Since 1996, The Circle, formerly called SWOVA, has touched thousands of young lives, empowered educators and community leaders with skills and strategies to guide a spectrum of development. We’ve worked to develop youth so that they are equipped with the language and confidence to become mentors themselves for the next generation.
There is nothing more powerful than the iterative experience of growing and learning with a generation of young people.
Be part of The Circle’s ongoing story of excellence and impact.
“I think that it just helps me learn to be a better person. It’s a time – after a whole school day of putting up a front – to sit in a group of people and kind of peel off the masks and actually just have a genuine conversation without any sort of filter or agenda behind it. It’s super special to me because I get to connect.”
—Youth Participant in The Circle’s Pass-It-On program
Awards for Our Work
Respectful Relationships is a national award-winning primary violence prevention program. It has received both provincial and national awards and has shown through extensive evaluation that it truly is a “best practice” in the field of school-based violence prevention.
In 2003, the Respectful Relationships program received the BC School Superintendents’ Association Award of Recognition for the program’s contribution to public education.
The program was also awarded a Women’s Safety Award in 2004, under the auspices of Femmes et Villes in Montreal and Status of Women Canada. This was one of twelve awards given out to projects across Canada, chosen by an independent international jury.
The Respectful Relationships project was honoured in 2004 with recognition from the BC Minister of Education for School Board Innovation – Violence Prevention Through Education Award.
At the time, The Circle was called SWOVA, and Lynda Laushway was the Executive Director. She was honoured by The Women of Distinction Awards Council and the YM-YWCA of Greater Victoria with the 2005 Education Training & Development Award. Ms. Laushway also received the Regional Awareness and Promotion Award 2000 for outstanding contribution towards crime prevention and community safety in British Columbia from the Ministry of Attorney General.
In 2007, our Respectful Relationships (R+R) program was cited by United Nations Habitat as a Good Practice in youth violence prevention, as part of worldwide Best Practices to Improve the living environment.
As SWOVA, the organization also received an endorsement from UNICEF Canada.
”I think that it just helps me learn to be a better person. It’s a time — after a whole school day of putting up a front — to sit in a group of people and kind of peel off the masks and actually just have a genuine conversation without any sort of filter or agenda behind it. It’s super special to me because I get to connect.”
—Student, Pass It On Program
“I learned to be more accepting of people’s different qualities.”
—Student, The Respect Project
“My daughter was first assigned to her ‘buddy’ in Grade 7. It was a great opportunity to make some friends and learn her way around Salt Spring. Now that my daughter is in Grade 12 — her buddy is providing advice about moving and starting a job search. ”
—Shelly, Mother of Student, Pass It On Program
“We don’t know what’s going on in (our son’s) life. Any kind of connection he has feels good!”
—Parent of Grade 8 Buddy, Pass It On Program
"When visitors ask us ‘what makes your school so peaceful by nature?’ the youth often tell us that the R+R program has made a big difference in their ability to live and work respectfully with one another in our island and in our school.”