ABOUT US

TOGETHER OVERCOMING DARKNESS & DESPAIR 

Crime and incarceration are parts of a cycle; the cycle of harm.

Through lived experience, we know that with opportunity and safety, healing from these traumas is possible; as is preventing them.

We offer a safe space where people are able to listen, learn, share and inform.

We provide a connection to information, resources, services and supports.

We accompany and advocate when needed.

We work with others to better the lives of those in need of our services.

All our services are culturally sensitive; with special consideration for Aboriginal people.

We are committed to helping in any way we can.

From our members:

” I became involved in the T.O.D.D support group when my family member entered the criminal justice system. There were many questions and not a lot of answers to be found. The support group offers answers, helps with support and brings people together dealing with the same problems that each person goes through while their family member is away. People from all walks of life are welcomed with open arms and treated with love and respect. Topics range from where to find support from agencies to the government. Each person brings their own ideas and views to the group to help others in their struggle to come to terms with their loss. This support group can save a lot of people from dealing with pain and loneliness by themselves. The more support you can offer the more you can achieve success.”

“I came away from attending the support group feeling a little less alone and a bit wiser on what to expect, going forward. I only wish I had started them at the beginning of this awful journey so I knew what to expect right from the outset of charges being laid.”

From our Founder:

T.O.D.D grew from a families experiences, help received and what is needed. 

For my brother, the first night in prison was dark.
He was encouraged by staff
and prisoners to end his life.
They chanted, yelled obscenities, threatened, kicked walls and doors.
He was alone, ashamed, afraid, consumed by darkness;
full of despair.
We also suffered; 
struggled to comprehend.
Our family took a life.
Viciously.
Violently.
He committed murder,
and
two families were reeling.
One no longer seemed whole
The other no longer felt whole
All of this harm, at the hands of our…
Son
Brother
Nephew
brother
Uncle
Nephew
Cousin
Friend
We knew what we would feel if it was our family
that had been murdered.
In fact, we knew…
what we would do.
Our patriarch declared that he would pull the trigger.
I suggested
rather than testing on animals,
testing on prisoners
would suffice.
But now, 
With our family guilty,
we knew nothing.
We did not know; 
What to do
How to cope
How to carry on
We too,
were consumed
by darkness
and
full of despair.
We felt the need
to show our family, 
our love.
With little knowledge
of where he was,
we drove to the Remand Center.
We got out of our cars
and
we began to wave
and
when it got dark,
we flashed our headlights.
In one of his darkest moments, 
when all seemed hopeless,
he was going to kill himself.
But…
he saw us.
United in purpose
we stood together
and
we waved.
Together,
we flashed our lights
into the darkness.
He waved back.
He flashed his small cell light
into the darkness.
We continued
to wave, 
we continued
to flash our lights.
For forty-nine nights
we continued.
Extended family joined
Friends joined
Strangers joined
Other prisoners joined
They waved back
They too flashed
their small cell lights
into the darkness
Together we are going through darkness
and
together we will overcome
despair.
Our family is alive
because of love.
My brother has said,
that he did not know
that we loved him
until after he
committed murder
For me,
this painful truth is telling.
 
T.O.D.D. stands for
Together Overcoming Darkness & Despair. It is a depiction of the cycle of harm and how by working together it ends. 
With love and gratitude,
Elizabeth (Bizz) Leenheer
 

 

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