As recently as the early 80’s, the Government of Alberta offered no official financial support to women’s shelters. Battered women in the Peace Country had limited options – their needs often unmet and unnoticed.

Then something changed. Grande Prairie’s MLA at the time, Elmer Borstad, did notice – and what he saw compelled him into action. He went on to push for the creation of a local shelter, as well as for a new provincial funding policy. Through dogged determination, he was successful on both fronts.

The immediate result was Croken House, a trial project begun during the summer of 1980. It started with 10 beds and was originally run by students working on government grants. It was a huge step in the right direction. But it wasn’t nearly enough to deal with the full problem. A larger building was needed, along with a broader range of services.

A little over a year later, a new facility was opened. It was given a new name – Odyssey House – which spoke to the journey faced by those breaking from cycles of violence.  Thanks to Elmer’s efforts, and the contributions of countless volunteers, Odyssey House now consists of a 40-bed emergency shelter, and is in the process of adding a second-stage supportive housing apartment building. Odyssey House also offers a significant number of additional support services, to ensure that people have the tools to complete their healing journeys.

We can protect our sisters and sons and daughters. We can help people escape cycles of violence. We can rescue, educate, and empower.

But we can only do so together. Please help.