The meaningful impact made possible with volunteers and donors through the “Gift of Safety” campaign


Throughout this pandemic, we have new reference points for the world “safety.” Certainly, we have heard about increased incidences of family violence in these long and often isolated months.

When I discovered more than 25% of my small circle of business colleagues were impacted by this, I realized there had to be another 10% who did not wish to disclose how this issue of family violence may be impacting their lives.

These realities compelled me to reach out to friends and colleagues to create a volunteer campaign for The Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter. Our goal was to raise awareness among at least 3,000 Calgarians and generate $10,000 in donations within a 4-week timeframe. It is only due to the combined help from our volunteer committee, and more than 61 donors were we able to supersede our goal by 175.6% – raising $17,560. These donations were able to provide food, shelter, clothing, and supportive counseling, and more to at least 5 families.

Paul Chambers, Resource Development Lead at The Calgary Women’s Shelter, said, “…. As the four weeks’ goal was $10,000, this tremendous campaign was a success in bringing community leaders, friends, and colleagues together. We are grateful for both the added awareness and financial support. Our sincere thanks to all those who were involved.”

Beyond educating our inner circles and followers about The Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter, using a weekly barometer to track our progress, and making direct phone calls to raise funds, Renata Reid from Sotheby’s International donated her resources and talents from her team to create an informative video which elevated awareness of our campaign and how people could donate.

This is an ideal moment to formally recognize everyone who donated but cannot be named due to privacy legislation. What we can do is extend gratitude to our “Gift of Safety” volunteer committee members, including:
Dorothy Bewernick from Great West Radon (links to each company)
Kassandra Chiarello from Mercedes Benz
Angela Gladu from Blackline Safety
Kent Hehr from HSC and Associates
Anita Lee from Catch Communications
Marina Geronazzo from Greatway Financial
Renata Reid from Sotheby’s International
I would be remiss not to also include our appreciation to members of management and staff at Blackline Safety who participated. Ute Geronazzo from Struktur Skin and Nails ran a brief fund-raise between lockdown periods and raised an additional $1,200. To everyone who contributed – Thank you!

Together we raised awareness to more than 45,000 Calgarians and achieved financial contributions of $12,250 with an additional $5,000 cheque to end the “Gift of Safety” campaign with some $17,560 to support at least five families at The Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter.
With the new year here, I wanted share a few research findings on why volunteering is an activity which provides fulfillment for so many of us here in Alberta. The April 17th, 2019 report from PROPELLUS indicates the Number One reason to volunteer is that it makes people feel they are making a difference.

Volunteering teaches people enhanced inter-personal skills, helps introduce individuals to new people, and creates the environment for a community of people to feel connected and united in a common goal. It goes without saying that parents who volunteer demonstrate the value of contributing time and energy without compensation as an important life skill. Since children will do what parents do far more readily than what they are told, we can surmise these charitable acts might lead to another generation of people contributing to society in meaningful ways.
As the year progresses, I will be dedicating more of my time to volunteer activities and hope you may be inspired to do the same. Thank you all!

Bernadette Geronazzo