Westview Centre4Women (WC4W), formerly known as Women4Women and Survival4Women, is a resource centre created by the women of Queenston for the women of Queenston. At its core, it is a place that we can call our own. The centre fosters a non-judgmental environment that accepts women exactly the way we are, it is a space to meet friends from the past and new friends for the future.
WC4W creates an environment of understanding, friendship and compassion. Women who walk through our doors are invited to be who they are, no expectations attached. Within a community of sisters, women are celebrated and supported in their time of joy, sorrow, or loneliness.
At Westview Centre4Women, everyone is treated with dignity and respect and is appreciated as an equal. Run largely by women from the community, the Centre demonstrates that every individual has something to offer. Whether it is helping in the kitchen, sorting clothes, being a resource of knowledge or a shoulder to cry on, each woman enriches the community. Without the input and help of its members, WC4W would not be the family that it is today.
Westview Centre4Women is a weekly resource centre, where women of all walks of life are welcomed into a safe, open, and affirming environment. We accept each other just the way we are and are encouraged to be ourselves.
Westview Centre4Women is committed to creating an environment where women’s dignity and respect are honoured and our self-esteem is built through unconditional acceptance, friendship, empathy, and compassion.
Westview Centre4Women was established in 2007 under the name, Women4Women. Fulfilling the vision of Erika Klassen, the group was formed out of a desire to meet the needs of the community. At this time, Westview Christian Fellowship had recently moved into the neighbourhood and the church was looking for ways to get involved locally. Inspired by an experience of rummaging through a pile of garage sale clothing beside a woman from a completely different walk of life, Erika realized that their similarities were greater than their differences. They shared a passion for clothes, the common hope for a bargain and, most of all, the need to be recognized and loved. It was in that moment that Erika felt like she could connect to the community and that this sense of togetherness could be developed through a simple clothes swap. Quickly the idea snowballed and within the year over 70 women piled into the basement of Westview to meet Thursday mornings to exchange clothes, drink a cup of coffee, get a haircut and share a meal together. Women4Women was formed.
Right from the start a clear mandate was set: every woman was equal and every woman was encouraged to be herself, no strings attached. The goal was to love and to build community, and as such, there was no pressure to become something you were not. New programs were established and by 2011, the group had grown beyond Thursday mornings and a second program was started: Survival4Women. Jane LaVacca, who first came to Women4Women as a community member, began to take leadership of Survival4Women and began running a weekly Sharing Circle, as a way to further develop the relationships they had begun. Workshops, guest speakers, and activities became more frequent and the demand from the community grew stronger: one day a week, became two days, before eventually becoming three days. By 2013 Women4Women and Survival4Women had grown beyond expectations and the need to merge the two groups became evident. Thanks to support from the community, and a grant from the Niagara Prosperity Initiative, the two groups amalgamated in 2014 and Westview Centre4Women was established.
What originally started as a half day drop in for women, has now become a robust community hub and resource centre where women of all walks of life come together. Our similarities are stronger than our differences and it is this realization that allows us to treat each other with respect, dignity and love. And it is in this environment where true transformation–when we learn to accept our self and others–blossoms.