Donor Feature: Keith Metcalfe and Traction Guest

Category : Blog

In the summer of 2019, a team of 45 employees from Traction Guest came to assemble brand new dressers for the units at Wenda’s Place, our Second Stage Housing program. Since then, they’ve also hosted a coding workshop for the kids at Dixon.

“Dixon came into our view on the Traction Guest side of things because we have a belief that we have to impact more than just our shareholders, employees, and customers,” says Keith. “We also want to make an impact on our community, by giving our time, skills, and resources.”

We have been so grateful to have had their support. We sat down with their CEO, Keith Metcalfe, to chat more about Traction Guest’s “Guest for Good” program, their relationship with Dixon, and his experience with and understanding of the terrifying reality of domestic violence.

Traction Guest volunteers after assembling brand new dressers at Wenda’s Place

Keith originally learned about Dixon from a news article on Facebook, announcing Dixon’s approval of funding for our housing project.

The housing project caught his attention. Providing a house, or space, for women fleeing violence is not a theoretical impact on the community: it’s tangible. A person needs housing.

“So that was something simple that made a lot of sense to me,” says Keith. “Then I thought, hey, we’ve got this Guest for Good program, and we want to impact the community. Is [Dixon] something we can get around?”

And that’s exactly what they did.

Team-building events for staff—ping pong and the like—are great and fun, Keith acknowledges, but there’s something really meaningful about contributing to organizations like Dixon.

“When people get to do something tangible and see the result of their work, it’s really gratifying,” says Keith. “It was enjoyable to do something, and be able to think—I can see a room here, I know people live in here, I know they have a dresser, and maybe they didn’t before. There’s something really satisfying about that, given that our work [at Traction Guest] is largely around assembling ideas and giving them to people to use.”

Traction Guest volunteers (Keith on the far right) assembling a dresser at Wenda’s Place

Keith adds that it was also great to rally people around doing volunteer work because and the employees can see the values they talk about being embodied in action.

“I’ve also had some personal exposure to people experiencing domestic violence situations,” shares Keith.

It’s because of that exposure that Keith knows that leaving a domestic violence situation is not so simple. “I think some people hear about these situations and have thoughts like: We’re in a country where people can go and get a job. Why don’t they do that? Why don’t they leave? [But] then you get exposed to it, and you realize there’s emotional, financial, and physical obstacles.”

Keith has seen situations where people don’t have any financial means to leave, on top of having to consider the children involved, even if the person involved knows that they should leave the violent situation.

There is also the problem of the legal system.

“If I ever get into a place where I can revamp [the legal system], I would,” says Keith. “If you’re a woman trying to leave a bad relationship, legally, it can be a weapon against you. I’ve seen it, and it’s ugly. I’ve seen situations where people have to go through multiple lawyers. They’re having a hard time dealing with the legal process because they’re just in a space of protecting themselves, so then the abuser gets the opportunity to use the legal system against them.”

Keith knows that the legal system can be used as a tool to purposefully delay process, and prolong abuse. It seems profoundly unjust: the legal system should be protecting people who are vulnerable.

“And then there’s the emotional side: often, social networks are all tied together. Not only would you be leaving [an abuser], you would be leaving your entire safety net and social network,” adds Keith. “And then there are the physical threats to leaving—and maybe not just to you, but to children. And when you start appreciating that, it’s not that simple. The idea of leaving is terrifying. And maybe not even possible.”

Keith observed that a warm, safe place to go is probably the number one thing in mind for women fleeing domestic violence, and that’s what drove him to donate to Dixon Transition Society in the first place.

“Not having a safe place to go is probably the number one obstacle to leaving—so for me, I thought that it was something I could help with. Abused individuals are often in a state that they just need to get away and decompress, first and foremost, and don’t necessarily want to be around anybody trying to fix them.”

There’s also the benefit of being around women who have been through similar experiences and “come out the other side.”

“Just the idea that it’s possible [to move on] is inspiring, and maybe less hopeless,” Keith says, “so going to an environment where there are people who can say, ‘Hey, I’ve done this. You can, too,’ would be really helpful. And I like that about Dixon.”

We’re so grateful to collaborate with individuals and businesses in our community, including Traction Guest. These community supporters donate valuable time, money, resources, and effort, and these gifts help make Dixon successful. Without you, we would not be able to do the work that we do of supporting women and children as they rebuild their lives after violence, so thank you.

Thank you so much to Keith for taking the time to chat with us about his experiences, and thank you so much to Traction Guest for your continued generosity and support for the women and children we serve!

Five ways you can prevent violence against women

Category : Blog

1. Challenge your beliefs about women and girls

The most important thing you can do to prevent violence against women is to start with yourself and your beliefs.

Think about the ways that your beliefs about women may be furthering oppressive attitudes.  Violence against women stems from patriarchy and the belief that men are entitled to have control over women’s lives, bodies and rights. When women step outside of their designated boundaries, violence is used to control and silence them. 

Think about your beliefs about women’s abilities, autonomy and rights. Do you believe women always have the right to make decisions that are right for them, for their lives and for their bodies, regardless of their age, race, sexual orientation, gender expression, religion, or ability?

If you are a man, are you aware of the power imbalances that exist in social or professional settings? Do you take care to make sure that women’s voices are amplified and heard?

Be conscious of the ways that you can hold yourself accountable and do better.

2. Recognize the importance of consent

Consent comes with true respect for women’s autonomy and bodies. Consent needs to come hand-in-hand with the elimination of the feeling of male entitlement to women’s bodies.

Educate youth to ensure they are aware of their boundaries and others’ boundaries. Teach them about their rights and how to respect others’ bodies, boundaries and rights.

3. Use social media for good

Challenge abusive and degrading language that you see online or within your social circles. Be critical of what you read online.

Follow Dixon on Facebook and Twitter to keep up-to-date in the world of feminism and ending violence against women. You can also subscribe to our newsletter!

4. Be supportive

If women see that their friends, family, or community don’t support survivors, or hold oppressive attitudes towards women, they may think that experiencing violence is something to be ashamed about. They may think that violence enacted on them is their fault. As a result of that shame or fear, women might not speak up about violence they’re experiencing. Only the perpetrator of violence is accountable for their act of violence.

Believe women who share their stories. Offer support if they need it, but remember it is their choice and right to access support and services.

5. Consider giving to an organization that works to end violence against women.

Many organizations that work to end violence against women are not-for-profit and rely heavily on donations to keep their services in place. These organizations are more needed than ever. 

If you are not able to give financially, consider volunteering for or giving an in-kind donation to a worthy organization.

When you support Dixon, you help us provide our excellent support services for women and children fleeing violence, while also helping us raise awareness about the issue and impacts of violence against women. Ensuring that the community is aware of the issue is another way that we work to prevent violence against women.

Find out how to get involved.

Sponsor a Dixon family this Christmas

Category : Blog

Do you remember waking up Christmas morning before dawn, running into the living room to see what Santa had left? The tree is lit. Little feet scurry over crinkling wrapping paper as they run over to grab the next present. There’s an air of fun, love, and giving all around. It’s magical.

At Dixon, we make sure our Christmas isn’t any different.

Our goal is to provide families with the magic, love, and abundance of Christmas morning, complete with pretty packages under a tree.

That’s where you come in!

As a Christmas sponsor, you agree to take on a wish list(s) from a Dixon family (or families!) and play “Santa” for them this holiday season.

If you would like to get involved, please fill out the form below.

Sponsorship Interest Form

Thank you so much for your interest in getting involved with Dixon Transition Society this holiday season! We look forward to being in touch with you.

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