In 1987, a group of neighbours were united by the same cause: the pressing need for a safe haven for abused women and their children in the Parkdale-High Park community. They founded the Parkdale-High Park Rotary Club, and began the hunt for a suitable site for everything they envisioned. In 1991, they were able to secure a rundown former warehouse, and set about the enormous task of transforming the building into a welcoming new home for abused women and their children.
Similar to an old-fashioned barn-raising, hundreds of volunteers from across the city grabbed their tools and came together. Building materials were donated, and carpenters, plumbers and electricians generously volunteered their services. People from all walks of life participated to help in any way they could. Thanks to this incredible community effort, The Redwood welcomed our first family in December 1993. Twenty-five years later, The Redwood has provided crucial emotional, social and practical support that families need to get their lives back on track.
The Redwood: Vision, Mission and Core Values
The Redwood envisions a world where women and children live free from abuse and all other forms of violence and oppression.
The Redwood provides programs and services to support women and children to live and thrive without abuse, homelessness and poverty. We work for social change through learning, collaboration and advocacy.
All women have the right to establish the direction of their lives and the lives of their children.
Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression
The Redwood is actively engaged in removing barriers that limit access within our organization and in our communities.
In accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and aligned with The Redwood’s Anti-Racism, Anti-Oppression Framework, The Redwood’s aim is to meet the standards as outlined in the act in an effort to make the organization accessible to people with disabilities, regardless of the nature of the disability.
The Redwood takes action as allies and advocates for social change that goes beyond supporting individual women and children fleeing abuse, to dismantle the inequity that exists at every level of our society.
The Redwood: What We Do
Provide a Safe Haven
Women’s primary concern when seeking out help from and arriving at The Redwood is safety for themselves and their children. The Redwood recognizes this vital need and mobilizes immediate care to meet all safety and well-being concerns by providing specific services.
For women at The Redwood, their stay in the shelter is not only a time to gain the skills for independent living but also an opportunity to re-build a safe and trusting relationship with their children, themselves and their communities. Women are able to play and learn with their children in a safe environment and participate in weekly women’s programming, allowing them to heal from the violence they have experienced.
A Springboard to a New Life
Following transition from Residential support and programming at the Redwood, a woman and her children must navigate the next steps in their journey towards sustainable housing and food security. This difficult journey is made easier with the ongoing support of Residential Services Counsellors for up to one year following transition into the community. At this stage, women are prepared to explore and realize their personal and collective goals as an individual, as a family and as community members.
Community Outreach Counselors (COC) facilitate a one-year leadership and mentorship program for former clients of The Redwood through the Women on The Move (WOTM) Leadership Program and work with agency partners to ensure engagement of marginalized communities in The Parkdale and Greater Toronto Area.
Learning and Resources
In Canada, one woman every six days is murdered at the hands of her intimate partner or ex-partner. Countless more women are at risk of ongoing physical and emotional harm as a result of violence at the hands of their current or ex-partner. This may include same-sex partners, ex-partners, parents, older children and caregivers.
Placing the safety of women and children at the forefront of all we do at The Redwood led us to make a shift from the traditional ‘risk assessment’ and ‘safety planning’ approach to a Safety Assessment and Risk Management (SARM) model. With this shift we hope to reduce women’s vulnerability and exposure to harm.
There are many organizations that are complementary to the Redwood. They provide vital links for women and children facing a bewildering new landscape. And they offer insight to those who simply want to learn more about the remarkable work being done in their communities. For more information about these organizations, please visit http://www.theredwood.com