October 11, 2013

The 2013 Women of Influence event was held October 10 in Halifax and raised more than $5,000 for Avalon Sexual Assault Centre. Approximately 60 women attended the event which was hosted by Louise O’Haran and Bonnita Mitchell in their Kitchen Design Plus showroom.

“We are absolutely thrilled with the turnout and results,” says Louise O’Haran, owner of Kitchen Design Plus. “It was wonderful to see so many women united together for a great cause.”

O’Haran says the inspiration for the event came one day when she arrived at work one day. The Kitchen Design Plus showroom is located on the ground floor of the same building as Avalon Sexual Assault Centre. O’Haran says, “I saw a gentleman waiting in the lobby with a helpless expression on his face. I asked him if he had someone upstairs and he replied ‘My daughter.’ At that moment, I knew we had to do something, because he said to me ‘I don’t know what to do for her.’”

Irene Smith, Executive Director of Avalon Sexual Assault Centre, says events like the 2013 Women of Influence mean so much more than financial support. “Working in the field of sexualized violence can often be isolating because it is an issue that many people want to ignore. Simply coming out to an event like this and acknowledging that sexualized violence is a problem that needs to be addressed is incredibly encouraging for our staff.”

The 2013 Women of Influence included a wine and cheese reception, a silent auction and a wonderful performance by the Blue Engine Quartet.