Executive Director’s Annual Report
“The purpose of education is to learn to die satiated with life,” says Oscar Kwageley. Over the last 15 years, we have had countless lessons on how to die satiated with life. Who have been our mentors? The Neighbours! Our newcomer women challenge our values and transform our perspective everyday. They demonstrate the importance of being engaged in the sacred space of the present moment. They empower us to live life and begin anew.
Not only do the Neighbours profoundly mold our lives. There are also the 125 people who visit every day: passer byers on the street, stressed out professionals needing a break, newcomer families struggling to settle in Winnipeg, courageous, cocaine anonymous addicts, young women trapped in abusive relations, the deaf community who raise the sound of silence, and finally the Secular Franciscans who remind us to be instruments of peace and justice throughout the world.
Not only do these people shape our future, there are the hundreds of donors who surprise, encourage and challenge us to stand in the breech and not falter.
And not only do our donors and benefactors lift us up, there are the 235 volunteers on whose shoulders we stand. Their commitment keeps our doors open and the energy flowing so that we can continue to be a refuge in the heart of the city that welcomes all.
Many delightful experiences over the year have made us smile. A volunteer entered the House of Peace into a draw and “Bingo!” won for us 8 new beds. Neighbours attended cultural events which widened their scope. Pool parties cooled us over the summer and whiteout street parties warmed our hearts in the freezing cold as we roared and cheered on OUR Winnipeg Jets. Then, on March 1, 2019, Sister Huguette moved to 92 Balmoral Street, a large, 104 year-old home with capacity for six women just behind Canada Life. Within a month, three former Neighbours had joined her and just recently two refugees from Ethiopia joined the community. A seed is sown! Who knows what this new shoot will turn out to be.
Our15th Anniversary Year is a gift wrapped in gratitude for all that has been and all that will be. To celebrate our challenging and exciting history and to further our mission of empowering newcomer women to live life and begin anew, we initiated the Crystal Club and Neighbours volunteered to share their personal journeys and experience of the House of Peace at a number of various venues throughout the city.
As we look to the future, we renew our commitment to our Capital Campaign of Relations and we trust that the wisdom of our steadfast Board of Directors will lead us with hope into a future where all may learn to die satiated with life.