Nearly $3,000 raised for YWCA Sheriff King Home

With celebrations for International Women’s Day occurring all around the world, an Inglewood blues club, The Blues Can, brought it home with their International Women’s Day Fundraiser on Mar. 8.

The room, adorned with purple bunches of balloons and centrepieces, was illuminated by candles and small pot lights, creating a close, cozy atmosphere. Little candies sat on every table top, from Rockets to those little caramel toffees that are impossible to chew.

A small stage sat at the front with a single microphone and electric slide guitar ready for performances.

These performances included three local, female-dominated bands, The Lovebullies, The Bownesians, and Shona Rae and the Voodoo Hand.

All ticket and door prize proceeds were donated to the YWCA Sheriff King Home, an emergency women’s shelter also located in Inglewood.

Shona Rae, emcee and member of performing band Shona Rae and the Voodoo Hand at the Blues Can International Women’s Day Fundraiser. The event raised about $3,000 with proceeds going to the YWCA Sheriff King Home.
Photo by: Lisa Hallet
Shona Rae, performer and emcee of the event, approached the club with the idea of putting on a fundraiser.

Nathan Hurd, general manager of The Blues Can, said that the club was in right away.

“I’m pretty focused on philanthropy and actually being able to use this business to give back to charity,” he said. “I can use music to lure them into being mini philanthropists. Nobody really minds paying $20 for music.”

Hurd said that the club chose to support the shelter because of the local impact it would make.

“Supporting something local will actually give us a much bigger advantage to raise capital, because people within Inglewood really support Inglewood. It’s an easy local business to contribute to.”

Hurd said that the club’s goal was to have at least 100 people walk through the doors and raise at least $2,500 through ticket sales and silent-auction donations.

They met that attendance goal and exceeded their monetary goal, raising almost $3,000 to be donated to the YWCA Sheriff King Home.

Rae said that her interest for the fundraiser lies in supporting an organization that supports women, as she has encountered many people who have been affected by family violence.

“We all have highs and lows in our lives and we all have need of support at different times,” she said. “So when we’re coming from a place of strength, it’s time to help others get up.”

A safe place to go

In order to help women and children get up from these places of vulnerability, the YWCA Sheriff King Home provides services and support for them. They have 42-person occupancy shelter where women can stay for a maximum of 21 days, said Jean Dunbar, director of family violence prevention.

When a woman leaves an abusive relationship, her first priority is typically where she will live and how she will support her children, she said, so the first focus is placing them in a safe environment and meeting their basic needs.

Rae said, “The fact that they can remove themselves from the situation and be provided with support and counseling, without having to worry about where they’re going to have to sleep, gives them the foundation they need to start the healing process.”

But the first step is actually getting them there.

Many women and children in these abusive conditions don’t know anything different, Dunbar said, so education is key – letting these people know what exactly abuse is and how to escape its cycle.

“When women are in an abusive relationship, usually their whole character is attacked. They feel no confidence and have low self-esteem,” she said. “They feel like they have no power in those situations and, a lot of times, they’re fighting to stay alive.”

Once in the shelter, the women and children receive counseling, parenting programs, and child support, among other services.

After the 21 days in the program, they receive follow-up support in the form of an outreach counselor to aid them once getting settled into their new community, Dunbar said.

“One of our outcomes that we hope to meet in serving this population is that we keep women and children safe – we don’t have any more lives taken because of domestic violence.”

lhallet@cjournal.ca