Crystal Brunet-Laughlin is one of the staff people met at the Ishtar Transition Housing Society’s recent open house and anniversary barbecue.

Langley’s transition housing society marks a bittersweet anniversary

Ishtar Transition Society receives help from many in the community.

PHOTO: Crystal Brunet-Laughlin, Judy Fleming, Amanda Greenlay, Rhonda Hildrum and Megan Comey, staff at Ishtar, met with Langley City Mayor Ted Schaffer at the organization’s open house on June 16. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance)

Kids often dream of having a big friend who can protect them.

Having someone in their corner can be particularly important for kids whose families need the services of Ishtar Transition Housing Society.

Such support is just a phone call away thanks for a low-key group called Bikers Against Child Abuse.

“We’re like scary Big Brothers,” joked Maddog, the president of the group that covers an area from Cloverdale to Hope.

The bikers come from all walks of life with a common desire to support children. It can be as simple as chatting, right up to going to court with the kids.

“Our mission is to empower abused children,” he said.

Maddog added that the members, about 50 around the region, don’t offer counselling but just a presence so kids know they have adults who will have their backs.

The group has a helpline (604-807-4340), a website (bcacworld.org), and they works with agencies, such as Ishtar, that protect children.

The group stopped by the Ishtar Transition Housing Society open house and 43rd anniversary barbecue recently to show support.

The society operates two local transition houses for women and their children fleeing violence or abuse.

As well, Ishtar has an array of programs and services. These include a children who witness abuse program, community outreach, drop in groups, referrals, community based victim services programs (relationship violence, child sexual abuse, adult sexual abuse, sexual assault, elder abuse and criminal harassment or stalking), and a stopping the violence counselling program.

“It’s always a bittersweet moment when it comes to Ishtar’s anniversary” said Shabina Jahan-Chaudhary, Ishtar Society’s chairperson and active volunteer.

“On one hand we are extremely proud to remain focused on providing safe places and supportive services for women and children fleeing abusive and violent relationships. On the other hand it is absolutely heartbreaking that there continues to be such high demand for transition houses and other services for women and children fleeing violence,” she said.

Ishtar (shtarsociety.org) could not have reached its 43rd year without community support, said executive director Laurie Parsons.

“We have a generous community that supports this work.”

PHOTO: Members of Bikers Against Violence Against Children, such as Maddog, visited the Ishtar open house and barbecue. He checked out a family tree mural created by children at an Ishtar summer program. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance)

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