SOWINS provides lifeline for those in need

I find myself humbled and grateful that I have found such tremendous support through South Okanagan Women In Need Society in Penticton.

I find myself humbled and grateful that I have found such tremendous support through South Okanagan Women In Need Society in Penticton.

My husband of 23 years literally dropped me at my sister’s house here in Penticton and took off. He had lost his job! I was in shock. My family was not equipped to emotionally or financially handle such an extreme situation as mine was. My sister and her friends mentioned SOWINS as a place to start getting help with legal aid, emotional support and help me get back on my feet.

On Aug. 3, I went to SOWINS in such a desperate state, I could go on no longer! I needed help. I wept my way to their office and told them my story. They were able to place me in a safe situation, never leaving my side.

But, as I was coming to terms with my new surroundings, I realized that there were others in Transition House. Many women with young children and single women, I being the oldest of everyone. I was shocked and a little frightened with my new family. All the horrific stories of their situations and mine brought us together in one house. The counsellors were always there to help us when we needed it. Guiding and helping us all fill in mountains of paperwork, especially for the women with children. Most importantly, catching us when we fell into a mountain of tears, being so overwhelmed with our own disappointments and disasters that we had to face and somehow get through.

I spent three weeks at their Transition House. And indeed, with great kindness, guidance and time, I am getting back on my feet. I spent my 63rd birthday at SOWINS/Transition House. The staff arranged a birthday cake, candles and so much love and support, it will stay with me forever!

I may have been thrown under the bus, but the counsellors picked me up and glued me back together. What an amazing staff!

May my story encourage other women of abuse to seek help. SOWINS is there for you in times of need to get you in the right direction and will continue to help as long as you need them. They gave me food, shelter and many, many Kleenexes and cups of tea!

With many heartfelt thanks to my family, friends, WINGS and SOWINS and the staff at Transition House for embracing me.

Most importantly, I am sharing my story to tell you how important it is to support this organization. I come from a middle-class working family, worked for Air Canada, sold real estate, travelled the world. And yet I was one step away from a shelter.

With their help, I now have a job, an apartment, dishes, clothes and a bike that I ride to and from work. At 63 I am starting over again. It is not easy. One of my questions to my counsellors was: how do I get from here to there? “Put one foot in front of the other and keep going!”

Please support SOWINS and WINGS. Without them I had no place to go, no hope, no money, no job. I was not prepared for this to happen in my life. Who is?

Barbara Wachter

Penticton