“GirlGang grew really organically,” says Danielle. “We were a group of friends who were involved with giving back to our community in different ways. All six of us co-founders have worked in the non-profit industry at one point in our lives. We were all doing our own random acts of kindness, giving back, supporting other organizations, volunteering, and back in February of 2018 is when we took it to a new level and planned our first fundraising event – Galentine’s Day.”
They secured sponsors, sold tickets, gathered community donations, and ended up raising $2,100 for the Lethbridge YWCA Harbour House – a 30-bed emergency shelter for women and children who are involved in abusive intimate partner relationships. “Since then we’ve worked really hard to legitimize what we’re doing,” says Danielle. “We formed an executive committee, developed a strategic plan, a mission and a vision.” They launched a website, created merchandise to sell, and host additional fundraising events as well as participate in other community collaborations. As a result, they’ve given more than $5,000 back to the community in the past year.
At the second annual Galentine’s Day in February, Girlgang Kindness raised $2,800. The funds were in support of the YWCA Harbour House and the Amethyst Project, which gives survivors of sexual assault the option to have evidence collected and preserved up to one year later while they recover from the trauma and determine if they want to pursue the matter in court.
They host another major fundraiser in August - an outdoor patio party called Get the Fundraiser Outside. Each year, one co-founder has an opportunity to select a charity that is near and dear to their hearts. In August 2018, the $2,000 raised helped Lethbridge Family Services Immigrant Services programming and cultural celebrations for newcomers settling into our community.
But what they really focus on, more than just the big events and giving money back, is their mission, explains Danielle.
“We really believe that being kind first starts with yourself and then filters out to others, but also that kindness is really the small actions that we do in our daily lives, with our words, and the way we treat ourselves and other humans. So, we really focus on those small acts of kindness, giving our time not just our resources, and trying to foster spaces for other people to come together and join us to do good in the community.”
Some of those initiatives last year included a Coulee Clean-up, gathering an all-ages team of volunteers to remove garbage and debris from the river valley. On International Women’s Day they handed out roses and love notes to women they passed on the street, female business owners and supporters of GirlGang Kindness. During Random Act of Kindness Day, they donated socks and hats at the Lethbridge Shelter, left notes of kindness on cars in downtown Lethbridge, handed out donuts to those in need, and delivered care packages and flowers to friends and family who needed a boost. For their participation, they were awarded a $500 Kindness Grant, which they donated to the Lethbridge & District Multiple Sclerosis Society.
To learn more about GirlGang Kindness, visit www.girlgangyql.com or follow their Facebook page.