YWCA Brandon kicks off Christmas campaigns

The organization’s annual “Keeping Spirits Bright” and “#yshouldibesafe” fundraising and awareness initiatives will run through to the end of December. Money raised will help YWCA Brandon operate its varied services for victims of domestic violence, the homeless and individuals seeking counseling.

If you require your hair or nails styled this Christmas, doing so at one of five local beauty salons can benefit women and children fleeing domestic violence in the Brandon area.

The YWCA Brandon is hosting its third annual “#yshouldibesafe” campaign between Nov. 16 and Dec. 31. The program will have one dollar from every salon service at five Brandon establishments donated to the YWCA’s Westman Women’s Shelter while increasing knowledge and awareness about domestic violence and homelessness throughout Western Manitoba.

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The participating beauty outlets include Pantages on Park Salon and Spa on Park Avenue; Euphoria Salon on 10th Street; Alieshia’s Salon and Spa on 9th Street; Pin-Ups Beauty Bar on 8th Street; and Hairistocracy Salon and Spa on Princess Avenue.

“This is something (YWCA case manager) Lorna French thought of doing after getting the idea from a program in the United States,” said the organization’s administrative and fundraising assistant Lissia Lalonde. “Down there, they were painting a single nail purple to raise awareness for domestic violence.”

In 2017, four salons participated in the “#yshouldibesafe” campaign, raising $600 through nail services provided during the months of November and December. This year’s program has been expanded to include every service provided by the salons.

“We’re hoping to break the $1000 mark, which would be wonderful because the campaign is going in the right direction and its providing valuable funding for the Westman Women’s Shelter.”

YWCA Brandon shelters provided more than 10,800 bed nights to women, men and children last year. An average of 500 people fleeing family or domestic violence situations make use of the shelter’s services annually. The YWCA services provide help to victims who, many times, must leave their homes without clothing or other personal possessions.

In fact, organizers of this year’s YWCA “Keeping Spirits Bright” fundraiser and awareness campaign hope to raise one dollar for every bed night provided by their shelter.

This initiative has a light placed on the organization’s “Tree of Safety” in front of the Meredith Place transitional shelter for every dollar collected by the YWCA through the month of December. Should all go as planned, more than 10,000 purple lights – the official color used to promote awareness about domestic violence – will illuminate the tree.

“We’ve had this going now for three years,” said Lalonde. “Every time we acquire a donation, a new light is added to the tree and we’re hoping by the time we get to Christmas, the tree will be well lit up.”

A total of $8000 was raised in 2016 through the “Keeping Spirits Bright” campaign. The YWCA followed that up with an effort that collected more than $7500 last year.

Donations to the “Keeping Spirits Bright” program can be made through the YWCA Brandon’s website at ywcabrandon.com; or by dropping off or mailing contributions to 148 11th Street in Brandon.

YWCA Brandon is a charitable foundation that provides housing and services to people in need through its Meredith Place transitional shelter for people with housing issues, the Westman Women’s Shelter for victims of domestic violence and Peaceful Futures couples counseling services.

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