Haliburton couple donates $10K to YWCA
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | February 9, 2017|
A bathroom stall at the Haliburton School of Art and Design (HSAD) has contributed to a local woman and her husband donating $10,000 in matching funds to the YWCA Peterborough Haliburton.
Susan Hay explains that when she was doing a course at the college, she noticed a poster on the back of a washroom door. It had a phone number that women could call if they were experiencing domestic violence.
“It really caused me to raise my eyebrows,” Hay said in an interview with The Highlander. “I thought there must be a lot of domestic violence in Haliburton County.”
The retired nurse, avid painter and self-described passionate environmentalist added, “And I thought to myself, I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be hit by my spouse.”
Hay, who moved full-time to Haliburton with her husband Keith about a year ago, said she has led a sheltered and privileged life. She had a father who was a “kind, loving and gentle person” and her husband is the same.
“It’s beyond my comprehension to live with a man who abuses me physically and verbally.”
Around Christmastime, she read a story in the paper about the YWCA Peterborough Haliburton being forced to close its Minden’s women’s and children’s shelter for five months over 2015-2016 due to a lack of funding. She read that the organization needed $30,000 to continue present programming beyond 2016-2017.
“It just popped off the page at me, that it was something that really needed to be done,” Hay said.
She and Keith, who always donate money to charities around Christmas, sat down and had a talk.
The result was an offer of $10,000 to be matched dollar-for-dollar by community members.
“I just thought it was terrible that women that were being abused didn’t have an option. Maybe they had a car, maybe they didn’t. If there wasn’t a shelter in the community, that would probably take away the option of getting away from the abuse. And I just thought that was awful,” Hay said.
She said it was Keith’s idea to do the matching funds.
“That always encourages me to give more. And we wanted to give enough to ensure the project succeeds,” Hay said.
The YWCA is soliciting one-time funding to maintain its operations while it uses government money to work on a long-term sustainability plan.
“We wanted to try to encourage others to reach into their pockets and make sure the project succeeds,” Hay said.
Jennifer Cureton, the director of philanthropy and communications for the YWCA, said they are kicking off a matching fundraising campaign on Feb. 12. She said people can donate online (designating Haliburton County); by telephone; by holding an event; and via forms in the paper that can be mailed in. They are also planning a tag day for March 11 and are looking for volunteers and storefronts.
“Every single dollar makes a difference. If you can give us a loonie at tag days, $10 when you call or $100 when normally you would give us $50 … it all doubles to help women and children. And it all stays local,” Cureton said.
As one of the clients anonymously said, “I will be forever grateful to this program. Without the kind, caring staff going out of their way to help us I wouldn’t feel the confidence and strength to move forward. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
To donate: The phone number is 705-286-1942 and the website is www.ywcapeterborough.org.
LISA GERVAIS is the editor for The Highlander.