FSJ Women's Centre takes on new look, men's program

The Fort St. John's Women Resource Centre recently unveiled a number of new changes to its building, including $13,000 worth of renovations.

And in another, potentially even more helpful change, it's also planning to offer services to men in need every Wednesday.

Sherri Williams, the Fort St. John's Women's Resource Society's executive director, said that when she arrived to the centre a year ago, "a lot of [the building] wasn't painted, no flooring, and a lot of old furniture."

Williams wanted to change the situation, and began a variety of fundraising efforts. Those funds, combined with a $10,000 cheque from the Sunrise Rotary Club, allowed the centre to complete its renovations.

A group of men staying at the Salvation Army shelter across the street also offered to help. One of them, an electrician, helped install lighting, and others helped paint the building and install flooring.

"(Both the centre and the Salvation Army) provide services to pretty much the same clients," said Williams. "Captain Jim (Vanderheyden) volunteered them."

While Jim left after a day or so, the men stayed for two weeks, providing some of the work.

The new changes have not gone unnoticed by the women who use the service, according to Williams.

"We've actually already heard a lot of people saying it's more welcoming, more friendly, and they just feel more at home here, more appreciated," she said.

Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman, who toured the building last week, was also impressed.

"The new renovations are gorgeous," she said. "It's certainly an enrichment to a society that has already been providing a lot of services to the community. It's very welcoming and a brighter place to work."

The renovation also inspired another change. Williams said that some of the men who came over to work spoke about the lack of services that are offered to needy men in the community.

Williams said that while they did offer some help to men who sought it in the past, as they didn't want to turn away people looking for help, they have decided to shift their services by offering services to men specifically on Wednesdays.

These will be similar services to those the Society offers to women, such as free clothing, household items and food.

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