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Nova Vita celebrates International Women’s Day and 40 years of hope

Local NewsNova Vita celebrates International Women’s Day and 40 years of hope

Nova Vita Domestic Violence Prevention Services in Brantford celebrated its annual International Women’s Day celebration on Wednesday, March 6, 2024.

The International Women’s Day (IWD) event is the organization’s largest fundraiser of the year and over 150 people turned out to help honour 40 years of hope and healing.

“Thank you to each and every one of you for joining us tonight as we celebrate IWD in honour of 40 Years of Hope at Nova Vita. Tonight, we come together to celebrate IWD,” said Anne Herbison-Ruddell, community development manager for Nova Vita Domestic Violence Prevention Services. “… This is a monumental day that was first celebrated over a century ago on March 8, 1911.  IWD isn’t specific to a country, group or organization, it’s a day of collective global activism and celebration that belongs to all of those committed to forging women’s equality.”

Anne Herbison-Ruddell, community development manager for Nova Vita Domestic Violence Prevention Services, welcomes guests during Nova Vita’s annual International Women’s Day event at the Brantford Golf and Country Club on Wednesday, March 6, 2024.

The event is not only a way to celebrate women and fundraise for the organization, but to raise awareness about Nova Vita’s programs and services such as the: emergency shelter, 24/7 crisis and support line, housing and outreach support, second stage and transitional housing, trauma informed individual and group counselling, community engagement and public education, and the multicultural community engagement program.

“In our 40 years at Nova vita, we’ve grown in our community, and today we are a robust and diverse portfolio of services and programs,” said Herbison-Ruddell.

Kim Squires, transitional support and outreach worker for Nova Vita, prepares to share the organization’s current programs and services during the annual International Women’s Day event at the Brantford Golf and Country Club on Wednesday, March 6, 2024.

During the event, title sponsors Erin McIntyre, co-founder of Haus and Company, as well as Vanessa Hammond (Vanessa the Mortgage Broker), took the stage to share their own personal experiences, and why supporting Nova Vita, and breaking down barriers was important to them.

“Today, let us not only celebrate the achievements of women but let us also renew the commitment to breaking down barriers, challenging stereotypes and fostering an environment of equality and exclusivity for all,” said Hammond.

Nova Vita employees also had the opportunity to speak during the event.

Debbie Meriam, transitional support worker for Nova Vita, spoke about the organization’s past, while Kim Squires, transitional support and outreach worker, spoke about its present, and Natasha Dobler, executive director for Nova Vita, as well as Patricia Lovelock, board president spoke about the organization’s future.

Anne Herbison-Ruddell and Debbie Meriam share a hug during Nova Vita’s annual International Women’s Day event at the Brantford Golf and Country Club on Wednesday, March 6, 2024.

Many in attendance not only laughed together, but shed tears together as they heard harrowing tales and inspiring stories about the people who have accessed Nova Vita and its services throughout the years.

Throughout the night, guests also had the chance to place their bets for silent auction items donated by businesses such as Payworks, Paris Apothecary, SWEET Bakery, River Hypnosis, and Sarah St. Amand Interior. Several door prizes were also up for grabs during the event, as well as floor tickets to see P!nk.

Between speeches and prize giveaways, attendees enjoyed a Brantford Golf and Country Club three-course dinner, as well as several games and a reverse auction for donations.

Herbison-Ruddell later announced that during the event alone, guests helped raise $15,780 towards the organization’s programs and services.

Attendees browse the many silent auction items during Nova Vita’s annual International Women’s Day event at the Brantford Golf and Country Club on Wednesday, March 6, 2024.

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