VINEart returns to raise awareness

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Heading into its second year, the evening of art and wine that is VINEart returns to Canmore with the goal of raising awareness and money for the Bow Valley Women’s Emergency Shelter.

The gala event and auction will raise funds to go toward the emergency shelter, which is the only local resource dedicated to supporting and housing women and their children who are fleeing violent situations.

In its inaugural year, YWCA Banff CEO Connie MacDonald announced the ambitious goal to build and acquire a more suitable facility to support victims of domestic abuse. Currently, the Bow Valley has only one space available.

“As part of our plan, we continue to educate our community about the impact of violence and how shelter services can help to build resiliency and support for women and children who experience violence in their homes,” MacDonald said.

Domestic violence not only affects the spousal partner, but children in the home, and that is an area the YWCA hopes to educate the community on as to those effects in particular.

“Research shows that witnessing family violence is as harmful as experiencing it directly, and exposure to violence can affect how a child’s brain develops and ability to learn, which can lead to a wide range of behavioural and emotional issues,” MacDonald said.

The only space available to serve women in the Bow Valley in an emergency has restrictions, including when children are involved. In the last year, 20 women and 17 children accessed the YWCA Banff shelter space, spending a total of 495 nights. Another 25 women received outreach services and support for domestic violence related issues.

Honourary chair Lorinda Stewart returns to the event. As part of the event last year, Stewart shared her experience of intimate partner violence and how accessing a women’s shelter helped her and her family. This year she will highlight the importance of providing supports to children who witness violence in the home.

“We are so fortunate to have Lorinda as our spokesperson again,” MacDonald said. “She is an eloquent and powerful voice for survivors of violence and we are grateful that she is able to share her personal experience so generously to help other women.”

The gala and auction event is set for March 19 at Silvertip and again features an evening of fine dining, live music and wine. Silvertip Resort Executive Chef Laura Hansford will collaborate with other renowned female chefs in the Bow Valley to create a four-course culinary experience.

Tickets are $250 per person or $1,400 for a table of 10 for the black tie optional event. Go to vineartgala.ca for more information, tickets and updated auction item details.

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Rocky Mountain Outlook