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$100 cheques a pleasant surprise for Bridges for Women participants

Bridges for Women Society gave out 90 gift certificates to clients last year and expects to distribute the same number this holiday season, with help from the Times Colonist Christmas Fund.
Michelle F., with two-year-old son Mason, received a $100 gift certificate last year during the holidays, thanks to the Times Colonist Christmas Fund. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

A group of women receiving support from the Bridges for Women Society got a happy surprise during last year’s holiday season when they were given $100 gift certificates, thanks to contributions from the Times Colonist Christmas Fund.

Michelle F., one of 14 graduates of the charity’s pre-employment support program, said the gift certificate made a “world of difference” to her and her son, who was one at that time.

“I used it to buy some ­groceries and had enough left over to buy some toys for my son. The gift certificate was so helpful for our group of mostly moms, especially around ­Christmas. It was like an extra bit of help.”

Bridges for Women Society, which offers free pre-employment training programs for women affected by trauma, violence or abuse, gave out a total of 90 gift certificates to clients last year and expects to distribute the same number this holiday season.

This year’s Times Colonist Christmas Fund campaign has received $447,687.40 in donations from 1,687 donors, including $3,389.40 from Saturday’s Tuba Christmas event. The fundraising goal is $1 million.

“We are very grateful at Bridges for the support from the Times Colonist Christmas Fund,” said Patricia Rawson, executive director of Bridges for Women Society.

“We want to thank all the people who donated to the fund — your contributions provide a shining light at a tough time of the year.”

Bridges for Women’s programs, along with mentorship and one-on-one support, help clients build their skills and confidence and create brighter futures through academic upgrading.

Services and programs are open to all women, non-binary and two-spirit people who identify as part of the women’s community.

The organization has certified clinical counsellors who offer trauma-informed counselling, with up to 10 free sessions available for eligible clients.

For more information, go to

[email protected]

How to donate to the Times Colonist Christmas Fund

Donate online. Go to ­, which will take you to our Canada Helps page. It is open 24 hours a day and provides an immediate tax receipt.

Donate by mail. Send a cheque to the Times Colonist ­Christmas Fund, 201-655 Tyee Road, ­Victoria, B.C. V9A 6X5.

Donate by phone. Use your credit card by phoning ­250-995-4438 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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