With the transition of life stages comes the luxury for some to re-purpose time that was once focused on raising children, attending school and sporting activities, being the car-pool taxi and assisting with science fair projects and homework to new and other meaningful ways (in addition to our daily life and work commitments). With this in mind, we find ourselves thinking about “what’s next”? – often concluding “giving back” to our community. This is something (especially since turning 50), I have personally given a lot of thought to.
While life offers many experiences, emotions, and memories that ignite our five senses, giving back has seemed like a sixth sense. It’s something I am motivated by, and am triggered into action with when I feel the need to answer a greater call to action that I am passionate about. As a middle aged woman, it’s a privilege to carve out capacity to giveback. Beyond the ability to help others and be inspired by outstanding individuals encountered through these journeys, giving back allows us to fulfill our purpose and lend the skills and insight we have gained along the way to help others in meaningful ways. Volunteering and giving back also allows us to remain a student. A student to learn and grow individually and as a community in this journey of life.
This is why, when I was asked earlier this year, I accepted the role as a Director on the Board for the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) and later to Chair their Gallery Ball (something I had never done before). The Ball is the premiere fundraiser that benefits the WAG Youth Outreach and Education art program, and allows hundreds of young lives to be touched with the opportunity to create, to interact, cultivate, and express themselves through art. For every ticket sold, 43 children get to experience art – a powerful call to action that touched my heart.
In this particular case, my role as Chair of the WAG Gallery Ball allowed me to integrate many parts of my life in one. This year’s theme “Haute Couture”, inspired from the infamous MET Gala in New York (that occurs The First Monday in May) came to life on Saturday, October 14. Living in such a thriving community allowed me to recruit some of the most talented and inspiring individuals in my friend and business network to participate as Gallery Ball committee members as well as to call upon to support and attend the event. The opportunity to work and celebrate the WAG together was exciting just as it was rewarding.
Coincidently, serving as Chair allowed my path to cross again with a newfound friend and fashion influence, Lennard Taylor. We met earlier this year and struck a natural friendship that has grown into collaboration on photoshoots, fall collections, and finally – in the design and creation of a beautiful dress for me to wear to the Ball. A piece of art unto itself. I was proud to wear a local designer piece, knowing it was brought together with such friendship, support, vision, appreciation of art, and a true understanding of what it means to me to be a modern, middle-aged woman.
Giving matters. Yes, it’s personally fulfilling, but it impacts more people, more families, and more moments than we can ever know. It’s easy to assume one hour of your time is a “drop in the bucket”, but each one of those hours or drops adds up to something far greater than each of us can do alone. This is our sixth sense.
The Gallery Ball successfully raised our target of funds for youth programming at the WAG. Without the support of a great team, our community, business leaders, friends and colleagues, and especially my family, this could not have been possible. I am so proud to have had the opportunity to serve, and more importantly to have been part of a community to bring art and creation to the lives of young people.
So give back. Make the time to use your talents to help contribute to or change the lives of others for the better. Your heart will be full, your mind will be enlightened, and you will have made a difference in this world.
Why? Because we can, and because we can never do too much good unto others.
Photos: Jason Halstead
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