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Organization Spotlight: WISH Drop-in Centre Society

wishAt DP World, we are strongly focused on social responsibility and improving the lives of those in our community. As part of this initiative, we are dedicated to promoting organizations that contribute to the greater good. We believe that when more businesses do their part, the entire community benefits.

There are many wonderful organizations that are working to make life for those who live in the Vancouver area a better place. In today’s post, we are spotlighting WISH Drop-in Centre Society.

The Organization

WISH, Women’s Information Safe Haven, seeks to improve the health, safety and well-being of women who are involved in Vancouver’s street-based sex trade. Women served are often victims of homelessness, substance abuse, mental health issues, chronic unemployment and poverty.

The charity was founded in 1984 for men and women as a drop-in centre at St. Michael’s Anglican Church. After a brief closing, it re-opened in 1986 for women only. In 1991 WISH was registered as a nonprofit, and in 1998 it received charitable status with Revenue Canada. Over the years, WISH spread in popularity among women needing support, and participation grew. At that time, women were going missing from the DTES at alarming rates and the need for a place where women could find support, assistance and allies, was urgent. In September, 2008, the current facility opened its doors and has since been serving 500-600 individual women each year. 

The Mission

WISH believes every woman deserves opportunities that allow her to make positive choices regarding her health and future, provided in a safe, judgment-free zone. Some of the WISH staff members are driven on a personal level, but all are passionate about women’s equality and social justice. Violence against women exists at an institutional and systemic level, and everyone at WISH is motivated to provide women resources that can help them establish a safe and fulfilling life.

The Programmes

  • As a drop-in overnight shelter, WISH offers hot meals, medical attention, employment services and supportive worker programming ranging from low to high-barrier employment.
  • WISH has teamed up with Capilano University to help women with educational and professional goals, such as finishing high school, résumé building, and pursuing employment. Through the services offered by WISH, women in the shelter are given the opportunity to transition out of their current lifestyle if they so choose.
  • WISH partners with the local police department, housing and legal advocates, and social workers to provide various social services to further enable a transition or continued support for women in need.
  • Besides the shelter, WISH also operates a Mobile Access Project Van (the MAP Van), which serves as an overnight outreach unit working to reach women on the streets when their need is greatest. The MAP Van is primarily used to offer information and access to harm reduction supplies.

How Your Organization Can Help

To provide ongoing services to local women, WISH continues to require funding to ensure it can remain in operation. It relies heavily on the financial donations of local businesses and more heavily on volunteer hours of those willing to donate their time, especially for administrative functions. If you are interested in volunteering with WISH or offering your professional, administrative services, click here.

Donations ranging from clothing and books to makeup for the women are welcomed. If interested in donating to WISH, check out the WISH list for current most-needed items, or stay up to date with the organization by following them on Twitter or Facebook.

To make a financial contribution, click here. Businesses interested in a financial donation can give to a specific programme that is best aligned with their own mission or philosophies.

What not to do – Some (not all) women are safe and happy in the sex industry. It’s important to remember that while donating from a rescuer mentality is well-intentioned, it can be perceived as judgment or criticism, and WISH strives to help in other ways.

The best way to find out what kind of help is needed, is simply to ask! For more information on WISH or how to get involved, visit the website at wish-vancouver.net or call 604-669-WISH (9474).