Tag: domestic violence

Gems for Gems: I found a “Sparkly” Heart at Celebrity Connected!

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.

Media Invitation - Honoring The Academy AwardsAfter 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

Screenshot 2018-03-08 16.21.02 
(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!

RELATED:  Watch Jordan’s Jewelry Drive Video

(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!

Screenshot 2018-03-08 17.39.32

Mailing Address
Gems For Gems
PO Box Seton PO
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
T3M 1Y6
Please go get  “gently used” gems and send them in to help their cause. The address provided above!

Photos from Celebrity Connected    (Snapped by Joy Daunis of JoyDaunisPhotos.com)

Dear Mom, I think we need to leave Dad …

Dear Mom,

I think we need to leave Dad.  I know that he doesn’t mean to be angry at us –  but he is “out of control” with his drinking and abuse.  When I heard him hit you last night I was in the corner of my closet – crying.  I wanted to stop him, but I was scared.  I knew he would hit me, too! 

Today, I decided to make a bold move and  I told my teacher what happened. She sent me to see our Guidance Counselor who was really nice.  The counselor told me that she is going to call you and discuss with you a place called  WINGS.  This is a special organization that can help by getting us away from Dad and to a place that is safe.  I heard that there are a lot of programs to help you feel better and even get training for a job! You always wanted to become a nurse and now maybe you can!

I didn’t know what to get you for Mother’s Day, so I thought that this first step would be the best gift.  You deserve love not bruises.  

Love you,



The above is a letter from a child to his/her parent that is totally fictionalized. However, as a School Psychologist who has worked with children from abusive homes, I know firsthand that this could have been a real note written from any number of my former clients.  Domestic violence is a serious problem in this world and WINGS has taken to trying to help women and children within their reach.

I first learned about WINGS via my colleague Margaret McSweeney and then from Rebecca Darr, who is CEO of this organization.  I learned that WINGS is making incredible strides in helping empower women via their mentoring programs, working closely with wrap-around services with families and educating men in order to ‘break the cycle’.

Read about the services offered by WINGS

WINGS is now hosting a campaign that is to spread awareness about their services, as well as raise funds for their new facility in Chicago.  This campaign is the #WINGS2beBOLD program.  Anyone can participate in the various parts  of #WINGS2beBOLD campaign.

Option 1:

To show your support towards victims of domestic violence they ask that you upload on your social media platforms a simple message such as in the photograph below:




Option 2:

#WINGS2beBOLD also is a campaign designed to honor our amazing women for Mother’s Day.  Women who are spectacular, courageous, motivated and BOLD! These are the women who we live with, love and want to honor or remember their memory.

Today, I took a step to be BOLD and join this campaign by sending to my Mother a card from WINGS. The Mother’s Day card (pictured below) has seeds embedded in the butterflies and can be planted.  (Note to my Mom – wait until the snow melts in Western New York, first!) It felt good to send a gift to my Mom that will help another Mom – someone I will never meet but needs help, all the same.




You can help too! Simply go here to contribute to WINGS and with every $50 donation you will receive a butterfly card, too! (offer good through Mother’s Day 2016).

IMG_3035.JPGAlso, know that WINGS will continue their programs in Chicago and then soon will expand beyond the state of Illinois. They are seeking to connect with people who would make great partners for their team. Recently, I had the pleasure of introducing them to Linda Benecke from Damsel in Defense.  Hopefully, this will be a “match” that sticks!

Option 3:

Want to DONATE a TWEET? Feel free to copy and paste the tweet and image below:

Honoring courageous Mom’s for Mother’s Day via @WINGSprograminc #WINGS2beBOLD



How to connect with WINGS?

Website: http://www.WINGSprogram.com

Twitter:  @WINGSprograminc

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wingsprograminc

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wings_program/

Want to be part of the #WINGS2beBOLD campaign? Show your BOLD by donating any amount here!

NOTE: If you are in immediate crisis and/or feel threatened, please seek immediate emergency help in your area.

Disclaimer: sponsored post



LOVE SHOULD NOT HURT.. A Campaign Sponsored by 411 VOICES

This month the experts of 411 VOICES are dedicating our efforts and shining the spotlight on domestic violence and school bullying. Our hopes are to educate all and support victims.  We have listed numerous resources, including videos in ASL on the 411 VOICES website. Click here for our list
Below is a video in ASL created by Gallaudet University students. Please support our efforts by following 411 VOICES on Twitter (@411VOICES) and “retweeting” the information we post so we can help to save lives and show support to victims of domestic violence and bullying.
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