MANITOUWADGE — An opportunity to get educated about gender-based violence and connect with a vital regional resource is coming to the Manitouwadge next week.
On Tuesday, Marjorie House will be delivering a presentation at the Manitouwadge Learning Centre about domestic violence and shelter services that are available to women and families in their catchment area along the north shore.
The presentation is slated for an hour from 9-10 a.m., with "drop-in" time afterward until 11:30 a.m. for anyone interested in learning more
“We envision a world where all women are safe and equal participants,” said outreach worker Alex Blendeman, who has been with Marjorie House for just over a year and previously worked at a similar shelter in the south.
Marjorie House — which opened in May 1986 as the Lake Superior Northshore Family Resource Centre until a name change in 1991 — serves a large catchment area spanning from Marathon, where the physical shelter is located, across the north shore to Jackfish and Heron Bay North.
They provide temporary shelter and support women in transitioning out of abusive situations.
The outreach team also offers drop-in hours outside of the shelter, across the region. They’re hoping to connect with more agencies to raise awareness and make their services even more accessible.
“We definitely use a feminist framework, anti-oppression framework, anti-racism framework,” said Kat Dumas, who has been with Marjorie House as a frontline and outreach worker for nearly 10 years. “It’s really part of our mission statement that all women are equal participants.”
Participation is something Blendeman and Dumas encourage in anticipation of their upcoming workshop at the Manitouwadge Learning Centre.
“We’ve been doing a lot of workshops this past year,” Blendeman said. “We’ve been going to schools, we’ve been going to health fairs.”
“This workshop specifically is talking about domestic violence and educating the community and what that may look like and some signs. It’s also educating them on Marjorie House itself and who they can get connected to and what we do because I know it can be hard to hear a name but not know how to get in contact with us, so putting a face to Marjorie House can be a little bit easier [for people] to make that first call.”
Dumas added that there are many communities they visit that don’t even realize that they have access to Marjorie House and their services.
The COVID-19 pandemic also impacted the outreach team’s ability to get out into their catchment area.
“Now that we’re in our kind of new normal with COVID we’re really excited to be branching back out into in-person education and workshops,” Dumas said.
This will be the first time Marjorie House hosts a workshop at the Manitouwadge Learning Centre.
Dumas said that they’re excited about the opportunity, not only in the wake of Covid but also to make a connection with another regional organization.
In terms of what else the Marjorie House outreach team has on the docket, Blendeman said that they visited the Pic Mobert Health Fair in the summer and plan on attending Pic Mobert’s Mental Health Awareness Week in December.
Dumas said that although they serve a wide region, no one is left behind or left out.
“We really try to get the women in each community where they need to be,” Dumas said.
“The more people that know they can access Marjorie House, then maybe they can meet supports when they come drop in, they could build support from the shelter staff themselves or maybe just meet familiar faces at the workshops, through other agencies… and then they have two new agencies that are looking to back them. It’s a really great opportunity for community-building, education, and support.”
If you are in need of immediate assistance, please call the crisis line at 807-229-2222.