La Bella Notte – In Honour of International Women’s Day
Mercasa Banquet Services at Rossini Lodge was filled with smiling faces, wonderful food, men and women dressed to the nines, and a catwalk of models strutting their stuff, on the evening of March 10th, for Nova Vita’s – La Bella Notte.Support Nova Vita is a not for profit women’s shelter in Brantford, serving Brantford and Brant County with holistic client-centred residential counselling services for abused and homeless women and their children. Since 1983, they have run these programs, and each year they hold several events to raise much needed funding to help end the cycle of abuse. Last year 255 women utilized Nova Vita and its services. The goal for this event was to raise $3500 to replace six beds in the shelter in hopes of being able to serve even more women this year.
This was the inaugural event for La Bella Notte and it was an incredible success, with over $11,000 raised. Attire for the fashion show was provided by: Closet Couture Boutique,Debbie’s Basic Black, Nina-Brie, Trends on Grand, and The Cheshire Cat. Guests could be heard remarking on how lovely each model and their outfits were. The antipasto bar and desserts were provided by Mercasa Banquet Services, in collaboration with SWEET Bakery, and Petit Gourmet Food Company. Each item was delicately prepared and was enjoyed by everyone. The event featured a live auction hosted by The Auctionista, which had each attendee enthusiastically outbidding one another in support of Nova Vita.
The evening also featured speeches from two survivors of domestic violence. The first speech came from a woman named “Melody”. She moved to Canada with her husband, barely spoke English, and was the victim of domestic abuse. After Children’s Aid was brought in, she was moved into Nova Vita. Her experience with Nova Vita staff and services helped her cope with her trauma and gave her the skills and tools she needed to move on. Years later, she now speaks fluent English and lives a healthy, independent life, free of violence.
The second speech was from a young man named Austin. When he was a teenager, his mother, his sister, and he, moved into Nova Vita. He found the experience traumatic, while he understood why they were there, he didn’t like that they were. It wasn’t until he was an adult, that he realized how much that experience had helped him grow and understand his situation. He now proudly volunteers at Nova Vita, working with youth, sharing his experience with others from a similar situation.
The event brought out many emotions from the crowd, immense empathy for victims and their stories and extreme joy for the success of the fashion show and money raised. Nova Vita is an essential service in our city, so make sure to Be Seen supporting them.
Submitted by: Joshua Wall
Photography by: Belinda Bee J. Stap-Clements
To see more of her work, please visit: Belinda J. Clements Photography