A Letter from our Executive Director
Our 2020-2021 year came to a close on March 31, 2021. You can’t talk about this past year without talking about the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it’s had on our agency and our clients. It truly was the event that changed everything for everyone. In reflecting back on the year, I have to say that as an agency we were very lucky. Our agreements with the Ministry of Justice, Government of Saskatchewan were not impacted, and our other funders were generous in letting us adapt their funding to meet our new needs. In fact, all of our funders continuously asked how they could help us. The community that supports survivors and our work responded by tripling the donation dollars we normally receive to ensure that we could continue to support survivors of sexualized violence.
Our staff got right to work at the beginning of the pandemic. We shifted to telephone counselling and slowly opened ourselves up when safe to those who could not access our services over the telephone. Our counsellors recorded a series of Virtual Group Sessions so survivors of sexualized violence could continue to access those learnings and tools safely and at their convenience. We held our Trauma-Informed Virtual Yoga for survivors over Zoom this year. In between COVID-19 waves we were able to offer some in-person groups which survivors were missing.
We stopped, planned, and then created a public education program which was delivered completely virtually. We created a seasonal Online Learning Workshop Series in which we provided webinars on a variety of topics, including hosting community agencies and justice partners also working in the field of sexualized violence. The webinar attendance exceeded our expectations. We created, piloted, and are now consistently offering a training called Supporting Survivors of Sexualized Violence in which we provide information and training for professionals in our community on how to support survivors who disclose sexual violence and refer them to the resources that are available in our community.
We learned a lot!!! COVID-19 forced us to think outside the box about how we deliver services and with that came some positive learnings. Our job now is to evaluate what worked, what added to our ability to serve clients and provide public education, and work those things into our service delivery moving forward as a better, more effective agency. At the time of writing this, we are not done with COVID-19, but with daily case numbers falling and vaccine rates increasing, we can see the end on the horizon.
Overall, I am ending this fiscal year feeling grateful and want to pass on some important thanks.
I want to acknowledge our staff who worked tirelessly through what was a very challenging year. They pulled together as a team and showed each other kindness and grace throughout the year when we each reached the “I can’t do this anymore” place at different times. They responded with a positive creative attitude that allowed us to keep moving forward and making things work. They came along with me at every one of the now seven stages of pandemic restrictions we implemented, working together to care for clients and for each other.
I want to thank the survivors we serve who not once complained about the restrictions or changes in how our counselling services were delivered. They treated us with the kindness and gratitude we have always experienced from them. We know that many survivors experience anxiety, panic, and depression (which are very common trauma impacts) and that they had to really dig deep to work on recovering during this year. Their strength and resilience was a daily source of inspiration.
I also want to thank our community for the incredible financial support we received this year. The sharp increase in donations we received was unexpected and very much appreciated especially because we know that many in our community struggled financially this past year.
I want to thank the professionals, partner agencies, and community members who took time to attend our public education webinars and training sessions. Your continued interest in learning about sexualized violence and the needs of survivors confirms that we are part of a larger supportive community who is working together for change.
Last, but not least, I need to thank our SSAIC Board of Directors for 2020-2021. Thank-you for your faith in us and in our decisions this past year. Thank-you also for checking in on me and the staff throughout the year; you are one talented, generous group and I felt lucky to have you with me this year.
To illustrate the work we’ve accomplished this year with all of this support, please view our 2020-2021 Report on our Year. We’ve pulled together all of our proudest achievements and given you a little more insight into the people behind SSAIC. It is our personalized thank-you to you, so enjoy.
Faye Davis, Executive Director of SSAIC