After many years of effort being put into fundraising, awareness spreading and developing partnerships, the Magdalene House Society is finally able to officially open Magdalene House.
Dave Bouchard, president of the Magdalene House Society, has seen the project from start to finish. He said he was excited to finally be able to open the doors to those who have been made victims of human trafficking.
“We had a big celebration on the day of awareness, February 22nd. We had a ribbon cutting ceremony at our celebration and 160 people were there for that. Right after that we started to train our staff, so for the last couple of weeks our staff have been working on that,” Bouchard said.
“We’ve been noticing the different dynamics of building up a team, which takes a little bit of time. We’re going to probably be taking our first client on April 1st. We’re ready to go – the program is ready, and we feel confident that it’s going to work out. We’re so happy to be at that benchmark right now.”
The Magdalene House will be a 12-month recovery program for people who have been made victims of human trafficking. Through the 12 months, they will learn to develop employment skills, build up their confidence and regain control of their lives.
“They will go through the day with various workshops in addition to any appointments they make. They will learn about building self-worth and some will take a program called ‘Stop the Chaos’, which helps people with addictions learn how to stop the triggers and the cycle of their addiction. They will do that for 30 days and gradually, they will get involved in other things,” Bouchard said.
The program will work with a number of community partnerships and a variety of organizations will come together.
“We are partnering with Catholic Social Services for the counselling portion. We’re partnering with addictions services with Alberta Health for the addictions part. We’re also working with Employment Placement Support Services for employment training that the clients will require. We have a partnership with St. Gabriel online school, for any upgrading our clients may need they can do that right online at the home. We also are building some new partnerships that we haven’t tried before.”
The entire house has been furnished thanks to the kindness of community partners. Bouchard stressed his thanks to the Rotary Downtown Club, the Rotary Centennial Club, the Catholic Women’s League and Mayor Tara Veer for their efforts in furnishing the Magdalene House.
Magdalene House Society has recently hired and trained a new executive assistant to help with the administration for the program, as well as a team leader who will stay in the home and make sure that the programs are being adhered to.
“I just am so filled with gratitude for our community coming behind us and supporting us. As we progress through this and get more people that we’re able to help, we look forward to the ongoing community support because that is important as well. We will eventually need more funds to continue to sustain our program. We just look forward to being able to use what we’ve been given.”