Retiring ADTS executive director Bobbi Jacob spent a lot of her adult life fighting for women’s rights all over the world.
She has calmly stood up and protected victims of violence, sometimes going toe to toe with an abuser as part of her work at the Ann Davis Transition Society.
“It really is a pleasure to have Bobbi Jacob in our house,” said Mayor Sharon Gaetz on Tuesday in council chambers.
Jacob was being recognized for her years of dedicated service to Chilliwack, as head of Ann Davis Transition Society.
“Bobbi was one of the pioneers,” Gaetz said, later adding that Jacob, in her work raising awareness about domestic abuse has “taught people well” and left a legacy for others follow.
The mayor acknowledged how the transition society reps were first greeted with skepticism when Jacob started building and revitalizing the ADTS operation 18 years ago.
“Today people wouldn’t think twice about supporting this work,” she said.
Mayor Gaetz underlined the steady growth of ADTS, from its origins as mainly a transition house or safe house for women fleeing violence in the home, to a full complement of counselling for women, children, men, couples, with the emphasis on building a foundation of healthy relationships, and what that looks like.
“Bobbi, thank you for teaching people that,” said Gaetz.
Under her reign, ADTS expanded counselling services to men, as well as to children, in recognition of the high level of need for this kind of specialized therapy in the community.
At first the organization toiled in isolation, and was sometimes viewed with suspicion.
“Sharon’s right about what it was like when I first came here,” noted Jacob. “That’s how this society was perceived.
“Now ADTS sits on most of the community committees, our counsellors go into the schools, and there’s recognition that offering services to men and to kids keeps families strong.
“It’s grown tremendously.”