Toronto School Teams Up with Domestic Violence Shelter to Make for a Happier Holiday

The Toronto-based Modern Mystery School International has teamed up with the Women's Shelter of Etobicoke to create and distribute special gift baskets for moms and teens affected by domestic violence.

Toronto School Teams Up with Domestic Violence Shelter to Make for a Happier Holiday
Toronto, Canada, December 24, 2021 --( The holiday season poses special challenges for women impacted by domestic violence and their children.

To address that reality, a Toronto-based entity promoting ages-old methods of healing self and the world has partnered with a local non-profit that provides women and children victims and survivors of domestic violence with safe refuge, trauma-informed counseling, referral to other essential services and advocacy to spread some special holiday cheer.

Members of Modern Mystery School International have been packaging and delivering holiday baskets which include gift cards for restaurants and movie houses, make-up kits, jewelry, and chocolates among other treats for families serviced by the Women’s Habitat of Etobicoke.

“It is a sad fact that the actions of others have disrupted the lives of these vulnerable women and children, creating a situation where the joys so many of us derive from these special holidays can at best be elusive,” said Dave Lanyon, the Modern Mystery School’s chief master teacher. “Creation and distribution of these gift packages are our small way of contributing to needs that often go overlooked.”

The packages include gift cards for local restaurants, movie theaters and stores where cosmetics and other small luxury items that allow women to pamper themselves are sold, as well as chocolates, soothing teas, and other goodies. Gift packages also include kitchen items such as utensils, towels, and kitchen mitts.

This year’s holiday project included gifts for 120 moms and 57 children, tolling more than $13,000 worth of items. The choices are geared for pampering moms while also helping them at a time when they are creating new lives for themselves and their families. Mr. Lanyon, his wife Franca, staff members and a number of local area students, all contributed to the cause. The packages were created at the school’s world headquarters in Toronto.

“In many cases, women serviced by the shelter are having to start their homes over without the most basic housekeeping items,” said Kathleen Petersen, the Modern Mystery School’s outreach coordinator. “The underlying message is that you are important and that you deserve better, especially to someone who feels the opposite of that. You deserve more than just the basics.”

Women’s Habitat’s Executive Director, Carla Neto, and Lina Almanzan, its philanthropy and systems manager, noted the long relationship between organization and the Modern Mystery School, which has made many donations since their partnership began in 2015.

“These gifts are the result of work and time invested in our projects by the Modern Mystery School, not just contributions of a financial nature,” Ms. Neto said. “One of the most important elements for the families we assist is personal empowerment, and these gifts help us to provide that, in a festive and positive manner.”
Modern Mystery School
John DeSantis