The Observer presents Hometown Heroes, a feature celebrating unsung heroes, individuals who go above and beyond for their community.
“Colleen is a mother, grandmother and foster parent who is a strong advocate, mentor and voice for the rights of youth and children in our community and abroad,” said SAFE Society executive director Jane Shirley.
Shirley said Making is a counsellor/coordinator for PEACE and outreach positions for the SAFE Society.
“Colleen has and continues to touch so many lives in a very positive way, which often goes unrecognized. This is a time to show her community appreciation,” said Shirley.
“I have always been in the field in some capacity,” Making said.
“I’ve worked the crisis line and suicide prevention line, but I was always pulled back into just being a counsellor.”
The provincial Prevention, Education, Advocacy, Counselling and Empowerment (PEACE) Program replaced the former Children Who Witness Abuse program that supports children and youth from three to 18 who had experienced domestic violence.
The government funds part of the program and the local community makes up the rest, with community grants and donations.
“We’re pretty blessed with great agencies, collaboration and support,” she said. “My other work has made me see how fortunate we are with the community we have.”
The program provides a safe space where children can express their feelings.
“Children are just as impacted by domestic violence as adults, either by seeing or experiencing domestic abuse,” said Making.
“Children are my clients and I work for them. They are people too and they deserve to be respected as human beings.”
Making said needs have increased, particularly as we live in a world that tolerates violence, the isolation imposed by COVID and the fact children are exposed to a lot of pressure.
“The more nurturing and support we have as a child, the more we grow healthy adults,” she said, maintaining kids have so much adult content to process now.
Making sees as many as 15 children per week individually or in groups, in her office and in schools.
And there is more. Shirley said Making also works with adults 19 and over, who are often struggling with complex issues such as mental health, addictions and abuse.
“Colleen not only helps children/youth who are exposed to violence but offers programs, groups and workshops on prevention of dating violence, how to keep safe on the Internet and how to say “No,” and supports parents, foster parents, teachers and many more,” said Shirley.
If you know someone who is a Hometown Hero, please send their name, email, phone number and a brief write-up about them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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