NORMAN – The Women’s Resource Center will return with its annual gala – featuring speaker Elizabeth Smart this year – to raise awareness of the effects of domestic violence, sexual violence and stalking.
The gala will take place at 7 p.m. on October 15 at The Nest at Terra Verde, 800 36th Ave. SE in Norman. The theme for 2021 is “An Evening of Hope with Elizabeth Smart”.
Smart, author, speaker and survivor, will deliver the keynote address at the event. Smart was abducted in 2002 and detained for nine months, vowing to give hope and empowerment to other survivors upon her return.
Tickets for the gala became available July 1 and cost $ 100 per attendee. The event will also include a silent auction and a wine raffle.
WRC Development Director Faith Walkley said she was delighted the organization could host the gala this year after the 2020 suspension due to the pandemic. The center did not know if the gala would take place this year.
“The nature of the abuse is that it is done in secret. The ability to provide secure and confidential services often means our agency is not as visible in the community, ”Walkley said. “This event is so special to us because we come together to celebrate the work we do here at the WRC and to celebrate our community that supports us so well.”
The WRC will closely monitor cases of COVID-19 as the event draws closer, she said, and adjust protocols accordingly and let registered attendees know what to expect well in advance.
Smart joins a growing list of notable guests the gala has hosted over the past few years.
“In previous years, we have had actor Ed Harris, author Leslie Morgan Steiner, Reverend Lori Walke and State Senator Rob Standridge as keynote speakers,” Walkley said. “We try to bring in guest speakers who have a connection to our community, our mission and / or our agency. “
The gala generally had a big effect on the centre’s funding, an impact Walkley expects to increase this year.
“A fundraising event like this allows us to use funds where they are needed. Most of our funding is project-based, ”Walkley said. “It also gives individuals the opportunity to learn more about the Women’s Resource Center, meet the board and staff, and find out about opportunities to connect with the WRC through volunteerism or need. specific that we may have. We have set a high goal of $ 100,000 this year.