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A community of empowered women, that's Kaleo

Kaleo's work is important to nurturing single moms and their children throughout St. Albert, and even beyond. It's just as important to help Kaleo through volunteering and otherwise. An upcoming fundraiser will support this non-profit's work as the pandemic has provided a surge in its client base.

DETAILS

One Starry Night

Hosted by emcee Danny Hooper and featuring duelling artists Lewis Lavoie and Giselle Denis

The action-packed online event will include charcuterie and wine (optional), live music, door prizes, special performances, and a live auction featuring artwork created by Giselle Denis and Lewis Lavoie that evening.

Runs from 7 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 17

Tickets are $100 per household and can be purchased by visiting kaleocollective.ca/event/one-starry-night

Empowering women to be leaders in their community is important, vital work to be sure, but it does come at a cost. As non-profit Kaleo Collective has just experienced one of its busiest and most satisfying years of offering programs to single mothers (due in large part to COVID-19), it has also realized the importance of having good friends along the way and good, strong donations to keep everything afloat too.

Its upcoming fundraiser will be the best way to offer your own support while getting a good glimpse into the organization, and having a ton of fun along the way.

While the pandemic shuttered much in-person programming, Kaleo opened up its online doors and opened them wide. It now has eight programs on its roster including its ever-popular resource course and its support group. There are a few counselling programs that are also growing in popularity. The results of its resilience to widespread health restrictions and determination to lift women and their children up is that there has been a 300-per-cent increase in its client base. More and more women have astonishingly been reaching out from all over the world to gain access to the Kaleo boost.

“It's just wild how women are seeking that community and finding us – a little charity in St. Albert – because there really isn’t anything like this anywhere else that we can find where there's a charity that's specifically for single moms that gives them community and programming and looks at the woman as a whole woman,” expressed Kaleo’s founder Layna Haley, listing off the Philippines, Africa, the United States and Mexico as home countries for some of her new program participants.

Kaleo is a Christian organization that believes motherhood is one of the highest callings because it comes with so many challenges. Being a single mom multiplies those challenges, so it strives to help women to meet them through fostering their skills, offering support, and making connections to other valuable community agencies.

Each year, it makes a positive impact on approximately 500 women and children and that figure is rising. Along the way, there have been offshoots. Women have become their own community support network, swapping clothes and goods. Last year, Haley set up a makeshift store in her garage so her clients’ kids could shop for Mother’s Day presents safely – physical distancing style.

The big goal is to offer a hand to build those women to become happy, healthy and headstrong for their and their children’s sakes.

“We empower women to be leaders within our community. To see the initiatives that they come up with on their own for each other has been just incredible, how they have come together in this pandemic, to love, support, encourage and grow,” Haley continued.

Helping Kaleo out is just as important. These trying times have also led it to make firm friends with Going To Them Home Church, which is not so much of an actual church as it is a like-minded group of Christians that has been gathering for religious discussions and enrichments at each other’s houses over the last decade, according to group member Bobbie Mumby.

Just like any other church in name or in practice, its members also serve the Lord by serving people. Going to Them has donated time, money and goodwill through offering childcare and meals during pre-pandemic Kaleo events, being friendly and supportive faces to all and at every opportunity.

Kaleo thinks of them as guardian angels.

“I think as a group, we've always had a focus of wanting to help the community ... and really wanting to have some meaningful connection there. When we heard about Kaleo and Layna and her vision, it was really inspiring,” Mumby stated.

“We just love what she's doing. Helping moms and kids and us being able to do something to help her do more of that is really, really awesome.”

Having childcare during events has been a godsend for Kaleo; offering that childcare has been its own blessing for Going to Them. Mumby has three kids – childcare was perhaps a natural fit for her. How wonderful it is then that those three always loved coming along to play games with the clients’ kids.

Its One Starry Night event on April 17 should offer a major boon to Kaleo's funding while providing evidence of its growing network of friends and supporters. You might catch Mumby or another Going to Them member delivering charcuterie and wine for the evening's treats.

"This fundraiser is really important to us, and will allow us to help more women in our community, and allow our organization to continue to meet their needs, and the things that they're asking us for. We need all the help that we can get but the great thing is that the community of St. Albert is, I think, one of the greatest and the people here are so supportive. We have seen that time and time again where they have risen to the occasion. Anything that we need, the community has really helped to get us there."

 

Scott Hayes

About the Author: Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.
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