Before Providence Farm
Vancouver Island Providence Community Association acknowledges that for thousands of years the Quw'utsun, Malahat, Ts'uubaa-asatx, Halalt, Penelakut, Stz'uminus, & Lyackson Peoples have walked gently on the unceded territories where we now work.
Providence Farm Board of Directors, staff and community stand in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples of Canada, affirming and supporting the recovery of spirit and relationship between and among people.
In 1864, the pioneering Sisters of St. Ann acquired a 400-acre farm and opened a boarding school for First Nations' girls (1864-1876), which was later enlarged to make room for orphaned, (Indigenous and non Indigenous), girls from Victoria. In 1904, the school became a boarding school for boys, (Indigenous and non Indigenous). In 1921, a larger school building was built and the number of students was increased. In 1950, girls, (Indigenous and non Indigenous), were enrolled as externs and the student population grew to over 100. In 1956, the school became a day school for girls and boys, (Indigenous and non Indigenous). The school closed in 1964 and both students and teachers moved to the current Queen of Angels school site.
The 1960s and1970s was a period of change in much of the world. Social shifts encouraged efforts in building community and establishing a better way of working together. It was in this historical period when a group of people with varied backgrounds and interests got together to discuss the creation of purposeful community at the old school and farm.
From 1978 to 1979, meetings with the Sisters of St. Ann and other stakeholders resulted in an agreement to formally establish a society named the Vancouver Island Providence Community Association (VIPCA) – named in memory of Sister Mary Providence, the founder of the school in Duncan in 1864. The mission, vision and values of the newly formed society was granted registered charity status, and VIPCA's therapeutic programming began.
In 2009, at the celebration of Providence Farm’s 30th Anniversary, the Sisters of St. Ann generously and formally gifted the farm property to VIPCA who now owns this property and infrastructure. VIPCA has no direct affiliation with the Catholic Church.
Providence Farm continues to operate today as an independent, working, therapeutic, secular organization serving adults and seniors with a variety of mental health challenges, diagnoses, developmental, intellectual and physical disabilities, and age-related illnesses.
Providence Farm Today
Providence Farm is a trauma informed agency, invested in promoting healing opportunities for those who may not be easily accepted elsewhere.
We are individuals with brain injuries, developmental diversity, neurodivergence, physical disabilities, mental health concerns and age-related illnesses; working together to care for the land and each other in a nature based, therapeutic setting.
There are also opportunities for student practicum / internship placements, summer students, and volunteerism.
An excellent team of Nature Based Therapeutic Practioner's are called to work in service to create the supportive community of Providence Farm. Our Program Support team offers a dynamic and diverse blend of skills, qualifications and abilities along with a genuine commitment to the people in our programs. Our compassion and dedication forms the core of our community which is something you FEEL the moment you join us on the Farm! Have a look at our annual report to see some our accomplishments from the past year.
OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Our current Board Members come from a variety of different backgrounds including business, social work, farming and mental health. This group is dedicated to providing balanced and effective governance.
2022/23 Board of Directors
Bev Suderman (Chair)
Ron Bogdonov (Vice Chair)
Danielle Killam (Treasurer)