EKC staff members and local volunteers walk to raise awareness for domestic violence.

EKC staff members and local volunteers walk to raise awareness for domestic violence.

Steps towards safer homes

The EKC put on annual walk to raise funds for programs that provide assistance to women and children in domestic violence situations.

In matters of domestic violence, women and children need access to spaces where they can feel safe and where they can escape the violence. Luckily, those programs exist and the East Kootenay Community Credit Union (EKC) raises funds for the programs annually with their walk for Safe Homes and Kids Count Too.

“We’re really just trying to raise some awareness, we did a barbeque and draw prizes. Our numbers raise quite a bit from year to year,” said Fernie branch organizer Kim Lennox.

This year, attendees and EKC staff met up across the Elk Valley at EKC locations to walk, bike and run in Sparwood, Elkford and Fernie in support of helping out women and children.

Since 2000, the EKC has raised over $47,000 for these two programs to help fund and provide free, confidential services to women and children in domestic violence situations.

The Fernie EKC Branch has been hosting the annual walk for three years and this year, the Elk Valley branches raised over $1,800. In addition, the EKC donated $1,500 rounding out 2014’s total to $3,300 with donations still coming in.

“We run a program to support and [raise] awareness for youth who either witness abuse or see ongoing struggles in the home. Quite often, the young people we work with struggle with anxiety and other identifying feelings,” said Kids Count Too worker Gareth Webb.

In the last year alone they have provided over 1470 shelter nights to women and children fleeing domestic violence, according to a press release.