Pennies aid in keeping kids safe

Mary Manning Centre one of five charities helped by Pennies for Presents this year

Mary Manning Board directors Jessica Van der Veen (left) and Christine Willes play with a model courtroom

While families around the region are getting ready to celebrate the holiday season, some young residents are just learning to celebrate a life free from sexual abuse, thanks to the efforts of the Mary Manning Centre, Child Abuse Prevention and Counselling Society of Greater Victoria.

“We see more than 200 children a year and, for such a small agency, that’s a lot of children,” says Sandy Bryce, executive director of the centre.

“We’re offering these kids hope again, after something occurred that never should have happened to them.”

The centre, which turned 26 this year, was picked as one of Black Press’ charities for the annual Pennies for Presents campaign, and remains B.C.’s largest child sexual abuse intervention program.

The Mary Manning Centre has a partnership with a victims’ services workers that allows the centre to serve not just children of sexual abuse, but also domestic violence and general abuse as part of its new mandate.

“We know that domestic violence has a huge impact on children, and being able to serve these children under one umbrella means that we can reduce the trauma they have to endure further when bouncing from one agency to the next,” says Bryce.

“Walking through that door can be one of the hardest parts.”

The centre is funded in part by the provincial government and in part by community donations, and was just awarded a 2011 Service Provider Excellence Award by the Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond Representative for Children and Youth organization.

Now, the Mary Manning Centre is seeking provincial accreditation, meaning the centre will be recognized for its level of outstanding service in the community.

Still, provincial cuts and thin donations this year have left staff and volunteers working double-time trying to secure funding, while the small Cook Street office is packed with file folders, kids toys and waiting chairs. The group is still waiting to find a permanent space big enough to serve its clientele.

“There are still so many people out there who need our services but don’t know we even exist,” says Mary Manning board director Jessica Van der Veen.

“We see about 200 new clients each year, but the statistics are showing us that number should be threefold.”

Despite numbers from Statistics Canada, which say one in four girls and one in six boys will experience sexual assault before age 18, getting the word out about services remains one of the centre’s biggest challenges.

The Mary Manning Centre teams up closely with the Victoria Women’s Sexual Assault Centre, but most clientele – age three to 19 – come through police, Crown counsel or social services referrals, though some do come to the centre directly.

“There are still a lot of stigmas we have to deal with in 2011, but what we try to help people understand is that these kids are not damaged goods. These are our children, they’ve survived a bump in the road, and they will recover,” says Van der Veen.

“Big things happen to little lives. We have to be here to help each other.”

Learn more at marymanning.com.

•••

How you can help

Cash donations can be dropped off at Black Press head office, 818 Broughton St. and at the Goldstream News Gazette, 117-777 Goldstream Ave. in Langford.

For a list of businesses that are accepting donations, watch for notices in the Victoria News and Victoria News Daily.

Schools interested in participating can call 250-381-3633 ext. 269 or email kslavin@saanichnews.com.

 

 

Just Posted

13-year-old Langford boy missing

West Shore RCMP say Alex Meickle was likely headed to Tofino

B.C. declares state of emergency as wildfires rage

More than 3,300 firefighters are battling more than 500 fires

Greater Victoria-based digital crisis line sees spike in chats

Service allows youth to chat with volunteers through instant messaging services, text message

UVic chemist claims international prize for ‘reversible’ preservative

University of Victoria green chemist and civil engineer Heather Buckley led a… Continue reading

Impaired driver crashes into Victoria police vehicle, injures officer

Cook Street collision occured in the early morning hours of Tuesday

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

Saanich mayor and council will usher in new year with a pay cut

Saanich council to wait and see what other cities do with federal changes to tax exemption

Thieves steal supplies, tools and juice boxes from B.C. summer camp

‘Take a moment to think about who you stole from,’ says Burns Bog Society’s Mark Robertson

Women-owned businesses generate $68,000 less revenue than men’s: survey

When Dionne Laslo-Baker sought a bank loan to expand her burgeoning organic popsicle and freezies business in 2014, she was “shocked” by the feedback she received from one of the bankers.

Hedley frontman’s alleged sex offences case returns to court

Jacob Hoggard faces three sexual assault-related charges will return to a Toronto courtroom this morning.

Climate change likely to cause more sewage leaks, says environment minister

More than one hundred municipal wastewater systems did not report how much raw sewage overflowed from their pipes in 2017.

Priests molested 1,000 children in Pennsylvania, report says

The “real number” of abused children and abusive priests might be higher since some secret church records were lost and some victims never came forward.

Most Read