone (a spouse or other family member) who I should include in answering these questions?

Once you know what you’d like to have happen, it’s important to make sure that the people in your life are aware of your wishes. Here are some suggestions (taken from Forbes Magazine online) on how to make the important questions and potentially difficult conversations about estate planning easier:

  1. Choose (or plan) a quiet moment with few distractions to approach the subject – a Sunday drive, an evening walk, or a quiet moment after dinner, for example.
  2. Open with a story. We have a few about the legacies that have been left in our care, or you may want to talk about what has worked – or not – regarding how people you know have left their estates.
  3. Consider who, besides your spouse, you need to talk to and whether those conversations, for example with adult children, should happen en masse or individually.
  4. Give people who matter to you room for input, and be willing to explain your thinking, values, and decision-making process.
  5. Finally, be sure to confirm your decisions with a neutral third-party professional: your financial advisor, accountant, a notary public, or your lawyer – to ensure that what you intend will be carried out in your estate and that the written document reflects your intentions.
  6. By the way, remember to update your will after important life events (for example. the birth or death of an heir or dependent, a significant change in estate value, a change in marital status)

There are many ways to include charitable giving in this process, and many great reasons to do so. We are happy to provide information on the how, what and why to give, and encourage you, again, always to check  with your estate planning professional on what makes the most sense for your estate.

Approaching estate planning as an assessment of what you value changes the conversation from one that brings up ghoulish spectres to one that focuses on your values, on a Biblical standard of stewardship, and as a legacy-creating gift that provides for what matter to you beyond your life.

If you’d like to talk to someone about bequeathing a gift to The Cridge Center for the Family, please call or email Shannon Whissell: (250) 995-6419 or PlannedGiving@cridge.org

1 Peter 4:10 (NIV) “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

I am wearing orange because …

Since July 2012 staff and clients of The Cridge Centre for the Family have participated in Orange Day, a global initiative of the UN Women, that takes place on the 25th day of each month.

This month, on March 25th, we are taking on the challenge to ‘Orange our community’ and spread the Orange Day message that violence against women and girls has to end. It’s a simple plan that will get better with each and every participant.

If you’d like more information, or want someone to come speak to your organization about Orange Day and anti-violence initiatives, please email Shannon Whissell, Manager of Communication & Fund Development at swhissell @ cridge . org

We’d LOVE for you – our community partners, supporters, and suppliers – to participate. It’s easy to do:

I am wearing orange because ...

Click to read all the messages from staff.

  • Finish the sentence “I am wearing Orange because …” on this template: Orange_Day_COMMUNITY
  • Print it out
  • Take a photo or video of yourself with your sign
  • Upload your photo/video to Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube and tag it with #ORANGEDAY*
  • We will re-share your picture/video while we’re adding our own!

* If you aren’t on social media, email your picture to Shannon and she’ll add it to our streams with whatever message you would like.

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Fun, Family, Food and New Friends

As we mentioned earlier this week, we had the distinct and unusual pleasure on Sunday of celebrating the birthday of Kendrick Sampson, along with his co-workers who are in town filming the TV series “Gracepoint”  (note: this link is to an excellent fan page, not the official website).

Kendrick, Candace and Gyneth get to know one another.

Kendrick, Candace and Gyneth get to know one another.

The afternoon was, in short, wonderful. Respitality client families, cast and crew members, and Cridge leadership mingled in the penthouse City Club Lounge at the Parkside Hotel and Spa. A delicious array of snacks from Crumsby’s and great beverages kept adults and children alike smiling, while party-goers swayed, and occasionally danced, to the jazzy music of Maureen Washington and Karel Roessingh. A dress-up photo booth, face-painting and activities on the rooftop patio helped to keep the children entertained.

Thank you to our sponsors, without whom the party would not have happened!

Thank you to Kendrick for sharing his birthday with us!

And Thank you to everyone who came out for the afternoon to celebrate with us!

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