The first-ever “Looking Out for Number One”—a pro-active workshop for women hosted by the Atikokan Crisis Centre—was the success organizers were hoping for Monday night at the Emo Inn.
“We had a really good response,” enthused ACC executive director Charene Gillies.
Sixteen women showed up at the two-hour workshop to learn more about stress management techniques, nutrition, personal safety, and self-defense.
Gillies said she’s received quite a bit of positive feedback over the phone from women who attended the workshop, prompting the possibility of holding another one sometime in October.
“We would like to take each topic and expand it more in-depth,” she noted, adding some women had shared alternative ideas for future workshops.
“[The ACC] recognizes, of course, the need to provide safe support for women but that support can come in a number of various fashions,” Gillies said.
“One of the big pushes right now from the government level is the prevention side of assault," she added. "Self-health is a form of prevention.”
Advice on personal stress management was given by ACC staff member Cathy Antle while the nutrition session was hosted by Atikokan resident April Gerard.
Antle said the women on hand Monday night were very open-minded about all aspects of stress relief, including meditation, and that was encouraging given what an important part it can play in helping women deal with crisis.
“Meditation can be an invaluable tool in recouping energy in the aftermath of a crisis,” she explained, reiterating that women must learn to respond rather than react.
“It can promote a certain amount of healing and help you to take control," she noted. "That’s very powerful.”
Cst. Mark Boileau, Community Services officer with the Fort Frances OPP, also gave a brief presentation on personal safety, with most of his focus directed at travelling alone on the highway and staying alone in hotels.
“I talked about [good] habits, like locking your door, and what to do if your car breaks down," he said "And about safety items women can purchase like personal alarms, small mag lights, and whistles.”
He also was pleased with the turnout, and hopes to see another of its kind held in the near future.
“It was a good idea, I think, to have a workshop [like this] with different speakers," he said. "There was a good turnout.”