By Nate Smelle
Special to the Echo
Published Feb. 20 2018
Inresponse to the closure of the Haliburton Emergency Rural SafeSpace(HERS) in 2016 the Peterborough Haliburton YWCA has been seeking newfunding opportunities to prevent any further loss of services forthose in need of their support. YWCA director of philanthropy andcommunications Jennifer Cureton said the shutdown was the first ofits kind for the organization indicating that it was the result ofinadequate funding to meet a steadily climbing demand throughout thecounty. Explaining that they only had enough funds available to keepthe doors open for 50 per cent of the year she said the organizationis forecasting another shortfall in funding of $133000 for thisyear.
“Basicallywhat happened was that we exhausted our funds that are available andwe had no choice but to close” said Cureton.
“Itdid affect women and children and that’s why we never ever want todo it again. We had to find any women or children who needed ourHalliburton Emergency Rural SafeSpace at that time a safe space in adifferent area. We want people to stay in their community becausethey have jobs and their kids have school; and they have a supportnetwork.”
Accordingto Cureton statistics show that 50 per cent of all women over theage of 16 will experience violence in their lifetime. Noting thatlast year HERS provided assistance to 124 women responded to 1200plus crisis calls and offered 670 outreach counsel sessions she saidthey are doing everything possible to avoid another shutdown. To helpensure that such a closure does not occur again the HERS fundraisingcommittee has come up with a campaign that is calling on localartists and members of the business community to contribute to its2019 HERS fundraiser calendar. HERS fundraising committee memberBonnie Roe said they are approaching retailers throughout HaliburtonCounty seeking opportunities to sell the calendars in stores. Theyalso intend to make copies available at various community events. Theinitiative is completely local Roe said stating that every singledollar raised from the calendar will stay in Haliburton.
“Thistype of cause really resonates with people” said Roe.
“Ithink it’s because everyone knows someone who has gone through itan abusive relationship or may have a friend or relative or evenpeople themselves that needed the support that HERS offers.”
Roesaid the response from local artists and the business community hasbeen incredible. In the first four days she said they had alreadybeen contacted by more than a dozen artists and local business ownerspledging their support in one way or another. Roe credits socialmedia in helping to raise awareness of their fundraising campaign soquickly. If the committee receives an overabundance of work indonations she said they will come up with a creative way to continuefundraising.
“YWCAHERS is blown away by the immediate responses and the positivesupport for our 2019 HERS calendar from local and visiting artists”Roe said.
“Theirartwork donations will provide HERS the opportunity to raise up to atotal of $40000 if we sell all 1000 calendars. We are so gratefulfor this outpouring of community support.”
Accordingto Roe the calendar will feature art created by local artists thatreflects the beauty and diversity of Haliburton County. Expecting thecalendar to be ready for release in June she said the calendars willcost $40 each. Those who purchase a calendar will also be enteredinto a monthly draw which gives them the chance to win a prize valuedbetween $100 and $2500. Each month Roe said there will be at leasttwo prizes given out.
“Purchasingthe HERS fundraiser calendar showcases the talent of our localartists and provides a unique and inspirational calendar that can beenjoyed in our home business or cottage” said Roe.
“Itcontinues to raise crucial funds for HERS and promotes awarenessabout the invaluable services they provide. It sends a very powerfulmessage. By purchasing the HERS calendar we as a community aretaking a collective stand to support women and children fleeingabusive relationships to enable them to live in dignity in atransitional safe space.”
Roeencourages artists wishing to support the initiative to submit adigital photograph of their work before the March 9 deadline firstname.lastname@example.org.She said all photos need to be submitted in the highest resolutionand in the original size photo file. Once the deadline comes to passshe said the committee will select 12 works of art to be featured inthe calendar as well as another piece for the cover.