More than eleven years ago they dreamt of a place where women could escape the ravages of alcoholism. Seeing the crucial need for a womens’ centre for recovery from alcohol and drug addictions, Virginia Giles and Helen Burnham worked to create a safe, healthy environment for women to make their own decisions and leave behind the patterns and life styles of dependency.
In 1989, after countless hours of organizing, fundraising and managing, their dedication helped them overcome society’s denial of alcoholism’s destruction and open the doors to the Avalon Women’s Centre in Vancouver. A second centre in West Vancouver was opened in 1997.
Thanks to the vision and leadership of Virginia Giles and Helen Burnham, the centres have flourished as a safe haven for the newcomer and for lifelong support for second-stage recovery and secondary issues. Treatment centres throughout North America confidently refer recovering alcoholic women to Avalon Women’s Centre for outpatient care. Thousands of women have recovered at Avalon and their recovery has helped many thousands of children and other family members.
Virginia Giles and Helen Burnham have each chosen the work of building Avalon as their passionate lifelong vocation. They have given years of selfless service to the women of their community, making it possible for them to totally change their lives for the better.