Beaconsfielder brings women's shelter into 21st century

Broken furniture, dilapidated rooms: Battered women deserve better, said Laura Lacombe-Smith.

It all started with a small baby car seat. When Laura Lacombe-Smith learned that the West Island Women’s Shelter needed new supplies, she decided simply to donate a spare one that she had.

That’s when she discovered just how desperately WIWS needed that sort of contribution. Its emergency shelter room hadn’t been updated since WIWS set it up in 1979.

“As a mother of two children, I couldn’t imagine it: Being on the verge of giving birth and not having any possessions or even a nice [living] space,” explained Lacombe-Smith.

Her heart immediately went out to the women and their families who reside at the shelter and lack basic supplies.

“The West Island Women’s Shelter will help anyone who needs it. It will never turn someone down,” she said.

Lacombe-Smith decided to raise $5,000 for WIWS to enable the association to renovate the rooms. For the women and their families who have just escaped conjugal violence, the money will let the organization modernize and repaint the bedrooms, which will make the shelter much more comfortable and relaxed.

Many of the children who arrive have witnessed serious aggression. They often release bottled up anger once they arrive at the shelter.

“There are broken lamps in the rooms. Replacing them will help families to feel comfortable during their stay,” WIWS director Guylaine Simard told The Suburban. “They need a nice place where they feel welcome and comfortable.”

Lacombe-Smith wants to bring the women shelter into the 21st century. By raising money at her dance party, she hopes to make it an even better place for women to seek safety and a new start.

She has slated the fundraiser for June 12, at Arthur Séguin Chalet, 365 St. Louis, in Pointe Claire. Doors will open at 11:00 a.m. and the fun will continue throughout the day until 4:00 p.m.

The event will include dances and games for the whole family. Several local vendors have also donated prizes that will be raffled off. Tickets will be available at the door.

“Every cent that we collect at the fundraiser will go directly to WIWS and the families who seek safe haven there,” Lacombe-Smith vowed.

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