It’s been 20 years since the Aimee Beaulieu transition house opened in Nelson as an emergency safe place for women and children who are facing violence.
Opened in May 1995, the transition house was named in memory of Beaulieu and her twin infants, Samantha and David, who were murdered in 1992, a case which remains unsolved. To honour the milestone, staff hosted an open house at the Prestige Lakeside Resort on Wednesday.
Nelson Community Services executive director Rona Park spoke to the crowd, thanking the staff for their dedication and expertise. The facility has eight beds and resources to support women and children leaving violent situations.
“It’s almost always full,” said Park. “That’s sad but it’s the truth. Staff are there 24/7, 365 days of the year. Everyone is a dedicated worker.”
Park and other speakers credited program coordinator Anna Maskerine. Her 20 years of service with “amazing leadership” extended to her role on regional and provincial boards.
Nelson police Sgt. Dino Falcone said “words can’t describe how amazing Anna is. Her diligence, proactiveness in training her staff. She’s a wonderful leader.”
He added her informative presentations to police officers year after year are helpful and professional.
“I have heard women proudly state that they’ve stayed at the transition house and that it changed their life,” he said.
RCMP Staff Sgt. Leanne Tuchscherer echoed the comments about the skilled staff.
“It’s the best support network women could ask for,” she said, encouraging those involved to pat themselves on the back. “One person is a success,” she said.
Representatives from the Nelson Women’s Centre expressed their gratitude to have a safe place to refer clients who may be at risk.
Maskerine was matter-of-fact about the praise.
“A leader looks really good when you have a great team,” she told the Star. “I really do appreciate the work they do because it’s hard work, hearing really impactful stories. It’s important that they know they make a difference.”
And as far as training and expertise, Maskerine focuses on building on their strengths.
The transition house is run by Nelson Community Services and funded by BC Housing. Over 20 years, they have supported 16,000 callers in a time of crisis and 1,650 women and children in Nelson have been sheltered. One woman housed at the shelter wrote: “Staff helped me through the hardest part of my life.”
For more information, visit nelsoncommunityservices.ca, or call the transition house at 250-354-4357 (250-354-HELP) or the regional crisis line at 1-888-353-CARE (2273).