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An Honorary Member is an individual who has made a long-term, outstanding contribution to assisting women and families in abusive situations, and to the activities of the ACWS in particular.
Brenda spent most of her working life as a journalist and educator before taking the helm of the Peace River Regional Women’s Shelter, where she served as their Executive Director for 15 years. She was also founding board member of what is now the Odyssey House Women’s Shelter in Grande Prairie, and has had several other volunteer pursuits, including active involvement with the Peace River Environmental Society, Le Club Francais de la region du lac Cardinal and the Peace River Habitat for Humanity group. She worked part-time as a crisis intervention worker, and taught at the correctional centre. As a journalist, she wrote for the Grande Prairie Daily Herald Tribune for eight years and worked at CBC Radio in Edmonton for two years. Brenda became President of ACWS in 2013 and served as our president for two 2-year terms (2013-2017), successfully transitioning the board to a stronger governance role, while at the same time remaining a strong and fierce advocate for social justice – and in particular for Aboriginal peoples.
Iris Evans has a deep seated commitment to ensuring that women are treated fairly and with respect and that supports are available to children staying in women’s shelters. As Minister of Children’s Services, she broke the log jam that saw shelters go for years without salary increases - raising salaries to provincially contracted shelters to market level in 2002. While in office, Ms. Evans also granted funding to ACWS to provide two years of training for shelter staff and child welfare workers on Children Exposed to Family Violence. Further, in celebration of Alberta’s 100th Anniversary, she supported funding for the ACWS Standing Together book project. Following the Fekete tragedy in Red Deer, she initiated the Premier’s Roundtable on Family Violence and continues to be an strong advocate for women’s shelters and the women and children they serve.
Janet Gladue is retiring as an Executive Director for the women’s shelter on Bigstone Cree First Nation in Wabasca. Janet has worked tirelessly, often under extremely difficult times, while always maintaining her sense of humour and a commitment to the women and children who come through the shelter doors – in spite of the fact that in the many years she has been with the shelter, she has only seen one funding increase. Janet has served on the ACWS board, and she, along with her staff played a leadership role in the Walking the Path Together Project. This project created specialized intervention tools for women and children - including the Danger Assessment Circle. She has also served on the band council. With the opening of their new women’s shelter earlier this year, the band chose to name the shelter after her – using her traditional name, the Neepinise Family Healing Centre. When we broached the honorary membership with her, she wanted to know if this meant more work - but we assured her that she is free to go on her path to retirement, although we really, really want to keep in touch! Thank you Janet for your ongoing commitment to creating a world free from violence and abuse.
Ms. Jansen’s courage to stand up and name the abuse she faced so that “our daughters don’t forgo the political area all together” is an important message. As Minister of Children and Family Services, Minister Jansen was supportive of women’s shelters and ensured that funding was designated for women’s shelters for renovations and repair. She is an excellent role model for any woman or girl who has been subjected to bullying, verbal abuse and threats to her safety. It is for this reason the ACWS board made the decision to award Ms. Jansen an honorary membership in 2016.
Honored in the fall of 2016, Stephen Mandel's commitment to ACWS is demonstrated in many heartfelt ways, none the least of which is his annual outreach to the business community on our behalf. During his tenure as Mayor he moved our Breakfast with the Guys off the planning desk and onto the table. In addition, Mr. Mandel provided strong encouragement to ensure that the City of Edmonton recognized domestic violence in the workplace as a workplace hazard. Further, in 2012, he launched Family Business Connect, which raised more than $330,000 for ACWS over a three year time span, allowing us to increase our public education efforts on violence in the workplace as well as engaging men and boys.