Wear your craziest beach gear to support Women’s Place in their WAVE (Walk Against Violence Everyone) walk-a-thon to raise awareness of domestic violence.
The event takes place on Saturday, November 2, 2019 at the Seaway Mall in Welland. Check-in is at 8:00 a.m. and the walk starts at 9:00 a.m. This event is running for just its fifth year and the need for their services is quite staggering and hits close to home for many. The group will require an annual fundraising quota of $550,000 for both their Niagara Falls and Welland shelters.
“[The walk-a-thon] is important to raise awareness but to also raise critical funding that is needed to sustain the current services that we offer to support women and children affected by domestic violence,” said Amanda Braet, development director for Women’s Place of South Niagara Inc.
“I think some people think that [domestic violence] is not happening around them or to those they love or to those they care about, but in reality the statistic is that one and three women will be affected by some type of abuse in her lifetime,” said Braet. “We have two shelters. The one in Niagara Falls has 20 beds. In Welland it is exactly half that size so there are 10 beds but we are often at around 13. So there was a total of 260 women and children that lived in our shelter last fiscal year. The sad number is that they had to turn away 364 women and children because we were full.”
In addition to offering beds for women and children escaping from domestic violence, they run a 24 hour support line, which according to Braet gets roughly eight calls a day. They also support transitional housing, counselling and a public education program as well as providing basic needs such as food and access to toiletries to those who are staying at the shelter.
The walk-a-thon helps to bring in the funds required for these services. It’s a five kilometre walk around the Seaway Mall and after every lap around the mall, walkers can participate in one of five beach themed activities. The event is also child friendly and there are activities for all ages and is meant to be fun, flip flops and all. Giant FM and Dunkin, the mascot from the Niagara River Lions, will be in attendance as well.
Participants are encouraged to pre-register but can show up on the day of the walk. There is no registration fee, however participants are encouraged to collect pledges. The pledge amounts are very reasonable, as adults are asked to raise a minimum of $60, youth $20 and there is no fundraising minimum for children 10 and under who accompany an adult participant.
Even though the event is fun and loud, the topic of domestic violence is still very serious. After the walk an abuse survivor will tell their story to raise awareness and hope for others around domestic violence.
The efforts of the participants are greatly needed for this event and it is important that people understand the impact of their donations and pledges.
“When people participate they are making a real difference. They are changing people’s lives and they could even be saving lives through their fundraising efforts. When it is a peer to peer fundraiser [participants] reach out to ask for pledges and every person they are reaching out to raise awareness about the services that we have and the issue of domestic violence,” said Braet.
Those interested in helping at Women’s Place or participating in the WAVE walk-a-thon go to www.womensplacesn.org for more information.