Many years ago, the United Church received a bequest from the Estate of Reginald W. Watkins. A portion of the money was to be used for “work with the economically disadvantaged populations”. The Watkins Fund has made many grants over the years and in 2014 granted $2,500 to Coverdale Courtwork Society in Halifax.
Coverdale Courtwork Society is a charity that receives support from Maritime Conference and provides vital programming and support services, offering opportunities that promote healing and positive change for adult women incarcerated in both Central Nova Correctional Facility and Nova Institution for Women, as well as the young women incarcerated at the Nova Scotia Youth Centre.
The grant in 2014 helped to support a program called Beyond Trauma that is designed for women who have been abused. Research shows that 92% of women and girls involved in the criminal justice system have experience trauma and abuse.
The Beyond Trauma program: increases the women’s understanding of trauma, decreases the symptoms of trauma, decreases depression and increases self-efficacy (one’s belief in one’s ability to succeed in specific situations or accomplish a task).
The results are powerful as you can tell from this story of one program participant:
One woman during her baseline interview said that she wanted to come to the program but she was sure it wouldn’t help her because she was not ‘normal’ and her life always turned out bad.
She did come to the program and in the beginning sessions mostly sat and observed. Just before mid-point in the program she became very involved in the discussion and began to share some horrific events that had happened in her life. She wept so deeply that we thought that she would stop breathing.
When she recovered, we spoke and she said:
“I thought I was so different and very bad but now sitting in this group I realize that other woman have experienced some very bad things also. These woman are wonderful women and I am a good person too”
When this woman finally realized the impact of trauma on her life she also realized that she truly was a good person. She saw an opportunity to move forward making positive changes. She is now involved in other programs at Coverdale. She still struggles but now she has hope!
We are so very grateful to the late Reginald Watkins whose generosity and compassion enabled us to support such amazing work.