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'Strategic alliance' celebrated in South Surrey

Denise Darrell is quick to joke about the moment she knew Sources Community Resource Centre would be a good fit for the programs and services offered through South Fraser Women's Services Society.

"The clincher for me was when I asked David to define 'feminist' and he was able to," Darrell said in a recent interview, poking fun at Sources' executive director, David Young.

Joking aside, Darrell and Young said a merger between the two organizations – first suggested by Darrell last May, and celebrated publicly on International Women's Day, March 8 – translates to all positives, both for the organizations and the community.

Naming increased capacity of programs, expanded resources and a higher profile for the women's centre as among the benefits, the pair emphasized the decision was neither made lightly nor as a result of financial troubles on the part of the women's centre.

"It wasn't a crisis," Darrell said. "It was a strategic alliance. It's about capacity and how do we serve the community in a better way."

The women's centre, now called Sources Women's Place, has been a registered charity in the South Surrey/White Rock area since 1978, providing free resources, support and counselling for women who are dealing with issues of violence and/or poverty.

Darrell, who is now director of women, seniors and community services for Sources, told attendees of Thursday's event there are still big challenges ahead, and that women need "to actively be involved" in efforts to create a world where all women have equal social and economic rights.

"What is good for women is good for the world," she said.

Rev. Joan McMurtry, who chaired the women's centre board for six years, described the merger as a move that will "enhance and perhaps even reshape the already visionary work of Sources in this community."

The merger is the most recent of three for the White Rock-based Sources, which welcomed Newton Advocacy Group to its fold last June and, in 2010, amalgamated with Gateway Society Services for Persons with Autism.

Young told Peace Arch News last week after announcing the merger that shared values around inclusion, strengthening families and supporting people in being all they can be were key to knowing the latest merger would work.

"We've probably been going in the same direction for years," Young said, adding he hopes in joining forces that the organizations will be able to be even more responsive to the individuals they serve.

Darrell had said that from the outside, aside from a new name on the centre's 15318 20 Ave. home, nothing will appear to have changed.

No jobs have been lost and no programs will be cut as a result, she said. As well, the centre will remain the safe, confidential space for women that it has always been.

At Thursday's launch, Darrell and Young thanked B.C. Lions quarterback Travis Lulay for a $10,000 contribution to Sources Women's Place.

Lulay, whose wife, Kim, volunteers at the centre, had the choice of which charity to award the cash to as a result of being named Gibson's Finest Canadian Football League Most Outstanding Player of the Year last season.

Speaking to Lulay's selection for the award, Gibson's Finest Canadian Whisky marketing manager Carolyn McFarlane said the quarterback "both on and off the field sets an example we can all aspire to."

"Travis is a man that's all heart," she said.

Darrell noted the funds will be used as seed money for a capital campaign aimed at establishing affordable housing for seniors.

The launch also featured Tracy Porteous, of the Ending Violence Association of B.C., who highlighted the Lions' partnership on the Be More than a Bystander program.

 

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