We first met the sisters of Catherine Place soon after they began their work in 2000. But, I don't think we had seen them in a dozen years for so. Peg and I attended a special fundraising event to fill out a table purchased by our friends Mike and Jan.
The fund raising event was held at the Tacoma Yacht Club. The whole breakwater peninsula was under construction from the building to the road which is enclosed by piles of dirt and landfill. The dirt road had more potholes than most Tacoma streets . . . most. It wasn't easy to maneuver through the parking lot and drop off Peg. Two-way traffic doesn't work well on a one way path.
Add rain and mud and you have problems.
The future, however looks bright. In just a year or two, this will be a fantastic spot.
Inside the yacht club it was almost like it was before the construction. Outside the elevator was missing as was the covered drive way, but the interior was familiar.
We knew where to hang our coats, where to get a glass of wine, and we've been to enough auctions there to figure out where to bid and how to bid. The Dessert Dash alone made over $5000! (We got the cheesecake.)
Art and jewelry was the big attraction. This event was a little different in that raffle tickets where used for the major baskets.
Although art is a personal matter, the matted photographs attracted a number of viewers and bidders. Here in the Pacific Northwest there are always beautiful natural subjects to capture.
Here are Mike Mowat and Helen McGovern-Pilant. Mike is a board member with FISH Food Banks and put together his love of driving big rigs and helping the community. He found a truck and trailer that has become a mobile food bank, which saves rent and storage fees for food banks.
Helen is the executive director of the Emergency Food Network. Part of the money the EFN raises goes to FISH Food Banks.
Wine is not included at the food banks, but it was provided at the fund raiser. Normally, I might have one beer and/or perhaps a sip of wine, but at this event they had a Riesling, which was perfect. I had two glasses.
Most of the people attending the fundraiser were women. At other events I've been to at the Yacht Club, there is usually a long line at the bar for mixed drinks. With mostly women, I saw no lines. People could stop at the window, choose a glass and move on. Servers could also bring you a glass at your table. I liked that.
While Peg looked at the auction items and bought raffle tickets, I went through the food line twice. The first time through I got enough to sample and share with Peg and then went through again for what I really enjoyed the first time through.
I love bacon wrapped water chestnuts. Someone next to me in line remarked how she had never had them before, but was loving them. The sweet and sour meatballs were very good, also. There were also pieces of French bread with melted cheese. A bowl of marinara sauce was in the middle of the serving tray. I spooned a little of the meatball sauce on mine and it was excellent. The baked salmon was moist and the helpings were generous.
In short supply were the loganberries on the fruit plate. I wanted to hog them all, but held back. Each time I took three or four. They were about an inch and a half in length. One was a little tart, but the others were nicely sweet with just a touch of tang.
Ongoing individual support and advocacy where women can share their stories and speak their truth in a compassionate, non-judgmental setting,
Information, education and resources pertinent to each woman’s specific needs,
Groups and circles where women can experience insights, develop communication and leadership skills, and share encouragement and support with their peers,
Expanding women’s opportunities through mentoring, coaching, and offering interim volunteer opportunities so individuals can gain confidence and experience the positive effects of working successfully in community,
Specialized healing arts services and restorative creative arts experiences to promote self-care, relaxation and voice development,
Holistic approaches that promote emotional, intellectual, physical and spiritual health and honor women’s ways and wisdom.
Catherine Place practices highly relational methods that are central to women’s learning, healing and growth:
The Keynote Speaker was Pierce County Superior Court Judge G. Helen Whitener. Judge Whitener is active locally, nationally and internationally in various community service activities. With a strong commitment to justice and equality for all people, and a unique perspective as a woman, an immigrant, and a person of color, she speaks often on human rights, access to justice, and basic dignity and respect in judicial proceedings.
Judge Whitener was born and raised in the beautiful Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. Educated in the British system, Judge Whitener arrived in the United States at the age of 16 to attend college where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and International Marketing from Baruch College, City University of New York in 1988. She entered law school in 1995 at Seattle University School of Law where she obtained her J.D. degree in 1998. She has practiced law as both a prosecutor and a member of the private defense bar and understands the law from both sides.
Judge Whitener not only talked about giving women a voice, but acknowledging the responsibility that comes with it. She used humor and personal stories as examples that supported the work of Catherine Place in the areas of empowerment and personal growth.
Catherine Place was founded in 2000 by the Tacoma Dominican Community as “an oasis for women,” an urban center for women focusing on growth and spirituality. Located in a century-old house in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood, Catherine Place is inspired by and named for the fourteenth century Dominican, Catherine of Siena, whose passion for truth, compassion for humanity and spiritual vision changed the society of her day.
It was a nice afternoon and I'm guessing that almost everyone in the audience will return next year for the next fundraising event. In 2016 Catherine Place helped over 2,150 women. Please, make a donation if you are able.