Helping Men, Families & Community create fuller, healthier lives!
We achieve this by offering men the tools & strategies by which to live their lives with integrity, trust, responsibility and accountability. The WCMSS inspires men to live their richest, most meaningful and healthy lives with their families and community!
The vision of the West Coast Men’s Support Society (WCMSS) is to support a community where men and women of all ages live with equality, equity and peaceful co-existence.
- Offer counselling, support, and referrals to men in the emotional, psychological, intellectual, and spiritual dimensions of their lives
- Offer tools strategies for the fostering of strong and healthy relationships with partners, families, and community -- where all feel affirmed, validated, respected, and cherished
- Support men in learning to communicate and enrich existing relationships
- Help men with family court/divorce, separation, custody and access issues
- Support adolescent males ages 12-17 to grow into strong, healthy men who have a strong sense of self, inner purpose and direction
- Promote community awareness regarding men and men’s issues, and advocate on men's behalf
- The information gathered from our survey has assisted us in defining the needs of our community, and will continue to assist us in developing timely, relevant, and client-centred programs.
The initial seedlings for our West Coast Men's Support Society were inseminated in 2004, as a group of men gathered together to share stories and brotherhood. The vision back then was to create a place where men could be authentic, and assist one another through their struggles. Our pioneering brothers imagined a place where they could grow as community members, fathers and partners. They established a good reputation in the Cowichan Valley, and forged many community connections. While marketing their preliminary efforts, these men adopted a logo highlighting the Cowichan connection. During the writing of a proposal against family violence, they enlisted the active cooperation of several community groups, including: Women Against Violence Association (WAVA), Cowichan Family Life, RCMP, and others. They also set up a phone line, offering men the possibility for individual help.
The organization would grow for a while, contract for another; then, expand again. In its first peak in 2005, these men came together to formally register the non-profit society. Their first formal meeting was facilitated in August 2005 under the leadership of psychologist Dr. Björn Ratjen. The group worked together to build consensus around the need for men’s circles. They also supported men in the Valley, and began leasing office space in downtown Duncan.
Initially, several meetings were held in the basement meeting room of the Silverfern Medical Clinic with the best wishes of Board member, Dr. Stephen Faulkner. Under the leadership of C.M. Justice, they later expanded to a local church hall. Over time, through public awareness and development, men joined to support the efforts of the group. During this time, Ken Kobewka, one of the pioneering members of the group, passed away from cancer. He will be remembered for his valuable contribution to our team, for his sense of humour and quiet strength.
In 2008, discussions began about increasing the financial stability of the organization. In 2009, the conditions were ripe for the seedlings of predecessors' work to fruition into greater blossoming. Under the leadership of Grant Waldman and the fund development expertise of President Miles Phillips, we secured funding to analyse the needs and desires of the Cowichan Valley community (i.e., including men & their families). We also consulted with service providers to gain a sense of the gaps in the service provision. We re-registered the Cowichan Men's Resource Centre as a non-profit society. After deepening our community partnerships and offerings, I am very pleased to report that a number of programs have successfully been run in the Cowichan Valley.
In 2010, we were granted permission to promote our mentoring programs through the Cowichan School District. This was a significant achievement, as partnerships with the schools allows for effective promotion of our various Youth Mentoring programs. Several boys came to our events, and have since become staff members at our weekends! We are pleased to confirm that we now have an agreement to run our Fire & Bones "Guys Groups" on-site, within the schools!
In the Fall of 2011, we were honoured to be approached by the Native Band in Ucluelet who requested our assistance in dealing with the challenges male youth face in the First Nations community without the support of healthy male role models. We designed and delivered our first Respect & Compassion program which was very well received.
At the end of 2011 we changed our name from the Cowichan Men's Resource Centre to the West Coast Men's Support Society to reflect the impact that our programs were having on regions beyond the Cowichan Valley, BC.
June 2012 also saw our transition from a virtual workplace to the leasing of our new office location in downtown Duncan. Our new office has substantially increased the visibility of our Society. Passersby can now drop in to inquire about our programs, book a one-on-one consultation, and/or review our book and DVD collection, consisting of over 100 books and DVDs relating to the Male Sacred, boys and manhood.
In 2012, we were proud to expand our catchment area to include the Okanagan Valley. Additionally, we added a Elder Men's Group, Loss & Grief program & Restorative Justice program to our bevy of existing services.
In 2013, we have begun to expand our services into Greater Vancouver, other parts of Vancouver Island and beyond through our Organizational Outreach program. It is our goal to replicate what we have offered in the Cowichan & Okanagan throughout the province due to the lack of men's programs and support systems. It is our belief that by proactively supporting men, there will be a lesser need for reactive programming in response to gender violence.
In June, 2016 we closed our doors at our Station Street office due to a lack of funding. Grant Waldman stepped down as ED and has stepped onto the board due to other committments. A new ED will be pursued in due course; as will new board members.
We feel privileged and honoured to be of service, & eagerly await the opportunity to meet you!
We would like to thank you for your interest in the West Coast Men's Support Society.
We intend to accomplish our mission through courses, programs, and other venues offered to men and families. As well, through information and resource referrals, we aim to transform some of the stereotypes and barriers of what society has labeled as a “Real Man”, and foster the idea that a Real Man not only offers assistance to others, but seeks it out for himself when in need.
Michael Young, Acting Board President
Board of Directors Members: (We are seeking new members)
Michael Young - I.T. Developer - Treasurer and Acting President
Rod Keays - Author and Landscaper - Advisor
Clive Michael Justice - Retired Educational Assistant, Personal Coach & Inner/Outer Explorer - Advisor
Phil Gardner – Retired Teacher/Guidance Counsellor - Advisor
Past Staff: (We are searching for a new ED)
Grant M. Waldman – Executive Director/Wellness Coach
Grant Waldman has resided in BC for over 12 years – over 10 of those being on Vancouver Island. Prior to this, he grew up in Southern Ontario; spending most of his years in Toronto – born in London. He is happily married for over 27 years to Annik Moyal-Waldman; an accomplished facilitator, educator, and counsellor. He has a 18 year old son, Nathaniel; who loves sports of all sorts, cooking and travel.
Grant wants to take this opportunity to thank Annik for all of her years of support of his men's work! She has invested a lot of time in the editing of this site - with creative input and insights! She has provided many hours of support and encouragement with the various programs! What is that saying: "Behind every successful man there is a powerful women." :-)
Grant has been involved with men’s work for over 19 years. He initiated in the Mankind Project (MKP) in the spring of 2006, and was previously on the board for over 2 years as the Vancouver Island representative. MKP is a men’s organization where men have the opportunity to travel from their head to their heart, and truly get in touch with their feelings in a good way. The men have an opportunity to meet on a regular basis to support one another. Prior to the MKP, Grant was involved in men’s groups in Indianapolis, Indiana, Toronto, and the Sunshine Coast. He recognizes how important it is for men to reach out for help, and offers men one-on-one Counselling at the new office. Please call for more details.
Grant brought Boys to Men - Youth Mentoring (now locally referred to as Fire & Bones) to Western Canada after realizing that he wanted his son to experience a Rites of Passage weekend when he was young, rather than waiting until his 40’s like Grant did. The Fire & Bones program provides a mentoring experience for boys. The Fire & Bones school-based "Guys Groups" are a safe place for the boys to gather and tell their truth and begin to take responsibility for their lives. It is a place where they can learn about accountability and integrity. The boys are offered a Deepening Weekend where they can strengthen their relationship with the Mentors/Facilitators. For his efforts, Grant received the Ron Herring Award for service to his community by The Mankind Project of Canada West!
Grant recently began developing a Wellness Coaching practise called: Leap2Life! Please check out his website at: www.leap2life.net
Grant graduated from York University in Toronto with degrees in History and Business, and an advanced diploma in IT Systems from The Honeywell Institute. He is now enrolled in a MA Counselling Psychology program at Yorkville University in Fredericton, NB and will graduate in 2016. He founded his own firm, West Coast Solutions, Inc. upon his arrival in BC - initially to represent several software developers. The firm is has been focused on Targeted Direct Marketing Consulting - learn more at: www.pinnaclelists.com. Waldman is an accomplished and published singer-songwriter and a member of his local Folk Guild. He has performed in various functions, including MKP graduations, Jewish & Baha’i’ events, and environmental peace causes. Learn more at his website: www.waldocreative.com. Grant has also published poetry and is at work on his first book. Grant enjoys all the west coast has to offer, including: kayaking, skiing, and hiking! Grant has been a strong environmentalist for over 25 years. Grant follows the Japanese philosophy of Kanzei - constant and never ending improvement.