Batavia Woman's Club raises $40,000 for two nonprofits at annual fashion show

  • At the January meeting, the Batavia Woman's Club event chair Cynthia Kieckhefer, second from left, and club president Mike Burke, second from right, present donations of $20,000 each to Mutual Ground Advancement Director Kathy Melone, left, and Executive Director Michelle Meyer, and Rise From the Ashes executive director and founder Stephanie Austin.

    At the January meeting, the Batavia Woman's Club event chair Cynthia Kieckhefer, second from left, and club president Mike Burke, second from right, present donations of $20,000 each to Mutual Ground Advancement Director Kathy Melone, left, and Executive Director Michelle Meyer, and Rise From the Ashes executive director and founder Stephanie Austin. Courtesy of Batavia Woman's Club

 
Submitted by Batavia Woman’s Club
Updated 1/21/2020 1:26 PM

The Batavia Woman's Club marks its biggest profit yet from their annual fashion show and luncheon Nov. 2.

The $20,000 charitable gift was presented to Michelle Meyer, executive director and Kathy Melone, advancement director of Mutual Ground.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Mutual Ground serves adult and child survivors of domestic and sexual violence in their pursuit of safety and healing. For individuals needing information and support, counselors are available on the 24-hour crisis hotline or in person at offices in Aurora, Batavia, and Yorkville. Individual and group counseling are available in English and Spanish, at no cost to participants.

In any given year, Mutual Ground provides services to approximately 1,500 survivors, about 400 of which are children. Additionally, 40,000 students in 104 schools are provided prevention education about sexual abuse and assault.

Another gift of $20,000 was presented to Stephanie Austin, founder and executive director of Rise From the Ashes which provides free and low-cost legal services to financially struggling women trying to navigate marital and custodial issues in order to escape domestic violence. It serves Kane and neighboring counties.

Three hundred and seventy area residents attended the Batavia Woman's Club 11th annual luncheon and charity event in November at the Q Center in St. Charles.

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"We are thrilled by the overwhelming support of our friends, family and community. Every year, we have more guests, more donated items for auction, more raffle baskets, and make more money for these important and vital charities. And we have more fun in the whole process!," said Cynthia Kieckhefer, event chairwoman. "I think this year the children on our runway stole the show! Our little burgeoning models were sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters. And were they happy to be up there, dancing and striking poses!"

According to Kieckhefer, the event has evolved into a blend of fun, fashion and philanthropy. The club has placed a special focus on these two charities.

"Mutual Ground has been filling its beds all year. It has opened an office in Batavia as well. As our club organized this event, talked to people in our community, solicited auction items, we were shocked at the incidence of domestic violence around nearly every turn we took," Kieckhefer said. "Domestic abuse is such a hidden problem, and the Batavia Woman's Club together with Mutual Ground is bound and determined to keep our community talking about this."

"Rise From the Ashes provides literally lifesaving legal help for women who can't afford to hire attorneys to help them sever the ties that bind them to domestic abusers. Stephanie Austin started this organization after her own firsthand experience. What a brave and generous young women. The club is so happy to have found her and her good work," Kieckhefer said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The evening featured a surprise flash mob, a DJ, husbands in tuxedos selling tickets, and raffle baskets and silent auction items. Fashions were provided by Batavia's Special Occasions on the Avenue, Paula's Couture Consignment and Six + Cypress, Geneva's Flair on 3rd, Liz and Kate, and the Little Traveler and St. Charles' Directions in Clothing.

"Our models were ladies, gentlemen and children from all over the Fox Valley. We had one club member model her 'mother of the groom' dress while her daughter showed off her gorgeous bridal gown. This family was a hit and had fun reliving their family wedding experience on our runway," Kieckhefer said. "We also had a Scottish kilted son of another club member, with his wife and daughter wearing Indian saris from their time spent in India. I really hope and believe that anyone who attends our event has a good time and feels the good will and vibe in the room. Happy people having a good time will be more generous. And that is what we aim for, a win-win all the way around."

To request services from Mutual Ground call (630) 897-0080 or the business office at (630) 897-0084 for information. For more on Rise From the Ashes, visit rfta.co.

To learn about the Batavia Woman's Club, visit www.bataviawomansclub.org or www.facebook.com/BataviaWomansClub/.

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