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On Wednesday, November 6, 2013 the place to be for an evening of good food and fellowship was the Fort Garry Hotel. The Gala opened with remarks by Norm Velnes, chair of the Alpha House Board, followed by greetings from the provincial government delivered by the Hon. Peter Bjornson. Joanne Instance was honored with a special recognition award for her many years of spearheading fundraising and of organizing volunteer activities to assist the residents of the House.

The success of the evening was enhanced by donations for the rainbow auction and by financial contributions from community businesses, organizations and individuals. The Fort Garry Hotel also helped to sponsor the evening. Alpha House thanks all for their generosity.

Two inspirational speakers highlighted the after-dinner program. A former resident of Alpha House spoke movingly of how Alpha House’s support helped her to overcome the trauma of abuse and to gain the confidence to launch a new life. Margo Goodhand, former editor of the Winnipeg Free Press, shared her research for a forthcoming book, Runaway Wives and Rogue Feminists.

Written with her sister Joyce, who worked in a Swift Current women’s shelter, this book will chronicle the struggles of those women who founded the first five shelters in Canada in 1973. At that time, 45% of crimes perpetrated against women took place in the home. Society then, however, viewed what was going on behind closed doors as a personal issue between a man and his wife.

Together Margo and Joyce tracked down the unsung heroines who took on herculean task of raising consciousness and opening eyes to domestic abuse. Digging up endless “court and cop statistics”, these “rabble rousers” , as they were regarded, attempted to convinced politicians (almost exclusively male) that governments had a moral obligation to offer refuge to abused women - and a chance for a better life for their children.

These founders recalled, with humour, the learning curve they went through - from setting up the Houses and their kitchen schedules, scavenging for dishes, furniture, and above all, grants. They recounted tales of their first clients, including one who packed up and went back home - six times. Most poignantly they remembered the children of the battered women whom they sheltered.

These groundbreaking community activists, themselves often young and penniless, lived on little and sometimes slept on couches in the shelters’ offices. Their legacy is that today there are more than 440 shelters and transition houses in Canada, of which one is Alpha House in Winnipeg.


Fort Garry Hotel        Assiniboine Park Conservatory
Lakewood Florists & Gifts Inn at the Forks
Birchwood Auto Murdoch Management
Tim Hortons Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra
Gilbert & Sullivan Soc. Canadian Footwear
Nygard Rainbow Stage
Sunset Gourmet Geppettos
Winnipeg Goldeyes Academy Lanes
The Keg Winnipeg Jets
South Beach Casino Great Finds
Can Rad Beauty Cruise Vacations
Ramada Inn Lisa Designer Jewels
Norwex Thompson Dorfman Sweatman 
Winnipeg Museum U N Luggage
Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre Pegasus Publications
Prairie Theatre Ce Soir
McNalley Robinson Provici Cosmetics
Winnipeg Symphony Young Nails
Perth Dry Cleaners Super Auto Centre
Macyk’s Florists Nygard
Windows of Fashion Attitude Makeup
Prairie Theatre Exchange One Link Mortgage
Childrens Museum Alpha House Project Board
Norwood Hotel Angles Hair Design
Pembina Hair  Angie Rennpferd
Melody Crane Karen Goodman Wong
Sandra Lopez Sandra Lopez
Leslie Dessler DonnaLeeies                                              

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