Shuswap organization Essie’s Place wishes to connect with the LGBTIQ2+ community in the region, learn about their quality of life and help them find resources needed to improve it. (Essie’s Place/Facebook image)

Shuswap organization Essie’s Place wishes to connect with the LGBTIQ2+ community in the region, learn about their quality of life and help them find resources needed to improve it. (Essie’s Place/Facebook image)

Organization created to support Shuswap’s LGBTIQ2+ community

Essie’s Place founders already uncovering different needs within the region

The founders of a new Shuswap organization wish to connect with the LGBTIQ2+ community in the region, learn about their quality of life and help them find resources needed to improve it.

Essie’s Place was started by locals Jeanne Rokosh and Daylene Fleming with the intention of creating a safe harbour and provide support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (or transsexual), questioning (or queer), intersex and two-spirited individuals. Their focus is to network and build social connections, support the delivery of community identified and sanctioned supports and resources, and help create safe pathways to safe spaces for both allies and resistors to access and then learn more about each other.

Fleming said the organization was named after Rokosh’s spouse, “an amazing woman who died way too soon.”

“Unfortunately, because of her upbringing, she wasn’t able to be 100 per cent who she was,” said Fleming.

The first job ahead for Essie’s Place is gathering information, which is being done through three separate public surveys. One asks for general information such as where survey participants live and what they feel the organization could do so “we can all feel more equal in our communities.”

The second survey focuses on quality of life, and the third is specifically for individuals who are gender diverse.

“There’s never been anything like this done before so, through this, we will be able to find out how many people are in our Shuswap community and from there we can provide the support,” said Fleming.

Read more: First Pride Project festival in Salmon Arm met with enthusiasm

Read more: First Salmon Arm Pride Festival evokes gratitude, emotion from city council

Though the survey’s just went live, Fleming said the calls and feedback received already have indicated there is a need in the region for their organization.

One of those calls, said Fleming, came from a mother whose sons have come out as gay. She said the mom and kids have lost friends as a result, and were struggling to find someone who could empathize. “Both of her boys have decided they pretty much want to home school. They’re very much isolated and there’s no support.”

Fleming said initial federal grant funding for Essie’s Place was for 14 months to support the immediate LGBTIQ2+ community. However, she is finding there are other needs not being addressed, including support for families.

“I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to find the grants and continue this,” said Fleming. “Either way, Jeanne and I will make it work.”

Essie’s Place is for all of the Shuswap (though Fleming has received calls from individuals outside the region). In a couple of months, Fleming said she and Rokosh would like to begin holding of events throughout the region to connect with people.

“From there, I have a feeling it’s going to be a lot of one on one, getting out there, talking to business owners and schools and that kind of stuff just to get our name out there,” said Fleming, adding she and Rokosh also hope to organize an event with the committee behind the Salmon Arm Pride Project Arts & Awareness Festival.

The surveys, and further information about the organization, can be found at essiesplace.ca.

@SalmonArm
lachlan@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

LGBTQSalmon Arm

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen will speed up the process for hospitality businesses looking to set up patios during the latest COVID-19 restrictions. Under the most recent restrictions, indoor dining is prohibited, but patio dining is allowed. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen speeds up patio permit approval

Initiative to help hospitality businesses affected by latest COVID-19 restrictions

Firefighters responded to a house fire on Banks Crescent in Summerland on Friday afternoon. The fire began as a stovetop fire but resulted in significant damages. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Fire results in damage to Summerland home

Crews called on Friday, April 9 following stovetop fire

B.C's COVID-19 dashboard shows the peaks and valleys of cases prior to the record daily report of 132 on April 9, 2021. (Dashboard image)
Interior Health has record day of COVID-19 cases

132 cases reported Friday, April 9, more deaths in Vernon hospital outbreak

The Town of Oliver’s Town Offices, which the town wants to get designated a heritage site. (Black Press)
Oliver council to weigh nixing alerts for water leaks

Staff say the policy has served its purpose in fixing the majority of leaks

(Stock photo)
Snow levels above normal in Okanagan

Spring temperatures, rainfall will affect risk of flooding

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Vernon Secondary School. (Google Maps)
Case of COVID-19 at North Okanagan high school

VSS exposure announced late Friday, April 9

Librarian Katie Burns with the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries poses for a photo in Chilliwack on June 18, 2019. Monday, April 12, 2021 is Library Workers’ Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 11 to 17

Library Workers Day, That Sucks! Day, and Wear Your Pyjamas to Work Day are all coming up this week

The Royal’s 1951 visit to Revelstoke. (Photo by Revelstoke Museum and Archives #17)
PHOTOS: Prince Philip visited Revelstoke – twice

The prince died April 9 at the age of 99

Nolan's Pharmasave in downtown Vernon received 200 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines Friday, April 9, 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
AstraZeneca vaccines arrive at Vernon pharmacies

Four pharmacies in the city received doses of the COVID-19 inoculant Friday

The RCMP were called to the Alchemy Studio on Thursday, April 8. (Contributed)
Revelstoke yoga class fined for defying COVID-19 orders

The RCMP were called to the Alchemy Studio on April 8

An East Hill resident had their leaf bags torched in front of their home overnight April 8. Less than two weeks prior their garbage can was lit on fire too. (Taryn Allen photo)
Garbage, leaf fires spark fear in North Okanagan

First an East Hill residents’ trash can, then bagged leaves were lit on fire

Okanagan-based All Are Family Outreach Society, which provides support to those struggling from Armstrong to Kelowna, is in need of a new headquarters after leaving a Winfield church in June 2020. (All Are Family Outreach photo)
Okanagan outreach society in ‘desperate’ need after storage unit break-in

All Are Family Outreach had $4,000 in tools stolen from its donation shipping container

Most Read