A man has been voted to the position of board of director president for Central Alberta Women’s Outreach for the first time since its inception in 1984.
Jest Sidloski was elected president on Monday and has been on the board for two-and-a-half years.
He said as someone who grew up in a family that experienced domestic violence, it was an issue that spoke to him.
“I always told myself as a kid, when I got older and when I had the opportunity to do something, that is what I wanted to focus on because I knew first hand what it was like growing up in those situations,” said Sidloski, who is director of customer experience at Peavey Industries.
He said fundraising will continue to be a major focus for the outreach centre in the coming months.
“The challenge, no matter what organization or charity in the city, is always going to be fundraising. Like most charities in down economies, life gets tougher for more people and our services are more needed.”
He said it was great to see how popular the sixth annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes fundraising event was in June with a record-breaking number of men — about 200 — stepping into high heels for the one-mile walk near the outreach office.
“I think in 2017 it’s okay to be the guy to wear high heel shoes to support the women in their life. The stigma is no longer there.”
Likely more people have also become more aware of the event and public awareness is another priority for the outreach so more Central Albertans know about the programs and services available, he said.
Suicide Information & Education Services has been under the board of director’s umbrella for a few years, which people may not know, and the two organizations have been able to work together to help each other, he said.
Sidloski said he would like to see more charities in the community come together for the benefit of local organizations.
“There are a lot groups and charities in the city doing amazing things. But there are so many and a lot of them don’t connect, and there’s a lot of new ones. I’d like to see the community come together.”