Airdrie P.O.W.E.R.

Story by Stacie Gaetz


Photos by Sergei Belski

Spring 2020

“When you live in a violent home, you are on high alert all the time. At the shelter, you can take a deep breath and know you are safe.”

Women in Airdrie who are fleeing domestic violence have a safe haven for themselves and their children thanks to Airdrie P.O.W.E.R. (Protecting Our Women with Emergency Resources).

The non-profit organization recently opened the city’s first women’s day shelter and it is providing valuable resources that will help women take steps to leave a violent situation.

“We want to give women in the community everything they need to live happy, healthy, successful lives without living in fear,” says Crystal Boys, president and founder of Airdrie P.OW.E.R.

“We provide a safe space where they can bring their children and just be. This allows women to come in and make plans so when it comes time to leave, none of the barriers – like not being able to afford a lawyer or not having a job – will stand in their way.

“When you live in a violent home, you are on high alert all the time. At the shelter, you can take a deep breath and know you are safe.”

Airdrie P.O.W.E.R. has been in operation for about five years and has raised between $80,000 and $90,000 in that time. The volunteer-run shelter, located at 309 Main Street, was originally scheduled to open in November but the opening was delayed until early this year due to a number of construction delays.


Every step of the way

The organization, made up of seven board members, is working toward building an overnight shelter in the community but board members didn’t want to wait the years it would take to raise the funds needed. They started with a day centre, so the women of Airdrie had somewhere to go in the meantime.

“Only five per cent of women who flee domestic violence use an overnight shelter,” says Boys, who is a domestic violence survivor.

“There are a number of reasons for this, but we wanted to provide all of the services of an overnight shelter and then some.”

She added that the pet-friendly shelter will help women fleeing violence in an emergency situation who need a place to stay.

“If they are in immediate danger, we are there for them every step of the way. We will be there until they find friends or family who can help, we get them a hotel, or an overnight shelter in Calgary or area can take them in,” says Boys.

“We stay with them as long as they need us. Once you enlist our help, you are never alone in this again.”


Community collaboration

The organization will be the recipient of a portion of the ticket sales and the silent auction for the Amazing Airdrie Women Awards (AAWA).

“The AAWAs has donated to us for the past three years and it could not be more … well, amazing!” says Boys.

“We couldn’t do what we do without the help of the community. Airdrie has paid for this shelter 100 per cent and we have no idea how to express our gratitude.”

The AAWAs have donated a total of $1,200 to Airdrie P.O.W.E.R. to date.

The money will be used to fund programming that the organization provides to local women including financial planning, resume building, legal aid and education programs.


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