VIU Student Press

Nanaimo Women’s Centre nia jam fundraiser

A local nia jam. Photo courtesy of Nanaimo Women's Centre.
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The Nanaimo Women’s Centre is hosting a Nia Jam and fundraiser on Saturday, December 16th at the Wellington Hall on 3922 Corunna Avenue in Nanaimo.

Nia jam is a type of dance that incorporates moves from martial arts and mixes them with modern dance moves. Nia is an acronym for non-impact aerobics, and it can be practiced by people of all ages, body types, skill levels, and by people with disabilities as well. The Nia Jam night will be hosted by two Nia instructors, Anne Marie Lisch and Tristin Campbell. The Nia Jam night is by donation to help raise money for the Nanaimo Women’s Center, (NWC). It will also be a night to celebrate community. There will be food and drinks provided.

“Our goal is to raise $10,000 for the Women’s Centre through a variety of fundraising initiatives,” NWC Board Member Kerri Isham said. “The dance is by donation. If people can’t donate, they don’t need to. They can just come and dance with us.”

The NWC is run by the Nanaimo Women’s resource society. They provide a safe place for women to reach out to other women in the community. The NWC also provides clothing, food, and feminine hygiene products to lower income women.

“We are working with the most marginalized women in Nanaimo,” Isham said. “A lot of the people come for companionship, and right now, to get out of the rain.”

Currently, the NWC is in need of winter clothing and household items. To help women that are transitioning into new housing, the NWC has a Homes to Homes Program. The Homes to Homes Program provides women with housing basics like towels, blankets, linens, and dishes to help women adjust to their new home.

Men are not allowed in the NWC. Some of the clients at the NWC are exiting abusive relationships, or may not feel comfortable around men. However, men can still be involved in volunteering at the NWC. There are opportunities to help with cleaning days, and helping to move furniture. Isham said that men can also help by sharing information about the NWC, and speaking up for women in their day to day lives. Men can also help by contributing to the NWC’s t-shirt fundraiser.

Every fall the NWC sells shirts in black and pink that read “This is what a feminist looks like.” The shirts are available in all sizes, and there are different fits available for men and women. In the spring, the NWC sells the t-shirts as tank tops. They are available for $25 at powerupworkshops@gmail.com .

The NWC is open 10am – 12pm, then 1pm – 3pm, from Tuesday to Friday. Women who are not in need of the NWC’s services are welcome to come to the centre to connect with the community. Volunteers are needed at the NWC. Any women looking to volunteer can visit here.

“All of the participants are so grateful,” Isham said. “And the staff there are incredible. They are doing some very hard work and probably aren’t appreciated as much as they should be.”