February 13, 2015 - 2:29 PM
KAMLOOPS - A night of empowerment, of lifting women up and treating them with respect and dignity, was so successful the organizer is now looking to host several events a year.
The idea came to Gillian Faith while she was vacuuming, and six weeks later more than 200 women took part in the Street LIGHT Christmas Gala at New Life Mission. Donations of services, clothes and jewelry allowed the women to dress up, get their hair and nails done and celebrate themselves in a way few have ever had the chance to do.
The women come from a variety of backgrounds, but all are facing circumstance or barriers that lead them to be marginalized. They don’t often get to celebrate holidays, or birthdays, or even graduations. They don’t often get dressed up and they are rarely pampered.
The idea of lifting these women up and showing them their worth is now growing from a single event to what she hopes will become a series of regular events. Plans are already in the works for an early summer graduation style event where the women who were not able to cross the stage to get their high school diploma will be celebrated.
Women who attended the Christmas event are already involved in the early planning stages and she is encouraged by their willingness to get involved.
“I want this to be community driven. For women, by women,” she says. “We’re doing an internship model… involving them in the planning and setup. It’s about empowerment.”
While still in the infancy stages of planning, she says the event will be about celebrating the women who graduated high school after the age of 19, the women who returned to school later in life and missed the pomp and circumstance that normally comes along with graduation ceremonies.
She is now focusing on getting volunteers, donors and commercial partnerships to get the ball rolling. Volunteers who can help her create a non-profit society so these events can become regular celebrations for these women are also needed.
An information meeting will be held Feb. 17 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Kamloops Innovation Centre, 348 Tranquille Rd.
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