Making silent voices heard at fundraiser

Lisa Goudy
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The third annual Silent Voices cabaret, a fundraiser for the Moose Jaw Transition House, saw a crowd of 400 at the Cosmo Senior Citizens Centre on March 29, 2014.

Third annual Silent Voices cabaret a success

It’s been 12 years since Mary-Lynn Miller needed the services of the Moose Jaw Transition House.

“My youngest daughter was six weeks old when I left Alberta and came back to Moose Jaw. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it,” she said. “The transition house is like an extended family … I told (my girls) the benefits of being there and everything that transition house provided for us.”

Miller, now a board member at the transition house, was one of the people in attendance at the third annual Silent Voices event at the Cosmo Senior Citizens Centre on Saturday evening. The event is a fundraiser for the Moose Jaw Transition House.

“(The transition house is) one of those programs in the community that is very, very important,” said Miller. “Violence is out there in our society. It’s sad to say, but I think education is the key, letting people know that these programs are available for their children and themselves.”

Darrell Andrei, one of the organizers, said the event was originally organized in memory of a friend.

“This is all about a close friend that we lost due to domestic violence,” he said. “We can’t bring her back so we just thought we’d do something in a positive way out of a negative thing and it’s worked out very well.”

He said it was a “full house” on Saturday with 400 tickets sold. The inaugural year raised $13,292 and last year, the event raised $13,053. This year, he hoped to raise more than $13,000 once again.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s all worth it in the end,” said Andrei. “There’s a lot of people that are in need of transition house … So many people don’t talk about what’s going on.”

Karen Closs, director of the transition house, said the most special part for her about the fundraiser is that it is in tribute to a friend lost to domestic violence.

“That’s so moving,” she said. “Rather than being bitter or complaining, they take action by doing something positive to remember her and to celebrate the person she was and to also raise money to help reduce domestic violence in our community.”

In the past, money from the event has been used for upkeep and maintenance at the shelter. This year, the transition house would like to use the funds to help implement a life skills program. With an extra staff member, there will be more chances for working one-on-one with clients.

“Oftentimes that doesn’t get to happen because there’s only one staff person,” said Closs. “We’re hoping it’ll be a direct benefit to the clients that we serve.”

Courtney Blackstock with the Lil Chicago Roller Derby said the league helped out at the event by selling “I Choose When to Get Bruised” t-shirts with proceeds to the transition house.

“We really like it because we’re rough and tumble girls. We play a pretty aggressive sport,” she said. “It’s awesome to combine that and the goals of the transition house together.”

She added 15 league members volunteered to help out by selling shirts and skating around to help with 50/50s and serving drinks and food.

“We like to do things for our community as much as we can,” said Blackstock. “We want to make sure that we help our community because they help us.”

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

Organizations: Cosmo Senior Citizens Centre, Moose Jaw Transition House, Lil Chicago Roller Derby

Geographic location: Alberta, Moose Jaw

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