This past March, Executive Director for Candace House, Cecilly Hildebrand, took part in The Winnipeg Foundation's Fast Pitch program. As the Showcase Winner, Candace House received a $10,000 grant.
Watch and read her winning pitch.
Its early winter in Winnipeg.
A young, vibrant child,
still giggling after a playful snow wash from her crush,
is on her way home from school.
Only she never makes it.
Seven weeks later her frozen body is found in a shed not far from her home.
It’s twenty-five years before a suspect is identified in the murder of Candace Derksen.
Her mom and dad, Cliff and Wilma,
are hurled into the gut wrenching, can’t-breathe, can’t-think trauma of a murder trial.
Joining the hundreds of families that have been before,
And the hundreds more to come.
I am Cecilly Hildebrand,
the Executive Director of Candace House,
a new and first of its kind organization,
and the vision of Wilma Derksen.
Candace House supports victims of violent crime,
And is working to create a home-like day refuge during the court process.
Imagine being forced to relive your worst nightmare in excruciating detail.
You spend weeks in cold, bare hallways and uncomfortable courtroom seats,
the person accused of murdering your child 10 feet away, staring at you.
During breaks, there’s no safe place for you to cry, be sick, laugh, just be human.
The media watch you in the halls.
Defence counsel eats lunch beside you in the cafeteria.
Supporters for the accused follow you into the washroom.
Imagine being so exhausted from grieving and stress,
you fall asleep on a bench outside the courtroom.
Only to be awoke and told you aren’t allowed to be there.
Candace House recently got its first physical space, only one block from the law courts.
Construction is underway to transform this empty shell, and with your help, we’re going to fill it.
With your $10,000 we will purchase household furnishings that will provide much needed comfort and care.
And here’s what we mean.
Imagine being Art, whose daughter was murdered.
During lunch, Art now walks the two minutes to Candace House,
where he is greeted with a hug, and the smell of freshly baked cookies.
He watches Paw Patrol on TV with his grandson and takes a nap on the couch before heading back to court.
Or imagine being Raven, whose sister was murdered.
When testimony becomes too horrific,
Candace House has a place for her to smudge,
And a private washroom where she can freshen up.
While there is nothing that can take away the pain of losing a loved one,
Soon, families will no longer have to wander.
Candace House will offer love and compassion,
By providing comfort and refuge.
And we will do this together.
Find out more about the Fast Pitch program.