Advocacy. What is it? How do we do it? How do we decide what we do?

What has CFUW Stratford been doing this year?

Violence Against Women

Our speaker, Jasmine Clark has been the Executive Director at  Optimism Place Women’s Shelter and Support Services since 2017, and has worked in the Violence Against Women Sector across Huron and Perth Counties since 2010.

Since beginning her career as a student at Optimism Place, she’s been committed to working in the field of supporting survivors of intimate partner violence. Jasmine has held a variety of positions in violence against women shelters including frontline, outreach, sexual assault counselling and Leadership roles.

Her talk at our meeting will include a brief history of how Optimism Place came to be as well as specific services provided. She will tell the story behind the need for their recent expansion.

CFUW’s advocacy group focussed on Violence Against Women is asking how members can recognize the signs of abuse and what to do in response. There will be time for your questions and for discussion.

Optimism Place is Perth County’s only women’s shelter. Since 1983, it has been a safe refuge for women and children experiencing domestic violence.

Optimism Place provides secure, protective housing for up to 8 weeks for women with or without children. They also offer a wide range of free and confidential support services and programs. They are here to help women of every age, race, religion and income level. They understand and want to help.

Their staff will help a woman to take the necessary steps towards rebuilding a life and creating a better future. If children are involved, help will be provided for them too. Their support services are still available even if a woman is not staying at the shelter.

Climate Change

Sheila Clarke, chair of this committee will outline the group’s 3 projects over this past year: IDLE-WISE! pollinator protection and reducing the use of plastic.

Stratford resident Sheila Clarke is a retired teacher/librarian, originally from Chicago. At the University of Illinois she earned a BSc in Zoology. After living in an English country house while teaching overseas, she realized that nature was her thing. For the next
50 years, she pursued the study of ecology, the study of the interaction of all living things, including humans. During those years she belonged to Pollution Probe, led nature clubs, taught classes, worked on pesticides,and started a lifelong side career of environmental advocacy. Because ecology and climate are so connected, she has a passionate interest in climate change.

Sheila is a member of Canadian Federation of University Women, Climate Momentum, and Perth County Sustainability.