There’s never a shortage of parties to attend when Halloween comes around. For a soiree to stand out, it has to offer something unique. The Senior Pride Network (SPN) is looking to do exactly that with its fundraiser dance, Time After Time: HalloQueen on Oct 23, 2015.
“It’s an opportunity for younger LGBTQ folk to get together and socialize with older LGBTQ folk,” says Lezlie Lee Kam, an event organizer and co-chair of SPN’s advisory committee.
This year’s event looks to build off last year’s success, which was the first time SPN held an inter-generational dance. According to Lee Kam, about 300 people attendedand SPN raised over $3,000. This year SPN hopes to raise $5,000.
“We’re definitely on track,” says Laura Gibbon, a specialist in education and training at The 519 and a member of SPN’s advisory committee. WoodGreen Community Centre and Supporting Our Youth are also helping to organize.
Proceeds will go toward hosting a series of forums, the first of which will happen on April 23, 2016, in co-operation with The 519. The first forum will be an end-of-life discussion. SPN had previously organized conferences, but Lee Kam says the group will be shifting its focus toorums, which allow for discussions that are more current and topical and are cheaper and faster to implement. SPN intends for these forums, and all of its other events, to include elements of inter-generational interactions.
The 519 provides administrative support for SPN, as well as consulting with the group and allowing them to use the centre’s space. The 519 also provides ongoing staff support, with two to five staff members helping out during any given month.
Recently, that’s meant helping with outreach for the dance. The 519 has used its own networks to spread the word through social media, posters and media outlets. Lee Kam says word of mouth has also been effective, as has visiting Toronto’s 10 long-term care facilities. SPN’s efforts include securing transportation to and from the event. “We are making a concerted effort to make sure that there will be representation at the dance.”
From what she saw at last year’s event, Lee Kam says the 20-plus and 70-plus crowds showed up in strong numbers. This time around, she expects even more will attend, enticed by comedy, burlesque and drag performances and raffle and door prizes. She hopes people will have fun and that SPN will see a spike in new members. “People see who we are and what we do, and then they become interested in contributing.”
As for the feel of the night, she says the goal is to have an intimate atmosphere that will make everyone feel comfortable. Gibbon agrees, and sees the dance as an important event.
“This has been, sort of, for The 519 and Senior Pride Network, a very flagship inter-generational event,” she says. “At its very core, we want to provide a space where people of all ages can interact and learn from each other.”