COMING in 2024
What seems like many moons ago now, Knina House started out in my brain as being a women’s shelter for women experiencing domestic violence.
I’m often asked the question as to whether I was a victim of domestic violence which is why this has become my purpose in life. So I’ll address the elephant in the room and answer that question for you. No, I wasn’t.
But.... my ex-husband was a bully. He was a smooth talker, and a big guy at 6’4” compared to my perfect height of 5'2" :-) I never saw the bully in him until our marriage started to fall apart and I saw what it “could be like”. I experienced first hand the intimidation and fear tactics and watched the desire for power emerge. I strongly believe in my heart that if I didn’t have any of the advantages that I had, the upbringing that shaped my life, the support system of my family and friends, and the ability to stand on my own two feet financially, that my story would have ended up differently. I likely would have swallowed it all, hidden the fear, believed it was all my fault and remained in that toxic relationship. Scarier still, I would have raised my daughter in that environment.
There is my initial reason to start Knina House. To provide the strength to women and a soft place to land if they didn’t have the advantages, support system and resources that I did. I know how incredibly fortunate I am that I was able to leave that situation before it escalated. Not everyone has that ability, but I want to change it so that more women are able to make that choice and change not only their lives, but those of their children.
Since those initial visions Knina House has since morphed into something even bigger.
My daughter is now 23 years old. As I watched some of her friends, fellow students and the girls in her generation struggle in their homes and in school and in relationships, I could so clearly see that they would be headed into destructive relationships. I saw it as clear as day and felt that I could see what their future is going to look like based upon the path that they are on now. And so I thought to myself - What if I could stop the pattern earlier, rather than after a woman has already experienced the violence? That was my thought. And that’s why the scope has expanded to include education and support for at-risk female youth.
And then another morph of the vision. My daughter is also an animal advocate. She is likely going to end up being some kind of animal activist saving every single animal in distress in the world. For many years, as the vision of Knina House was discussed in our house, she would dig up articles on the benefits of animals to people experiencing trauma. Discussions around the dinner table would have subtle hints about the healing powers of animals. (Actually, not so subtle). And so the third facet of Knina House was born. Bringing rescue dogs into Knina House. As some of you may know, we are a Boxer family, as well as being past foster parents through Boxer Rescue Ontario, which is also where our last furbaby, Godfrey, was from. One of the struggles for so many rescues, including Boxer Rescue is to find homes for the older dogs. So we’ve decided to take all of the Senior Boxers that are so hard to place in Foster and adoptive homes, and bring them all together under our roof.
And now in 2023 a third morph of this vision. In 2021, I moved out of Southwestern Ontario to New Brunswick. Our first project will be local to me and so when I moved, so did the first location of Knina House. Over the last two years, as I've gotten to learn my new neighbourhoods and understand the struggles in this area, I've learned that a first level women's shelter is not what is needed in Charlotte County. Fundy Region Transition House has that covered. What is needed is second and third level transition housing. Once they have left the immediate shelter, where can they go? Where can they still receive the support that they need while starting to put their lives back together and move into the next violence and abuse free chapter of their lives.
So that’s the vision. Building a community. Purchasing acres of land which would allow us to build Tiny Homes and Mobile Homes in a co-operative environment. Allowing women to have autonomy over their surroundings, yet be in a supportive environment as they begin to rebuild their lives.
There will be a Community Hub, which will be Knina House. Community Gardens. A barn filled with animals. Senior boxers that will be living their best lives.
It's big and scary. But it's also become my driving purpose in everything that I want to do personally and professionally. So I sincerely hope that you will help us to make it a reality and follow along in our journey.