Helping to break cycle of violence in Hope and beyond

Funding will help continue school-based prevention program

The Envision Financial Community Endowment administrated by First West Foundation has provided a $20,838 grant to the Hope & Area Transition Society to help fund their school-based educational initiative: Violence Prevention Program. The program is currently being offered to all school-aged children in the Fraser-Cascade school district, and has been created to help students develop an understanding of the dynamics of family violence, identify healthy and unhealthy relationships, and safely report abuse.

“The First West Foundation profoundly believes that education is a vital element in helping eliminate violence and abuse in our communities,” says Seline Kutan, executive director, First West Foundation. “The Violence Prevention Program is an inspiring example of how we can proactively take steps to help break the cycle of violence before future generations are affected.”

Launched in September 2011 in the Fraser-Cascade school district, the grant is helping fund the nine-month program that will also educate students on a range of topics related to violence and abuse, including bullying, media awareness, and self-esteem. The topics are presented through small and large group discussions, lectures and educational videos, and help students develop a sense of social responsibility as well as tolerance and respect for the ideas and beliefs of others.

“We believe that all children are entitled to protection from abuse, neglect, harm and the threat of harm,” said Gerry Dyble, executive director, Hope & Area Transition Society. “We have developed the Violence Prevention Program because we feel it is a key step in helping children exposed to domestic violence and preventing future violence.”

To date, the Violence Prevention Program has visited seven schools and benefited an estimated 450 students. By the end of the school year in June 2012, the Hope & Area Transition Society’s goal is to have reached an estimated 850 students.

In 2011, in the Envision region, the First West Foundation supported charities and initiatives helping children, families, and youth at risk by donating more than $193,000 from the Envision Financial Community Endowment. Over $36,000 from this endowment was also directed to organizational development projects that strengthen the social services sector to bolster the exceptional work done by non-profits in our communities.