Pubdate: Fri, 05 Apr 2002
Source: Abbotsford Times (CN BC)
Copyright: 2002 The Abbotsford Times
Fax: (604) 854-1140
Author: Darla Rasmussen


I am appalled at how our community members will turn their heads and hearts 
at other community members who need help. There is an organization in 
Vancouver that recognized the lack of services for prostitutes and drug 
users and did something about it, because the people who run this 
organization do care for the people in their community.

Prostitution Alternatives Counselling Education, run by former prostitutes, 
opened March 10, 1994. PACE has been building live-in housing, and 
providing a caring, non-judgmental environment, as well as a health network 
(PHN) for former prostitutes and drug users in their community.

They also provide outreach/crisis intervention, support, advocacy, 
education, job training, prevention and research services to help these 
individuals live a safe and healthy new lifestyle.

Abbotsford could use a programme like this. Without pushing our prostitutes 
and drug users to the edge of town, there are many opportunities in the 
community to start a project like PACE. To cut costs, give University 
College of the Fraser Valley students the opportunity to be involved in the 
program through employment, volunteer hours, or practicum experience. This 
could count toward credits for UCFV programs in social services, substance 
abuse, nursing, child and youth care, or other human service related 
programs. I know I would be interested.

It's not just about the safety of those who are already safe; its also 
about the safety of drug users and prostitutes, to keep them away from 
pimps, drugs and beatings. The problem of prostitution and drug use in the 
community will make a positive turn around when the politicians and people 
come together to fix the problem at hand. It's time for people to stop the 
ridicule, judgment, and narrow-mindedness.

For the majority of the community who read and believe in the Bible, they 
need to be reminded that it does not matter if these women are sinners in 
your eyes, all are loved in the eyes of God.

These women need the community and the community needs them. Without each 
other we are not complete.

Darla Rasmussen, Abbotsford
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