By Heather Cameron
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Michelle Higginson recently became the new Executive Director of the Taber Safe Haven Women’s Shelter Society.
“Safe Haven is an incredible organization that makes that difference,” Higginson said. “It’s a safety net for women fleeing domestic violence so they have a safe place to go, many times with their children. That makes it very special.”
Now that she is Executive Director, Higginson says, the plan is to grow and support the organization so it can continue to help as many people as possible.
“I’d also like to increase public awareness of both the need for Safe Haven and also the services available,” Higginson says. “Safe Haven helps a great amount of Taber residents not just with emergency shelter but also with outreach programs.”
Higginson says that she took the position of Executive Director due to having a deep passion to make a difference in a person’s life, but she had not been previously associated with Safe Haven before the job opportunity came along. In truth, Higginson did not even know Safe Haven existed before she became involved with it. For that reason, Higginson says, she feels strongly about raising awareness about the shelter and the services it offers.
“We need volunteers and community partners and so I hope people will reach out to us and also support any fundraising events we do in the future,” Higginson said.
Higginson says prior to taking this position, she worked with Jenny Craig in various locations with the company from Quebec to Alberta in every position from frontline consultant to regional manager.
“The joy in that role was to see how much someone’s life can improve when they feel good about themselves,” Higginson said.
Higginson said she was also a volunteer firefighter with the Stirling Fire Department and just retired this year in March. With the closure of the Jenny Craig company in May, Higginson says she was able to take a short time to think about what was really important to her and when the posting came up for Safe Haven she was very excited.
“Here, I am able to combine my skills with my passion,” Higginson said. “I don’t think it gets much better than that.”
Higginson says that along with her passion, her education came from life experiences.
“I am a happy, easy going person,” Higginson said. “I enjoy small town living and am fortunate to enjoy my life with my husband and two dogs. I love to learn, and I thrive on challenges.”
Immigrating from England at 23 years old, Higginson lived in Ontario for many years before moving to Alberta nine years ago. She has certificates in many things including firefighting and Human Resource courses.
“Life experiences have created who I am today,” Higginson said. “I learned how to raise children, work, be a friend, a partner, a dedicated and impassioned, driven person through life experiences and necessity. Raising daughters, I was always very conscious to try to model the behaviours and relationships I would want them to have.”
For more information about Taber Safe Haven, the programs they offer, and volunteer opportunities available there, visit: https://www.tabersafehaven.ca/
“Never stop learning, be open to learning from everyone – everyone has something to teach,” Higginson said.