By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER
The Women and Girls Fund of the Main Street Community Foundation hosted the 18th annual Wonder of Women event on Tuesday, April 23, at the Aqua Turf in Plantsville.
This year’s theme was “Moving FORward TogetHER,” explained event co-chair and the Women and Girls Fund immediate past chair, Dawn Nielsen.
According to MSCF officials, the Wonder of Women, of WOW Event, is a fundraiser “whose proceeds support grants for programs that make it possible for women and girls in Bristol, Burlington, Plainville, Plymouth, Southington, and Wolcott to improve the conditions and opportunities in their lives.”
Nielsen said that since 2001, over $500,000 has been raised during the WOW Event, and donated to local organizations.
“Last year, the Women and Girls Fund was able to award over $55,000 to local organizations thanks in large part to the success of the WOW Event,” said Susan Sadecki, president and CEO of the MSCF. “And not only that, but the WOW event is always incredibly powerful and fun, bringing individuals together who are passionate about improving the lives of their neighbors.”
Colleen Kelly Alexander was this year’s guest speaker. In 2011, Alexander, a lifelong athlete, was riding her bicycle home from work when a box truck went through a stop sign and ran her over. She details her story in her book, “Gratitude in Motion.”
Nielsen explained that the theme, “Moving FORward TogetHER,” was developed in part because of Alexander’s cycling career. Nielsen said she hopes the theme can be incorporated into each of the upcoming WOW events as “everything we do is For Her,” the women and girls of the communities the fund serves.
“And we came up with this because Colleen is a biker so it kind of just tied in with the wheels and moving forward,” said Nielsen. “She [Alexander] used the bike wheel as an analogy in her speech that it takes the whole community to help people. She needed 78 units of blood in order to be brought back to life. That, she said, equated to 250 people having to roll up the sleeves of their shirts to give blood.”
In honor of Alexander, the Women and Girls Fund hosted a blood drive on Thursday, April 11.
Nielsen said that the committee works to make each year’s event even better than the previous one, and this year was no exception. Her co-chair, Jeanine Audette, developed what was called “Pass the Purse.”
Each table in the event hall had a paper purse as part of the table decorations. The 400 guests were asked to donate whatever they could spare, which would then we placed into the paper purses. By the end of the night, Nielsen explained, $3,600 had been donated by attendees.
“We are so grateful to all those who continue to support the annual WOW Event each year,” said Audette. “Proceeds from this event will enable us to award grants to local organizations and impact the lives of so many residents.”
For more information, visit www.mainstreetfoundation.org.