An initiative known as 100 Women Who Care had an incredibly successful first meeting, where they raised $11,000 over their goal.
Cindy Jefferies and Susan Knopp started the group earlier this month and the first meeting was held at the Red Deer Golf and Country Club on Feb. 9th. They were pleasantly surprised to have over 210 women in attendance.
“It’s a little bit overwhelming. I mean we’re thrilled – I just can’t say how happy we are that so many people agree with us that this is a great concept. It’s something really exciting to be involved in. It’s amazing that we were able to give away over $21,000 at our very first meeting,” said Jefferies.
“There are chapters of 100 Women that have started with less than 100 at their first meeting and then by the time they have made it through a year’s worth, they’ve hit a little bit over 100. I really just can’t say enough about the people in the community who have said, ‘Yeah, I’m in, I want to join that. Let’s do this.’ This is a great group of gals and it’s fantastic to have that much energy in the room and people so excited about being there.”
She said even prior to the event she was aware that they would be over 100, but when they realized all 200 chairs were utilized she and Knopp were thrilled.
The funds collected from the first meeting of 100 Women Who Care were donated to the Eastview Middle School to fund their activity centre initiative. Knopp explained although it sounds like ‘just a playground’, it is a very innovative activity centre that is designed to engage middle-school aged students in physical activity.
“It’s a little bit like something at a leadership camp where you might try something that you usually wouldn’t, because there are balance and strength-type things. It’s a very different concept than what people think of when they think of playground,” she said.
She said she feels that this could be a successful prototype that might lead to changes in other middle schools or City parks.
Without even realizing the connection, Jest Sidloski was introduced to a similar group, but led by men in Lethbridge. He said that his friend, a founder, brought him to a meeting and that immediately he felt it would be something he’d like to take on.
“I thought that this was fantastic, so I created social pages and the web site and brought the idea to Red Deer. I thought that it was the coolest idea I’d hear in a long time and I wanted to be a part of it,” Sidloski said.
“Ours will be a little bit different from how the ladies run theirs. What happened at the Women’s is that they would draw a name, and the woman who nominated the charity would get up and give a little speech about that charity. Our nominations are going to be shortlisted before the event by myself or another member of the committee. Then we’re going to get the charity representatives to show up and they will actually present to the men that evening.”
Sidloski’s group is called 100 Men Red Deer. Titles and chapters vary in structure, as there is no governing body or affiliation between chapters.
“I’d just like to reiterate that our web site is not award-winning, but it is there and there is a ton of information on there. There’s the fine print and everything that people need to know,” Sidloski added.
“Really this is just such a small commitment and I want people to know that for every $400 you give, you get $88 back on your income tax, so that’s nice. So at the end of the year, you’re giving $400 to the charity, but you’re also getting a little something back and that just sweetens the deal.”
For information on the groups, look up the 100 Women Who Care and 100 Men Red Deer facebook pages, or visit the men’s web site at http://www.100menreddeer.com.