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AVANTE WOMEN’S CENTER

Barbara Bellingham

MADA

Avante Women’s Centre has been operating since 1997 with the mandate to reach out to English speaking women in the Brome-Missisquoi area. Our services include monthly workshops and coffee breaks, popular education programs and special activities aimed at encouraging women to expand their limits of experience. In a largely rural community, Avante offers an opportunity to meet other women, and discuss issues that concern them, where they can feel comfortable socializing in their own language. We are here to help women reach their fullest potential, empowering themselves with the tools to become all they wish to be. Avante also draws attention to action for social change to improve the lives of women worldwide.

Vol13no2_oct_nov_2015_25Our Centre is open weekdays from 9:30 – 4pm and Tuesdays until 8pm. All women are welcome for whatever reason, including counselling, referrals, research assistance or just a friendly visit. We are located at 15, rue Du Pont, Bedford but we also have outreach programs in Knowlton and Cowansville once a month. We can be reached at (450)248-0530, avantegayl@bellnet.ca or through our website www.avantewomenscentre.org. We also have a Facebook page to keep you “in the know”.

Fall is the time to renew annual memberships, and we’re always glad to see new faces. At our Open House in September we unveiled all the new programs and activities scheduled for the next 3 months. We are continuing with the regular activities, like Coffee Breaks in Bedford and Knowlton, weekly open til 8, Soup Café and Health Matters in Cowansville, but we also have some new, exciting programs , like “Jog Your Mind” in November and a course on building self-confidence. Newsletters and brochures can be picked up at our centre any time with all the details.

Every five years, since the year 2000, women have participated in a global social movement called the World March of Women. After a very successful march in 1995 by Quebec women called the March for Bread and Roses, the idea to mobilize women around the world formulated into a movement that now includes over 150 countries. The World March of Women draws attention to the causes of poverty and violence experienced by women, and directs action to make political, economic and social change worldwide. Avante will be joining thousands of women from across Quebec for a 2 km walk in Trois-Rivières on Saturday, October 17th, and we invite you to join us. Witness the “yarn bombing” of the city ; creations of knitted squares that were brought in from 43 women’s centres across Quebec, and above all, help us have our voices heard. Transportation is available but is very limited ; please call us for more information. (450)248-0530.

October is also Women’s History month, and we would like to draw your attention to the fact that if it had not been for the courage and determination of women in our past, demanding to be treated with equal respect and privilege, we would not have the rights we take for granted now, including the right to vote. And in fact, Quebec women could not vote for their provincial leader until as late as 1940 ! Since women count for more than half our population, on behalf of our strong ancestors, we encourage you to exercise this right on October 19th.

Avante is very pleased with our growing affiliations with other community organizations and we work diligently to partner with projects whenever we can. We are very active within our district and often act as a liaison between the English community and the public health care system. We welcome any inquiries from other organizations and committees to help with promoting programs and services offered to the English speaking community.

For several years, we have partnered with Butler Elementary school for the Girl’s World project, which is basically the girls from Butler teaming up with Avante volunteers for weekly cooking classes. This has been a very successful program and we hope to continue again this year. Volunteers play a major role with the success of our programs, and Avante is very grateful for the support we get from them. Our membership bank usually surpasses 200 by the end of each year, and it is safe to say we are familiar with every one of them because each member contributes something unique and special towards the functioning of our services. More than half our members are recognized each year for the roles they play volunteering, and we are proud of these contributions because it indicates that women are coming forward, breaking their isolation and apprehension to help others, which is an important part of our mandate. What immediately comes to mind is the continued efforts of our volunteers to make the majority of pies offered at the Missisquoi Museum’s Apple Pie Festival.

Being a member of Avante is a sure-fire way of keeping up to date with what is new and available in our community. We are a dependable resource for finding out information you may be seeking, and always, always an active listening ear if there’s something you need to get off your mind. But membership is not compulsory, we welcome women from anywhere, any time.

Call, email, visit our website and Facebook page, or just drop in to learn more about Avante Women’s Center.

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