The Warriors Against Violence Society is committed to helping First Nations families unlearn abusive and violent behaviors and reclaim their traditional values of equality, honor and respect for themselves and others. WAV began as a program for abusive aboriginal men. Today, there are services for men, women, families and youth.
The Warriors Against Violence Society (WAVS) currently delivers adult family group sessions based on intervention and prevention of family violence. The organization has been in operation since August, 1998. The groups are held at Kiwassa Neighbourhood house located at 2425 Oxford Street in Vancouver. We meet twice a week. One night we devote to providing tools for change and the other night is for the participants to share their stories and to gain positive feedback and support from others.
Over the years that we have been in operation, we have witnessed several families and individuals that have made changes and are now in healthy relationships, not only in their homes, but on the job, in school and in the community. They have their children back, they have decided to pursue education in the helping field or they are already working in the field. We believe the reason for this is because the participants have recognized the reasons behind their anger and unwanted behaviours and have applied the knowledge gained here.
The participants also benefit from the strong support and encouragement that is provided. WAVS is a unique program in that we follow a model that includes cultural teachings. We also have stepped beyond the “norm” and have combined men and women in a group setting. It has proved to be successful in that each hears from the other about the stories of pain and suffering they encounter in their lives. They learn from one another and understand that the past has a profound affect on behaviour. By examining the pain of the past and applying the tools provided, participants have an opportunity for a better quality of life.
The sessions are open to anyone who is seeking help with unhealthy relationships, whether you are the victim or the abuser. You just have to show up on a Monday or Thursday evening before 6:30. You will not be alone. Everything is kept confidential in the circles. It is a safe place to share.
For employment, it is always recommended that you have some facilitating, counseling, or office administration experience. Most of all, it is suggested that you are working on your own healing journey as well.
Testimonials from three different individuals that utilize the W.A.V.S program:
“When I first started at W.A.V.S I came to support my sister a few times three years ago then I stopped coming. I noticed how it was helping me. So I have been coming for two years now. I am using the tools I have been taught here. I also love being around new people and listen to their stories we are all alike.”
“My experience going to Warriors Against Violence was a lot of different emotions. I didn’t know what to really expect because I never went on my own. the social worker said I need Anger management. In my state of mind I never thought I had a temper. I have use to lash out at the social workers because of all the things they wanted me to do that I didn’t want to do. I was real happy to have my late Uncle Harold use t always go so Mondays I sat beside him to make me feel a little more comfortable. I never went to all the time because I had a big house to go to in the winter. I realized when I stopped going for a while I seen my temper then I would go back because it does help when I talk about whats on my mind or what I am going through. I been going just on Thursdays only and it is helping me out so much now. Coming to Warriors Against Violence is one of the best things that happened to me because I can learn to trust people and get good feedback on certain things. As long as I keep working with the people they are able to show me I will be able to accomplish anything in life for all the new comers that want to try it I would say go for it you will see a lot of new changes you will see a lot of new changes if you really want it to work”.
“To whom it may concern,
I am writing this with hopes that sharing will help open a door that many may feel has been closed for along long time.
I’ve had bad experiences in the past with programs and counseling. I have experienced breach in confidentiality twice and an attempt to shift into religion.
I’ve lugged along and kept to myself all these years, the pain trapped within and nobody to trust for a needed healing journey.
The day came when finally things escalated to such a point, that my desire for healing serenity grows stronger than my issues with programs.
I’ve joined Warriors Against Violence with my 14 year old son there was an immediate impact and our lives shifted right away in to a new direction.
It’s obvious to me I have a lot of work to do with myself, just as it’s obvious that I know everything will work out just fine.
My son already benefits from the program and I know we are on the right path. We have grown closer and the insight given to me from Blake in understanding my son is priceless. It puts things into perspective and I can parent from a different direction
I feel comfortable sharing with the women’s group and opening up is a very difficult challenge as I keep a lot of my stuff private. I’m also well trained to repress my emotions. I’ve only just started the program will end this week.
September will see me ready to do the grind and face my own. I am my own worst enemy at times so it should be interesting to follow the program from beginning to end.
I hope the doors stays open to all, for a long time to come.
I want to thank the facilitators for their time, their energy and to share their gifts”