Now I get it! It's how the planet, the sun, the moon and all the stars line up that makes April and November so titillating. It's like all my normal bio-rhythms are over-ridden by an inescapable urge to buy shrubs and perennial plants in April. And when it comes to November, it's like every nerve in my body is focused on making this coming Christmas the most wonderful, most beautiful and the most rewarding yet. Thankfully, in November I can get some help; it's called the YWCA Holiday Showcase.
The YWCA Holiday Showcase Premier Opening is scheduled for Friday at the Trolley Center in Fort Dodge. Doors open at 5 p.m. with a live auction to follow at 7 p.m. Featured again this year is our fabulous Holiday Gift Shop designed and appointed by Sharon Neumann-Lee and her volunteer staff. Our Christmas tree walk is the finest in the area with trees donated and decorated by businesses, individuals and families. Others put together baskets, gift sets, and specialty items designed to please every holiday shopper. Still others use their artistic flair to put together a table scape every family would be pleased to use for special occasions or just because. Several dollar raffles are being planned, and regardless when you join us over the Holiday Showcase weekend, you will be delighted with the bargains, the sights and sounds of the holiday season.
Tickets for the Friday Premier Opening are only $10 and are available from any board member or at the YWCA. Attendance at any other time during the Holiday Showcase is a freewill offering only. We'll have a great lineup of items for the live auction; everything else - trees, wreaths, garlands, holiday baskets, table scapes and specialty premiums will be offered in the silent auction which will run from Friday at 5 p.m. through Sunday afternoon. Silent auction winners will be notified Sunday afternoon or Monday and items can be picked up any time before Wednesday afternoon.
On Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m. children can decorate Christmas cookies, talk to Santa and even get a picture taken with Santa for a small charge. Children are encouraged to bring mittens, hats and scarves to help decorate our mitten tree.
The YWCA Holiday Showcase is the largest fundraiser of the year for the YWCA. Proceeds are used to fund our homeless shelter for women and children. An awareness of the plight of the homeless is perhaps better understood today than in years past, and most people are able to recognize that homelessness is more an outcome than a choice. However, to re-establish individuals in self-reliant housing requires a lot of work on some things that seem only tangentially related to housing. Our residents are required to plan and prepare meals, improve their parenting skills, work and save their money for rent and deposits they will need when they leave the YWCA. They need to examine relationships and maintain healthy boundaries in their personal and business lives. And mostly, they need to build confidence in their own ability to do these things. This is really hard work for many people - not just the people living at the YWCA, but for people in general - and we have found that lengths of stay increase as the demands of the curriculum are expanded. This is a good thing; this makes the ultimate return to the community more predictably successful than it would be were this work not being done.
In supporting the YWCA through the Holiday Showcase and other YWCA fundraisers, the goals above - though unique for every client - consume the dollars we raise. We are grateful for your support and hope that you will make every effort to be part of our success at the 2010 YWCA Holiday Showcase.
Ann Davidson is executive director of the Fort Dodge YWCA.