Dixon House: A snapshot

Category : Blog , Stories of Dixon

Families come to us in times of crisis. However, when they arrive, they are in a healing place. When women, new staff or volunteers, or other visitors visit Dixon House for the first time, they are often surprised to find that it looks and feels like a home. This is constant.

That said, Dixon House is still a place of transition. Though the women and children share common experiences, and the staff remain steady and reliable, no two families are the same, and the energy and personality of a given set of residents at Dixon House changes from month to month.

What we see often, and especially recently, is exceptional drive and determination in the women who take refuge at Dixon House.

Women have been highly motivated to find housing, secure or maintain employment, or move forward in other ways. Underlying each woman’s different goal is a determination to face the future on her own terms.

Here is a little snapshot of the families who came and went at Dixon House these past few months, with examples of some of the different barriers they face.

Text reading "a snapshot of Dixon Transition House" on a photo of a flower bush against a blue sky

Regaining guardianship of children

Women experiencing violence often must fight a system that is not designed with them and their experience of violence in mind. If anything, the system often fails women.

For example, if a mother is not able to leave an abuser—for multiple reasons, including the real possibility of violent retaliation (women are at most risk when they leave the abuser)—children might be removed from the home, and mothers can lose guardianship.

Removing guardianship from women experiencing abuse, or threatening to remove guardianship, often fails to take into account the intricacies and complexities of domestic violence.

One of the women we served, Ashley, faced this challenge when she arrived at Dixon House.

However, while staying with us, Ashley was able to regain guardianship of her children. Not only is this meaningful in its own right, regaining guardianship has empowered Ashley to be a more confident mother.

Regaining independence after Dixon House

For other families, moving forward meant securing Second Stage Housing and maintaining access to the support they felt they needed to continue their healing journey.

Katherine came to Dixon House pregnant, and worked tirelessly to find independence, financially and legally. At Dixon, she found emotional support from staff while she advocated for herself with different agencies. Now, she and her baby have found a new temporary home at our Second Stage Housing program.

“It’s not easy moving to a new place with a newborn,” she admitted, “but every day I’m grateful and feel blessed to be here.”

Katherine is just as resilient and determined as the day she arrived at Dixon House. She isn’t shy about asking support from staff at Wenda’s Place. She always reaches out to Child Support Worker, Nicole, when she needs help with her baby, and she is diligent in setting up appointments with Women’s Support Worker, Maria, to receive support with her finances, legal documents, or translation.

Starting over and making ends meet

But life can be complicated.

Donors and community members often ask us about the structure of our housing programs. How do women move from transition house to second to third stage to independence? What does that look like?

But sometimes the story isn’t always so straightforward, and even as women heal, they must still set new goals and encounter new challenges, which they face with ever consistent resiliency and strength.

Even working full-time, Diane—a hardworking mother—found that living costs were hard to keep up with.

At Dixon House, she could access food and basic supplies, like gas gift cards so that she could get to work. She successfully secured permanent subsidized housing with help from our staff. Thanks to volunteers at our friends from Shelter Movers, she was able to move. Still, Diane found that she was coming up short on making ends meet.

Through our donations program, Diane was able to acquire furniture, food, and household items such as microwaves, toaster ovens, plates and cutlery. Having these seemingly simple items helps to offset the start up costs of moving to a new home.

“It can be a little embarrassing for me to ask for help, but I knew that I could turn to Dixon,” said Diane. “It isn’t easy to be on my own, but I’m so grateful for Dixon’s continuous support. My kids and I will be grateful for the rest of our lives. What a blessing for my family, and many more families.”

How do we meet the needs of children fleeing violence?

Category : Blog

Women come to Dixon Transition Society seeking shelter and guidance after escaping violence. Many of those women are mothers, and raising a child is hard as it is. Experiencing trauma while raising a child (or being a child) is a different challenge entirely.

How does Dixon support the moms who come through our doors? And what about the children? In coming to Dixon, kids might have to leave behind beloved toys, books, pets, or other family members. More than that, many of the kids who come to Dixon’s facilities have often witnessed violence, if not directly experienced it. Their needs need to be met, too.

We provide services specifically for the children we serve, and we design programs with kids in mind.

Supporting moms supporting kids

Both Dixon House and Wenda’s Place have Child Support Workers on staff who are responsible for supporting mothers, as they support their children through this challenging transition. We can and do help, but it’s important to remember that it’s mom who’s driving the car. We’ve just got the road map.

Children might act out when they first arrive at the House, and this issue can be difficult for moms to address, for a number of complex reasons. The Child Support Worker supports the mom with this process, if she likes, by helping her reset boundaries with her children while engaging in difficult, but respectful, conversations. The Child Support Worker can also help with other practical concerns like making referrals, filling out forms or documentation, and so on.

Letting kids be kids

Children at Dixon can attend workshops and activities like arts and crafts workshops, story time, baking, games, and outdoor activities. The Child Support Worker also helps with homework, and getting enrolled in school or transitioning to a new school.

At Dixon House, there is a playroom full of toys and books for kids to enjoy. At both Dixon House and Wenda’s Place, there is a playground for kids to get their wiggles out. There, they can just be kids, and play with each other.

We make sure that every child has a birthday card and a small gift, so they know that we’re thinking of them and wanting them to feel special on their special day. In the summer, we also offer a great summer program with activities like barbecues, picnics, and field trips to places like Science World, the bowling alley, and many others!

It really does take a village to raise a child. At Dixon, we strive to be that village.

Get involved with Dixon Transition Society this holiday season

Category : Blog

For many of us, the last few months of the year is a time to get together with friends, family, and loved ones. This is true at Dixon, too. Every holiday season, we witness the incredible power of kindness, friendship, and generosity. A number of individuals and community partners reach out to Dixon every year to get involved in some way, and we would love for you to join us!

Here’s an overview of what’s happening this winter and how you can get involved.

Sponsor a family

Do you remember being a kid and waking up Christmas morning before even the crack of dawn, running into the living room to see what Santa had left? The tree is lit, wrapping paper crinkles under little scurrying feet running to grab the next present. It’s magic.

At Dixon, we make sure our Christmas isn’t any different. Our families have experienced a whole array of circumstances in a year, so why not give them at least one day to celebrate provision, love and abundance?

Our holiday sponsorship program has grown so much over the past few years, thanks to a number of dedicated community partners and donors. These folks are “Santa” for the families at Dixon.

As a sponsor, you agree to take on a wish list(s) from a Dixon family (or families!) and play “Santa” for them this holiday season. In late October, we send you the wish lists, and you spend November shopping. We will arrange a time in the first two weeks of December for you to drop off the gifts at our head office. Then, on December 25th, Dixon families experience the magic of a Christmas morning, thanks to you.

Read more about the incredible impact that you, as a holiday sponsor, can have on the women and children at Dixon.

Are you ready to put on your white fur-trimmed red jacket and pants? Become a holiday sponsor.

Support or attend our Annual Christmas Jazz Concert

This always joyous event is happening on Sunday, December 2 at the Sanctuary at Brentwood in Burnaby. Each year we welcome locally renowned artists Miles Black, Glenda Rae, and Brett Wade to put on a fantastically festive show, while we host a silent auction and happy hour with wine and refreshments.

Tickets for the event are on sale now!

All of the funds raised at the event go to Dixon House to help cover things like basic household supplies, food, workshops, and other essential supports. Clients have access to all these supports at no cost.

Dixon will recognize all sponsors on our website and social media, on promotional material and at the event itself. Above all, sponsors play a key role in providing support for moms and children fleeing violence this holiday season.

Find out more about sponsoring Dixon’s 7th Annual Christmas Jazz Concert. 

“Host” a holiday celebration

We do what we can to help Dixon families celebrate the season. One of these ways is putting on small holiday celebrations for our current clients. As much as possible, we also try to include clients who have recently transitioned out of our facilities. Your first holiday season living independently can be hard! We like former clients to know we’re thinking of them, so we invite them to celebrate the season with us.

If you are interested in providing funds for the food and other cheerful touches for these small parties, as well as shopping for the items and potentially helping to set up or serve on the day of, get in touch!

Make a year-end contribution

It seems so obvious, and yet it is so helpful. Your dollars are what make the hopes and dreams of the women and children we serve into reality.

Donate now.

Any questions about getting involved? Do you have an idea about how you want to help out at Dixon this year? Get in touch! We want to hear from you.

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