Local expo supports Little Warriors

Red Deer will have the chance to ‘Spring Into Summer’ during an expo fundraiser on April 26 in support of Little Warriors.

Each year, two events are hosted by LUX Events that include an exposition for vendors during which funds are collected for a charity – A ‘Spring Into Summer’ expo and a ‘Fall Into Winter’ expo.

“The donations from the Expo will be used for helping people taking the program. We provide books and learning materials and certificates for people when they complete the program,” says Jane Waldron, a program co-ordinator for Little Warriors. The spring expo will be held at the iHotel on 67th St.

The program mentioned is a three-hour workshop that teaches adults how to recognize, react to and prevent child sexual abuse.

The information that Little Warriors provides allows adults to be aware of issues such as rates of abuse, symptoms of abuse and how to protect children from future abuse.

“It’s a huge honour,” says Waldron. “The thing about us is that we are here to get information to adults in the community. The more people can talk about child sexual abuse, the less it happens.”

Melissa Flinn, a manager with LUX Events, says that the way their company is raising funds is mainly through a door prize that show-goers buy tickets for.

“We have tons of different door prizes. We have gift certificates, diaper cases, candles; there are usually around 25-30 door prizes that we do raffle off,” says Flinn.

“Within the door prizes, we have a night stay at a jacuzzi suite at the iHotel, which is awesome, because who doesn’t want to just get away even if it’s still in Red Deer.”

LUX Events has reached the community via facebook to decide on a charity to sponsor. In the past, they have chosen to sponsor the Ronald McDonald House, Women’s Outreach and the Christmas Bureau among others.

Flinn says that the event is open to all ages, and includes vendors for moms, dads and kids.

Waldron says that being chosen as the beneficiary of the raised funds is very flattering, and Little Warriors will benefit from each donation.

“It means that we can get information about prevention programs out into the community,” says Waldron.

As a non-profit charity, Little Warriors must accept donations and sponsorship in order to buy program guides, certificates, textbooks and other materials to allow people in the community to take their program.

After the program is complete, participants receive a certificate of completion, which can be used for continuing education credits, and serves as a reminder of the proactive lessons from Little Warriors.

“Awareness is power,” says Waldron. “I was a police officer for 20 years. Having met lots of (abuse) survivors, I know how devastating it can be.”

This is the third annual Spring Into Summer Expo. Admission and parking are free.

While awaiting the announcement of door prize winners, shoppers can browse over 55 unique vendors. There are vendors specific to women and moms, some for dads and some for kids.

Marylou Speelman will be at the expo on behalf of Little Warriors, providing information, handouts and answering questions about how to become involved in the organization.