Happy International Women’s Day!
About four times a year I receive an invitation to partake at a Celebrity Connected Gifting Suite. This company, owned by Gene Sheynis , packs beautiful venues with vendors all waiting to meet and greet celebrities and have an opportunity to discuss with them the wonders of their product or service.
After nearly five years of attending these gifting suites I have become friendly with many of the Celebrity Connected staff and really admire their keen eye for picking out brands. Recently, they have increased the number of companies “with a purpose” – meaning those who have a desire to “give back” with a cause. I love meeting folks who truly care about making a difference!
This time it was my friend and associate – Photographer Joy Daunis, who spotted Gems for Gems first at the Oscar gift suite. Apparently, her initial encounter with them left such a huge impression that she came “flying” over to me and said that I shouldn’t delay meeting them. I am glad I listened to Joy, as she was right- they were amazing, inspirational and “sparkly” people!
At the Gems for Gems Booth (photo by Joy Daunis of JoyDaunisPhotos.com)
Jordan Guildford is the founder of Gems for Gems. She and I had an opportunity to meet during the gift suite and subsequently spoke on the phone. She is simply the rock to this organization and someone who I think will keep Gems for Gems going for a long time!
I asked Jordan to answer some questions for me to share more about her Canadian based charity looking to have outreach in the United States. I also have copied below their powerful mission statement from their website. Please take a few moments to learn more about Gems for Gems – the Calgary Canadian group with a huge HEART!
From the Gems for Gems website:
Gems for Gems is a Calgary based Charity whose mission is to ‘Empower Women to Empower Themselves’. Through the collaborative efforts of corporations and community, this heart centered organization works with shelters to change the lives and futures of women who have experienced abuse. It is our belief that within each woman exists a hero, ready to save the day. We teach, inspire and motivate, through our three initiatives, to bring out that hero in each woman we work with….
1) The Christmas Jewelry Drive
2) The Zero to Hero Series
3) The Scholarship Program
(Question 1: Louise Sattler: LS) We met at the Celebrity Connected Oscar Gift Suite (CCOGS). Did you find any of the celebrities sharing their experiences with domestic violence (either as a victim or as a child of a victim) with you?
(Answer 1: Jordan G (JG): Yes! Our whole team was blown away by how willing so many were to share their personal stories… Many cried with us as intimate moments were shared. It was incredibly moving.
(Question 2 : LMS): What are some of the reasons you wanted to attend CCOGS? Did you accomplish those roles.
(Answer 2 : JG): We were invited to attend this past summer and our goal right from then was to (hopefully) get pictures with as many celebs that were willing and had our fingers crossed for some videos supporting the Gems for Gems cause….
What we actually received blew us away! We were never denied a picture, we have countless videos, and over 25 celebrities have given us their personal information to be able to work with us moving forward. it was just incredible and we are very much on a high!
(Question 3: LS): I know that you are asking for donation of jewelry? Why? And what is it used for?
(Answer 3: JG): Gems for Gems began with a Christmas Jewelry Drive in which women donate their ‘like-new’ jewelry to our charity. Our team cleans it and gives packages of them to the women who have survived domestic abuse, and are living in the shelters, on Christmas morning!
Gifts donated with high value are appraised and will be auctioned in support of our Gems for Gems Scholarship Program being launched this year! All donations are very much appreciated and we would love as much support as we can get!
(Question 4: LS) How long has Gems for Gems been around?
(Answer 4 JG): Gems for Gems began Christmas 2015!
(Question 5: LS): . Biggest accomplishment so far?
(Answer 5: JG) Without a doubt, the contacts we gained from attending the Celebrity Connected Luxury Gifting Suite. I am still blown away.
(Question 6 LS): Your plans for the next year? Next 3-5 years?
(Answer 6: JG). GROWTH! Our greatest desire is to positively affect the horrendous statistics on domestic abuse. We are definitely wanting to expand to the U.S.A. and will do so once our program is strong and producing the desired results in Canada. We have a very proactive approach to this staggering issue and want to create lasting change for each woman in our Scholarship Program as we assist in ending the cycle of abuse.
For our team, the most important mission is to show each woman she can be her own hero. This situation can be turned around for herself and her children. We believe education is the key to empowering each woman and, through the ability to stand on her own feet financially and emotionally, the dependency on her abuser will be severed.
(Question 7 LS): Do you have any resources for people who need your services but are Deaf or have family members with Disabilities or disorders such as Autism?
(Answer 7: JG): Thankfully the shelters are a safe place for all coming from an abusive situation. Through our Scholarship Program all applicants with the desire to turn their situation around will have an equal opportunity to be awarded a scholarship. The schools we are partnering with will echo our belief that we are all equals no matter what disabilities or disorders we have. We all have our hurdles to overcome. Some have more, some less, some can be seen and others are internal. Gems for Gems seeks to create change this area for all.
(Final Question/ LS): How can my audience in the United States help?
( Final Answer / JG). We would absolutely love to have jewelry donations sent in of any value! Items of higher vale can be sent in with a note explaining the purpose of the donation is to support the Gems for Gems Scholarship Program as mentioned above. (mailing address below)
We are also happy to take donations of any amount toward the scholarships! We are also open to naming one after a business or individual if the entire costs are covered.
Support can also be as simple as spreading the word! Talk about Gems for Gems and think about those who may wish to get further involved! We are ALWAYS open to collaborative ideas!
Gems For Gems
PO Box Seton PO
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Please go get “gently used” gems and send them in to help their cause. The address provided above!
Camryn and Louise
Gene Sheynis and Tommy Geraci