The symbol of the Natalie Novak Fund for the Education and Prevention of Relationship Violence is the monarch butterfly. The butterfly has long been considered a symbol of change and rebirth. In addition to the butterflies’ universal connection to transformation and rebirth, is a beautiful story of Natalie and monarchs.
As a small girl, Natalie discovered tiny, striped creatures, living on the milkweed flowers that grow on our property. That inadvertent discovery led to an avid interest and admiration of the monarch butterfly for Natalie. “Can we keep them? What will happen? How does it turn into a butterfly?”
We helped Natalie gather fresh stems each day and we observed the tiny caterpillars become large caterpillars. When the time was right we watched the caterpillars attach and cocoon. The following day an elegant, compact, green chrysalis appeared. She watched and waited.
Just before the emergence of the transformed caterpillar the chrysalis becomes transparent, a view inside, a miracle.
That summer our family watched many monarchs take their first flight. We treasure a photo of Natalie holding a new monarch before it flies for the first time. It filled her with wonder and joy; a oneness with nature that she cherished all her life.
Because of those soft memories and the ephemeral beauty of the monarch butterfly, it has become the symbol of the Natalie Novak Fund for the Education and Prevention of Relationship Violence.
Butterfly Myths & Stories
Butterflies carry significance in cultures around the world. Their beauty, strength and process of metamorphosis make them symbols of life, change, endurance, hope, joy, resurrection and transcendence. Here are three of our favourite stories:
The Natalie Novak Fund for Education and Prevention of Relationship Violence began within months of Natalie’s death in May, 2006. At the family’s request, in lieu of flowers, contributions to our local women’s shelter, Muskoka Interval House, were encouraged and appreciated. The response from family, friends and community was strong.
The staff and board of directors for Muskoka Interval House voted to commit the new funds to education initiatives in June, 2006. The Natalie Novak Fund for Education and Prevention of Relationship Violence (NNF) was established.
Through the fund we have been able to produce projects such as the educational video If Only … Nat’s Story, two promotional video clips, a website, printing of materials for education and awareness and a permanent bronze sculpture in a public park to remember victims of intimate partner violence.
The scope of the Natalie Novak Fund for Education and Prevention of Relationship Violence is outlined here.
MWAG has been supportive and provided guidance to us from the first day of the news of Natalie’s death. They continue tirelessly to provide leadership and guidance to many victims of violence.
The Natalie Novak Fund for Education and Prevention of Relationship Violence is dedicated to providing current, research-based information regarding relationship violence to students, the general public and professionals who support victims of relationship violence.
Providing research-based information pertaining to relationship violence may assist individuals to develop skills and strategies to help them recognize and better cope with unhealthy relationships.
The Natalie Novak Fund for Education and Prevention of Relationship Violence believes in and incorporates the values of knowledge, respect, gender equality, tolerance and acceptance towards others.
The Natalie Novak Fund for the Education and Prevention of Relationship Violence provides education through lectures, workshops, personal narrative and video.