Sixteen men from Moose Jaw will be sleeping outdoors on Nov. 24 to raise awareness about the importance of the Moose Jaw Transition House in providing a warm and safe home for women and children fleeing violence.
The third annual 'Men's Night Out in the Cold' will take place from 10 p.m. on Nov. 24 to 6 a.m. on Nov. 25 in a downtown parking lot. Environment Canada is forecasting a low of minus 9 for Friday night.
"It's about 16 men putting themselves out for the night like a lot of females and kids have to do when they're fleeing a domestic violence scene," said Transition House Board Member Jared Mathieson, who has slept outside each of the first two years. "It's an eye-opener because then we have to go on with our lives the next day without getting any sleep. It's a great cause and it's one night of the year that we can put ourselves out there."
The 'Men's Night Out in the Cold' event has become the biggest fundraiser of the year for Transition House, raising over $30,000 in its first year and more than $50,000 last year.
The Moose Jaw Transition House offers a Shelter Support & Follow-Up Program, Community Outreach Program, Children's Program, Residential Services, and a 24-Hour Crisis Line (phone: 306-693-6511 or text 306-631-0962).
"This is a huge opportunity to raise awareness and really show how amazing our men are in stepping up and saying 'we will not excuse this'," said Transition House Executive Director Jenn Angus. "It supports so many of our programs that are not core funded. Life skills programming for women, our youth mentorship program, our rural outreach, those sorts of things. It also really supports our capital improvements, and things are very expensive now, and being able to replace things like a washing machine is huge for us."
Board member Geoff Anderson says a lot of great men, fathers, and husbands are out there and want to make sure that they can do everything possible to end gender-based violence in our community. Saskatchewan has the highest rate of police-reported domestic violence among all the provinces.
"I used to be one of those kids that was fleeing a house years and years ago as a young kid with my mom and my sister and I wanted to help and take part and join the Transition House about three years ago," he said. "Going out and and spending the night outside is really just to bring awareness for the women and children and people of our community that are fleeing violence and we want to do everything we can to raise awareness, raise some funds so that we continue to help."
Both Anderson and Mathieson will be bundling up again this year along with Moose Jaw Police Staff Sergeant Taylor Elder (representing board member Kevin Pilsworth). Transition House's male board members organized the event.
"We do have a fire going to keep warm," noted Mathieson. "We're not roughing it by any means. We have clothes to keep us warm."
Anderson says spending the night outdoors gives participants the opportunity to reflect and sit around and talk about some of the concerns about what's going on in the community. More than 40 per cent of women have experienced some form of intimate partner violence in their lifetime.
"It's a great way to just have an open and honest conversation with one another as well as certainly meeting members of the community that don't have a place to stay at night," added Anderson. "We're lucky and fortunate enough that this is one night a year and then we get to go home to warm beds. Not everybody has that opportunity."
Nov. 25 is the start of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. It begins with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and ends on December 10th with Human Rights Day. Since 1991, men have worn white ribbons on Nov. 25 as a pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about all forms of gender-based violence and discrimination.
For local business owner John Iatridis, this will be his third time taking part in the event.
"The cause is something that I feel is very important," he said. "It's the one thing I have people reaching out to me that I don't even know very well that are donating to it too because I think everybody realizes. For me, I think the big one is, I live with three girls. It's very important to me. I've seen it growing up with some friends' families and friends and their moms who went through situations where they needed help like that. I was lucky enough to never have that situation. I just hope that my family never does either."
The White Ribbon Campaign, which was started in Canada, is the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end violence against women and girls, promote gender equity, healthy relationships and a new vision of masculinity.
Each of the 16 men represents a day in the 16 days of activism and each has a goal of raising $500 for the Transition House. Cash or cheque donations can be made by contacting the participants listed below. Cheques can be made out to Moose Jaw Transition House.
You can also donate by CLICKING HERE. Be sure to include the participant's name in the optional note section.
For five of the men, this will be their third year participating in the event. Four men are returning for a second year, while seven men will be sleeping outdoors for the first time, including Discover Moose Jaw's Cory Knutt.
White Ribbon 2023 – Men’s Night Out in the Cold
1. Ira Dales – Ifrix Solutions (Year 3)
2. Joel Pinel – Vize Labs (Year 3)
3. Brett Williams – Cypress Paving (Year 3)
4. Kyle Sereda – Medavie Health Services West (Year 3)
5. John Iatridis – The Mad Greek (Year 3)
6. Paul Busse – Moose Jaw Firefighter (Year 2)
7. Alex Carelton – Crushed Can (Year 2)
8. Eric Campbell – Lindale Principal (Year 2)
9. Jamey Logan – Strictly Fences (Year 2)
10. Travis Olson – Royal Bank (Year 1)
11. Eric Kempe – PTW (Year 1)
12. Chris Olfert – JGL ( Year 1)
13. Les Chelles – K+S (Year 1)
14. Kenric Phillips – Regal Electric (Year 1)
15. Cory Knutt- Golden West Broadcasting (Year 1)
16. Dan Chalupiak – Saskatchewan Polytechnic (Year 1)
Representing the Transition House Board:
- Geoff Anderson – Moose Jaw Co-op
- Taylor Elder – Moose Jaw Police (Representing Kevin Pilsworth)
- Jared Mathieson – Saskatchewan Polytechnic
Below are some stats provided by the Moose Jaw Transition House:
- Last year the Moose Jaw Transition House provided direct support to over 1,000 individuals impacted by interpersonal violence through shelter and outreach programs.
- There were over 550 calls and texts made to the crisis line
- 86 children and families were supported through the Children Exposed to Violence Program
- 283 youth and adults received support through community outreach
- 1,200 non-clinical counselling sessions were delivered
- 114 individuals/families received support through the First Family Intervention Rapid Support Team
- Moose Jaw Transition House awarded two $500 scholarships to female students entering into fields where women traditionally faced barriers
- On any given night in Canada, 3,491 women and their 2,724 children sleep in shelters because it isn't safe at home
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