Tier 3 I.T. Solutions is committed to supporting Riseup in their mission to provide counselling and support services to Albertan’s that are affected by intimate partner violence. Tier 3 provides Riseup with 1,200 sq feet of rent and utility free space to operate from.

Jesse Hill had an opportunity to discuss this partnership and the role that Riseup Society of Alberta plays in our community with Erna Carter, the Executive Director.

Here is the transcript:

Jesse Hill:
Hello, and thank you for pressing play. My name is Jesse Hill and I’m the owner and president of Tier 3 I.T. Solutions. I’m here today with Erna Carter, the Executive Director of the Riseup Society of Alberta. For those of you who don’t know at Tier 3 I.T. giving back and supporting our community is really important to us. And the way that we’ve done that over the last number of years is to align ourselves with a couple of really key non-profits and Riseup Society is one of those groups that we work with.
Our partnership with them came about four or five years ago when they were putting out a call looking for donations because they were having some financial challenges. And we decided to think outside of the box a little bit, we reached out to them and found out that they were in fact paying rent and utilities in the space that they were at.
We had some empty space available in our building. So we offered to renovate the space and build it out for them and then gave them the premises rent and utility free for the last couple of years, so that they can continue to support women and men who are escaping intimate partner violence within our community. What I wanted to do today was introduce Erna and Riseup so we could learn a little bit more about them and the partnership that that they have with Tier 3 that we’re able to do because of the support of our customers.

Erna Carter:
Thank you. And as I told you before, if it wasn’t for Tier 3 Riseup probably would not exist because we were at the point of needing to close our doors. It is really important to have free rent or rent at least taken care of. So I don’t have to fundraise for that portion of our budget. And we have a large budget, even on top of that, because we have professional counselors, we have a registered psychologist and a registered psychotherapist who provide our counseling services. And we see last year we provided over a thousand hours of counseling service to women and men who are struggling with the effects of intimate partner violence. And when I talk about intimate partner violence, many people think that just means physical abuse. Intimate partner violence includes psychological, emotional, financial, and of course, physical abuse, but much of the abuse people come to us with is not the physical abuse.
I’ve had a lady recently on the phone and she just said, you know, I don’t know if I can come there cause I haven’t been hit, but I honestly can’t take it anymore. The constant criticism and niggling and control. And that’s what goes on in these relationships that really, really impact. So yes, having a space and a very comfortable space cause you built it for us. So we have like two counseling offices and our group room and it’s just a great space to be in. And it’s comfortable. We have an alarm door. So it’s safe. People need to feel about feel comfortable and not worried about somebody coming in here that can’t get in. Yeah. So that’s really important.

Jesse Hill:
Yeah. And you know I get asked often, what it is about Riseup and why do we do these things in our community? And I, I remember reading a number of years ago, an article that basically said that societies, the strongest, highest performing societies treat their women in particular, but their women and their children the best. And so when I hear about the kinds of stories that, that Riseup deals with, I realized that we have a ways to go. There are unfortunately people in, what I think is one of the greatest places in the world to live, who are really struggling and they need support. One of the key things is that Riseup does differently than other counseling and support. What types of services do you offer and what is your cost structure?

Erna Carter:
Yes, we provide free counseling for the first six sessions. Then we ask people to contribute if they are able. And we don’t necessarily ask them to contribute at a psychologist rate, but to contribute to maintaining our operation and many people do. And those that can’t, it doesn’t mean they can’t get service. We provide service regardless, but we do ask people to try and contribute, cause that helps us serve more people and kind of maintain the operation. And we have people that if they can’t donate money, oftentimes they might have gotten a gift certificate for someone and they’ll buy office supplies like toilet, paper and Kleenex and those kinds of things. And those things all help. Cause then we’re not paying for that out of our buck,

Jesse Hill:
And that’s, that’s how ultimately Riseup came to, to live in our building. When the call for donations came and we looked at it and we thought, you know, we could write a check and we could, send $2,000 or $5,000 or $10,000. But the thing about a onetime donation like that is that it gets used up and it goes away. And so part of the reason we wanted to do this video was to highlight how we help our community, but also to encourage you, if you’re watching to think of ways that are out of the box to support charities that are close to you. I think often about all of these businesses in our area who win business through RFPs and through grants and research and development. And I think what would the value be to someone like Riseup, if a business came along and offered to write a grant application for you.

Erna Carter:
It would be enormous because we only have part time staff, I’m very part time and I’m responsible for writing grants. And so that takes a lot of time. So yeah, if somebody wanted to come and write grants or knew about writing grants, that would be absolutely wonderful because that would mean I could do other things for sure. If I didn’t have to do that, I could actually maybe not come to work and save the board some money. They wouldn’t have to pay me cause I don’t mind staying home and not coming to work.

Jesse Hill:
That’s great. I mean, because the thing about the fundraising and the grants, is that anything that can be done to keep the costs down, to keep the service level up is a huge return on that investment.

Erna Carter:
Exactly. And one of the things that we have done recently, and that’s really helped, I think it’s helped the clients is for a long time, that Riseup existed without any kind of admin support. But we have found that having somebody here three mornings, when we’re open to answer the phone and to call clients and say, this is a reminder about your appointments so that you don’t forget, it has really helped that we then are efficient in our use of time. So we don’t have big gaps where people don’t come because they forgot their appointments. And so, yeah, that’s, that’s a big one.

Jesse Hill:
Let’s talk about appointments real quick because we talked off camera a little bit. But you told me one of the things that’s different about Riseup is the wait time. So if somebody’s found themselves in a situation where they needed to access services like yours, what could they expect?

Erna Carter:
Depending on the need, if we’re open and they are really, really in need, you will try to put them in that day. But we often will juggle people around and make sure that they are within the week that they call or if they call on a Thursday and we’re only open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, it might be the following Tuesday or whatever, but we do try to get them in within the first three or four days.

Jesse Hill:
Because that’s got to be so important to get that service at the time that they need it.

Erna Carter:
And a lot of people by the time they call, because it takes a lot to call us people that are in intimate, violent, intimate partner, relationships that are violent are really, really reluctant to reach out for help. And it’s a really difficult thing to do. So I’m afraid that if you put them off, they may have to get all that energy going again so they can come back. So yeah, it’s important that they give an appointment when they call.

Jesse Hill:
So this is a real quick view of the way that your support and working with Tier 3 supports our community. And some of the most vulnerable people, in very challenging situations within that community. If you want to learn more about Riseup society, just in general, you can visit their webpage, which is currently being revamped. They have all kinds of materials that are available. They do host events and sessions that are available to the wider public.

Erna Carter:
And then willing if people have a group that want to hear more about intimate partner violence or the effects or what we do, we’re always willing to walk and talk to people. Part of the board’s vision is to raise awareness about it so that because with people are aware, they can actually then pick out signs that, maybe my friend or neighbor or relative needs some help. And there is helpful.

Jesse Hill:
Yeah. And that’s one thing I would say to any business owners, HR managers, anybody who’s in a position of influence in your business. If you’re watching this, Erna and I talked about this a couple of weeks ago, that the effects of domestic violence carry over into the workplace. If somebody who works in your business is being, abused in one of those ways, it doesn’t stop at the front door and, and they’re working on a program to come and educate the, the leadership and the rest of your staff in your businesses, how to spot those signs, how to offer help to that person in a nonthreatening way and, and ultimately how to support the entire group, so visit their webpage. And if you have any questions, I’m sure that they’d love to help and thank you for watching and thank you for your support. Have a great day. Thank you.