We all have good intentions. But when it comes to giving back, often the demands of life get in the way. Sheri Chiprout has found a way to make her intentions manifest, taking her passion for a cause and merging it with the thing she’s best at to do the world some good.
Elevate (Love) is a series of two events — a gala at the Mercury Lounge on Oct 17 followed by a Yoga Soir at Orange Gallery on Nov 24 — to raise funds for the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa (SASC).
“This year it was really important to me to start giving back and being charitable,” Chiprout says. “I said, you know, what’s the best way that I can do that and what are my skills, because I don’t have necessarily $5,000 to give to charity. I’m really good at throwing events and gathering people together, so why not use that skill?” she says, noting she received a grant from the Jewish Federation of Ottawa to fund the events.
Chiprout made the decision to work with a local charity, which led her to approach SASC Ottawa. The centre offers survivor-led services that include crisis counselling and advocacy and accompaniment. Keara Dean, funding coordinator and support worker at SASC, says we often think of sexual violence as something that happens in other countries without realizing it also happens very close to home.
Chiprout agrees: “You could be standing in line at a coffee shop, and according to the statistics, if it’s a busy morning, two people in line will have suffered from sexual violence.”
The aim of Elevate (Love) is to bring positivity and empowerment to an issue that often exists in silence. “It’s such a silencing topic,” Dean says. “It’s not something that will generally have any kind of positivity around it.”
The gala will feature a tarot reader, henna, beats by DJ Acro and a live interactive art wall. The Yoga Soir will include an Acroyoga demonstration, a flow class and guided meditation. This is particularly appropriate given SASC’s work. “Yoga has been something we’ve incorporated into some of our support group sessions, because women tend to not be in contact with their bodies, and yoga can also be used as a healing tool,” Dean says. Both events will offer prizes and gift bags, including a year of free yoga and some goodies from Venus Envy and Milk Shop.
“For us, having a member of the community like Sheri take this on and do so much of the work allows us to have more time to support the women,” Dean says. “Taking on an initiative like this is saying yes, we understand that right here in our community, women are trying to survive their daily lives and are abused and that this is important for us to stop right here.”