‘CAWESino’ gala fundraiser returns for second year

  • Mar. 2, 2016 3:30 p.m.

The second annual CAWESino Royale gala and benefit is back this year to help raise awareness and funding for victims of domestic violence and abuse.

The Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter (CAWES) decided to try something new last year with the James Bond themed event. According to CAWES Executive Director Ian Wheeliker, the event was very well received and the organization is thrilled to be hosting it for the second year.

The casino gala takes place on March 11th with cocktails starting at 6 p.m.

Tickets are $200 per (with $120 worth of the ticket being a tax receipt) and tables are available for $1,600. All funds raised from the event go towards supporting CAWES programs.

This year, the gala will be specifically supporting the children’s programming at the facility.

“This is our second year and the folks that attended last year told us that it was the best gala that they’d been to in years,” Wheeliker said. “Everybody really enjoyed themselves. As you walk in, you’ll be greeted by our team of volunteers and committee members with a martini and then you’ll be off to the races in terms of checking out the auction items and getting ready for a great evening.”

The event is being held at the Sheraton Hotel in the Tuscany Ballroom.

The evening begins with cocktails prior to a four-course gourmet meal, followed by a live auction. Following the auction, guests will be invited to take place in the Vegas-style casino events and to browse the many silent auction items.

“A couple things have stuck out to me about people’s compliments about our casino and one of those things is the silent auction. People have told us that we have one of the best silent auctions in Central Alberta and we’re on track this year to having some really great items again,” Wheeliker said.

“The other thing we heard was that the actual casino is just a ton of fun. It’s a funny-money casino, of course, not real gambling but people just don’t want it to end. This year, we’re going to set up the casino and get that rolling after the live auction and speakers. That way people can roll the dice until the night is done.”

Wheeliker also said he was particularly excited to be hosting the Ihana Youth Choir for a second year.

“The Ihana Youth Choir was probably one of the most moving experiences I’ve had in a long, long time. Their presentation and their voices were absolutely lovely,” he said.

“I remember looking around the room and seeing that they’d moved a lot of people to tears. It was a beautiful presentation and experience to have. That was a definite highlight last year and we’re looking forward to having them back again.”

Wheeliker said CAWES receives government funding for the women’s programs, but that all the additional children’s programs have been brought to life through community funds.

“Our work with the children is very important. If we don’t help the children with services and supports that they need now, the likelihood of them becoming victims or perpetrators later in life is very high statistically,” he explained.

“Approximately half of the people we are helping every day are children. We’ve done some really good work with mothers and children over the years and we’ve got to be able to keep the work up.”

Tickets are available online at the CAWES web site, or by calling Wheeliker at 403-304-5643.