“We will continue to bridge the social and economic divide, we will build families and strengthen communities. This is a movement not a moment!"
The words of Shannon Christensen, executive director of Mamas for Mamas, rang through the Laurel Packing House last night during the non-profit 007 themed fundraiser.
As Shannon spoke with infectious passion about Mamas for Mamas and the thousands of women in our community who desperately need help, the room was inspired by a determination to lend every coin to the cause.
Part of that inspiration to lend a hand comes from Shannon’s love for our local mothers, however, the other part comes from our certainty that every dime raised throughout the event would be used to directly benefit our community and our world. From diapers for local mothers to universal childcare, Mamas for Mamas truly cares.
Shannon’s speech was preceded by a warm introduction from international celebrities including Jillian Harris and Mick Foley. Jillian Harris, a Vancouver based reality TV show star, spoke warmly about the community fostered by Mamas for Mamas and the importance of supporting mothers throughout such a difficult time. As an important part of our local non-profit, she has promised a year's worth of Pampers to Mamas for Mamas.
Mick Foley, an American retired professional wrestler and general manager of WWE’s raw, was a surprise video introduction. Throughout his warm and enthusiastic speech, one of the WWE’s greatest wrestlers identified himself as a proud ‘mama for mamas’.
While Jillian Harris and Mick Foley offered excellent introduction, Shannon’s speech truly stole the show. With infectious, determined and inspired words, she expressed the necessary need to support and facilitate strong mothers, both local and international.
Shannon warmly recognized many in her community, including her sisters, mother and grandmother. Her grandmother worked tirelessly in developing countries to provide resources to abandoned children.
“I’m flabbergasted by what Shannon has accomplished,” said Shannon’s Nana. “Not that I didn't think it was possible but it always makes me speechless to see my expectations realized. And it all starts with one person. You can't fix another person until you've fixed yourself. Now Shannon has taken her organization world-wide and I'm so proud of her!"
Throughout the Casino Royale Extravaganza, fundraising was conducted in true 007 style.
Gambling tables were set up by Kinsmen and chips were offered to guests. As someone trying her hand at Blackjack for the first time, I had a lot to learn however friendly dealers and informative, fellow gamblers made the experience one of a kind evening to remember!
There was also something called a ‘wine wall’. At this wall, guests would bring a bottle of wine and drop off $20. This would enter them into a competition to win all wine on display! Alcohol, provided by numerous local wineries, flowed freely throughout the evening. There was also a champagne reception and martinis, shaken and stirred.
There was also a live auction that bid off the jersey of local hockey hero Shea Weber. This jersey was sold for $2000 to Stacey, a guest.
Stacey's statement truly sums up the spirit of the evening. While it was fantastically organized by a team of determined volunteers, had an excellent DJ, plenty of fun activities and delicious food and alcohol, it partied with a cause.
It didn’t matter whether you’re entrenched within the Mamas for Mamas organization or a newcomer just looking for a great night out, the spirit of the evening swept you away. It didn’t matter whether you understand what it is to raise children or, like myself, have never come close to this challenge. Stood in that room, surrounded by women and men from all backgrounds, you felt the ripples of something that’s hard to fully express.
Much like an activist perched on the edge of a protest, you felt the beginnings of a movement that was going to change you and the world around you. And more than this, you felt so fortunate to be part of this revolution.