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More than 550 guests gathered at the Telus Convention Centre on April 21 to attend Turning Points 2022 – the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter’s signature event. Who would have thought that the 25th anniversary of the gala in 2019 would be its last hurrah until now, three years later. It’s apt then that the theme of this year’s gala was A New Day.
Since its humble beginnings as a 13-bed facility in 1974, the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter (CWES) has helped more than 200,000 individuals build safe lives and healthy relationships. Not surprisingly, the pandemic caused an exponential rise in the number of people needing their services. The first quarter of 2022 was unprecedented as the shelter was unable to accommodate more than 1,100 individuals.
The success of this year’s gala will go a long way to ensure CWES can provide its services to more people in need. And the launch of its newest program, Men &, offers resources online for the complex emotional, mental and relational health challenges that men face.
Highlights of Turning Points 2022 included a powerful presentation from Kim Ruse, CWES chief executive officer (and here, I must congratulate Ruse on being honoured with a Calgary Influential Women In Business 2022 Award this past Wednesday). There were also heartfelt remarks from gala co-chairs Shelly Norris and Susan Hauszner, spot-on emceeing by Dave Kelly, fabulous silent auction items, live auction items which garnered top dollar thanks to the skills of auctioneer Frank Hall, and a standing ovation for Ann O’Donnell, CWES director, resource development and communications, who is retiring after 10 years of invaluable service.
Among the more than 550 guests this night were: Alex Hauszner of Canadian Air Transport Security Authority; Alan Norris; Dr. Jeff St. John; Robert and Winnie Bezemer; CWES’ Rebecca Bowman; Rosemary Atkinson; Bev Berkhold; philanthropist Gary Nissen; Patricia Hayes; Miss Calgary 2022 contestant Divyne Dokolo; espy Experience’s Megan Szanik, Nikki Lupi and Vinay Dhiman; Turning Points day-one attendee Pat Moore and her daughter Cynthia Moore, UCP president.
The event raised more than $665,000 thanks to sponsors, donors and guests. Salutations to major sponsors Norris Family Foundation, Royal LePage, Borger Group of Companies, Cask, TC Energy, Postmedia and honorary patron Scott Haggins.