With over 80,000 members, the Catholic Women’s League (CWL) is the largest women’s organization in Canada and 2020 marks its 100th anniversary. The CWL is founded on three pillars: faith, service, and social justice. IWIN is a perfect fit under all three pillars.
I’m Worth It Now
Sexual exploitation can happen anywhere and to anyone’s child.
I’m Worth It Now (IWIN) is an initiative by the Catholic Women’s League at St. Michael’s which seeks to assist human trafficking survivors by providing them with backpacks and raising awareness about this important topic.
Each backpack contains personal care products, change of clothing, and a personal note for local survivors of human trafficking. A bracelet is also enclosed, with a matching bracelet being given to a prayer warrior to keep the recipient close to their hearts in prayer. These backpacks are then distributed through Calgary Police Service personnel and the RESET Society of Calgary.
Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we are still in operation and we are following all the safety protocols in order to continue being a compassionate advocate for trafficking survivors.
We are inspired to help more survivors through this initiative and will be expanding the program to other areas of Canada — but we need your help.
You can contribute by helping us offset the cost of each backpack — we welcome monetary donations through the various ways listed in the How You Can Help section below.
- Human Trafficking and Exploitation in Calgary: Understanding the Realities | Det. Paul Rubner, Calgary Police Service
- Backpacks Give Hope to Trafficing Survivors
- Life-changing Backpacks | Faithfully/Diocese of Calgary
How you can help
Through your monetary donations, you can help us offset the cost of each backpack as well as all the personal care items and change of clothing that each bag contains.
Follow us on social media to stay updated:
“IWIN will supply 100-200 backpacks per year in Calgary alone.”
If you have any questions, you can reach the CWL using the form below.
“Why does everything have to pass through IWIN?”
IWIN has spent a great deal of time learning about the needs of survivors and building trusting relationships with the agencies that provide wrap-around services to survivors. These agencies have very stringent standards and procedures that must be followed when providing items to survivors.
Whenever interacting with people who are vulnerable, we must remember that our view of their situation may not be accurate. We may not understand that certain items may re-traumatize them. For example, a hotel size shampoo may re-traumatize someone who was trafficked within a hotel. We want the backpack recipients to feel supported and not judged. All backpacks, therefore, must be assembled with an IWIN team member who will ensure all requirements are being fulfilled and can zip-tie the backpack closed and affix the appropriate label.
Although the program is only currently running in Calgary, we are supporting survivors from across Canada as in many instances they are brought to Calgary to attend the wrap-around programming offered here. Once the program in Calgary is running, there may be a need to expand this program to other locations across Canada. The relationships IWIN has formed with the Catholic Women’s League and the Calgary Police Service will facilitate future expansion to other locations, while ensuring the same quality of program is offered everywhere. In keeping with the mission of CWL, IWIN aims to fill a need for God and Canada without the hindrance of boundaries.
The IWIN team has completed the necessary Diocesan requirements for working with vulnerable people. The team has formed a trusting working relationship with the Calgary Police Service and the wrap-around agencies in Calgary who assist human trafficking survivors. The Calgary Police Service will help IWIN form relationships with other police jurisdictions and other wrap-around agencies. IWIN will work with other CWL Diocesans who will facilitate with their CWL councils. The CWL is called to play the “John the Baptist” role of preparing the path for Police Services.
“Can anyone help assemble backpacks?”
Any CWL member can join the IWIN Executive Team. Remember that you do not have to be Catholic to join CWL, but you must be a female. Please send us an email at email@example.com if you are interested in a leadership role.
If you are not interested in a leadership role but would like to participate in backpack assembly days, please send us an email. We would prefer people 14+ because of the sensitive nature of our topic and project. Backpacks will be checked, sealed and labeled by an IWIN team member.a
We want to involve all of CWL but need an executive team “IWIN” to ensure consistency, quality, to take advantage of bulk pricing and to continue to grow our police force relationships.
Under our current privacy laws, it is very difficult to share personal information. Stories have to be kept fairly lacking in details to ensure this privacy, especially in situations where there may be active court cases. We were very fortunate that we had a survivor who was willing to speak to us at our February 22 launch event. When she shared her story, it was evident from her body language, pauses to maintain composure, and her tone of voice that sharing her story was extremely painful. Few people have the courage to share their personal stories of trauma.
“Some of the statistics in the presentations from the February 22 launch event are from 2015: could the presentations have more up to date information?”
Accurate current statistics are not always available — they take time to compile & may not be available due to our current privacy laws.
IWIN accepts financial donations by a variety of means: If you would like to receive a tax receipt, you can write a cheque, made out to St. Michael Catholic Community with IWIN in the memo, or by making a donation online at saintmichael.ca/iwininitiative. If you do not require a tax receipt, you can write a cheque directly to IWIN or send an e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make a financial donation to IWIN, attend a backpack assembly day and/or pray.
IWIN will also be reaching out to businesses to reduce the costs of the backpacks. If you know of a business that may be interested in forming a partnership with IWIN please email us at email@example.com.
“Will you be offering another information session like the February 22 launch event?”
While we do not have any other events currently scheduled, this may be something that we can organize in the future.
If this is something you would be interested in, please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. There will also be an information table at the Diocesan Convention May 1 & 2, 2020 at Delta South Calgary.
“Q: How can I ask a question that has not been included in this Q&A?”
Email us at email@example.com.