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Giving Tuesday 2023: Celebrating 5 Years of Compassion, Comfort, and Courage

Candace House, a first-of-its-kind cornerstone of support for family survivors of homicide, is proud to celebrate five years of impactful service and mark the successful conclusion of our $1 million expansion campaign.

Cecilly Hildebrand, Executive Director

Cecilly Hildebrand, Executive Director of Candace House, expressed her excitement about this special occasion, stating, "We are thrilled to celebrate the remarkable success of Candace House. This journey has been defined by courage, compassion, resilience, and an unwavering commitment to providing refuge and care to those who have faced unimaginable violence and loss."

Over the past five years, Candace House has provided hope, refuge, and wrap-around care, to over 1300 individuals in connection to over 140 homicides in collaboration with community partners.

Carla Loeppky, Board Chair

The fifth-anniversary celebration is not only a reflection on the courage of those impacted by violence but also a triumph of community support. Carla Loeppky, Candace House board chair, shared her enthusiasm, stating, "It took courage from our supporters five years ago when together we dreamed, planned, and then opened the doors to this first-of-its-kind place. And five short years later, our community has done it again.”

Corrine Chief (right) and her husband Jay McKay (left), family survivors of homicide

"I feel welcomed, understood, and loved," Corinne Chief shared of her experience with Candace House, first connecting with the organization shortly after her brother was murdered in November 2021. "[We] were surprised by all [that] was being offered... a beautiful place that felt like home, all the snacks and food we wanted, medicines that were required for smudging, access to elders, and kind staff who made us feel safe and cared for."

Candace House is proud to announce the successful conclusion of its $1 million expansion campaign, a testament to the generosity of the community and supporters. The expansion campaign has seen the organization grow from 1500 square feet to 3600 square feet, empowering them to better meet the needs of those navigating the aftermath of homicide.

Wilma Derksen, Candace House visionary, also shared her thoughts. “Candace House has exceeded our highest expectations. We are so proud of Cecilly and her team, the board, and all those who contribute to Candace House and what they have done over the years. I think they’ve accomplished something unique and fantastic and amazing. It takes courage to fulfill a dream and they have done it beautifully.”

Aligned with Giving Tuesday, this event also served as a platform to raise awareness about the vital work Candace House undertakes daily in collaboration with partners.

Matt Wiebe, Minister of Justice for Manitoba Government

New Manitoba Minister of Justice, Matt Wiebe, and community partner, Heidi Spence, Director of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Liaison Unit with Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Inc., also spoke at our event, underlining the importance of our partnerships in delivering trauma-informed support for victims and survivors of crime as they navigate the justice system.

Heidi Spence, Director of MKO’s Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls (MMIWG) Liaison Unit

Spence also spoke about the impact Candace House provides for those who support victims, survivors, and families.

Just like debriefing with families at the end of a long day, Spence reflected on how community partners use Candace House to debrief, regroup, and take care of one another. "We can take care of families and each other, all in one place."

Hildebrand also emphasized the pressing and growing need for their services, stating, "The statistics tell a stark story, with homicide rates having nearly doubled in the past five years in comparison to the five years prior. Yet after these past few years, after this last weekend, we don’t need statistics to tell us how profound the violence is, and how devastating its impact on families and our community.”

If you want to provide support for Candace House, please donate today.

Corinne Chief and Jay McKay with Candace House Staff; Taylor Kerelluke (Director of Operations), Danielle Gzebb (Victim Support Program Coordinator), Amber Neufeld (Victim & Family Support Liaison), and Cecilly Hildebrand (Executive Director).


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