About Us

Our Mission and Vision

Optimism Place Women’s Shelter and Support Services supports women alone or with children to live free of abuse by providing shelter and confidential, non-judgmental services. We are committed to ending the cycle of abuse and violence by raising awareness through prevention, intervention, education and advocacy.

Our History

Photo of Optimism Place in the evening

In the 1980’s, a group of people met to discuss the idea of creating a women’s shelter in Perth County. The Stratford steering committee commissioned a needs assessment, got the confirmation it expected, then began canvassing local churches and service clubs for financial support.


The Optimist Club of Stratford announced it would buy a house that could be used as a women’s shelter, then lease it back to the committee for $1 a year. To both honour the club’s generosity and express the feeling the shelter hoped to impart to the women who’d be staying there, the name Optimism Place was chosen.

Optimism Place officially opened in May 1983. Then, in 1994 Optimism Place was able to build a new, larger, bright, and fully accessible shelter on the city limits, thanks to provincial funding. We have been operating at this location ever since, serving more than 100 women and children a year.

Board of Directors

Optimism Place relies on a committed, women-led board of directors to help ensure the shelter continues to provide the best possible programs and services, while steering growth to meet future needs.

Board members are involved in such areas as financial decision-making, strategic planning, policy setting and fund-raising. It’s rewarding work that makes a difference in the lives of women and children.


If you think you might like to join our board we’d love to hear from you. Please fill out the form below, or send your cover letter and resume to:

Jasmine Clark, Executive Director


Our Board Members

Christy Jacobs, Chair
Kate Graham, Vice Chair
Diane Lyoness, Treasurer

Jean Baloo, Recorder

Nancy Preston, Director
Tanya Diehl, Director

Deb Northmore, Director

Heather McDowell, Director

Alla Mota, Director

Fleur Cooper, Director