The Jazz Generation will help Catholic Family Services of Toronto in its efforts to end woman abuse. CFS is hosting a Jazz Night fundraiser Nov. 24 at Hugh’s Room Photo courtesy of Marilyn Campbell

Family services jazzes it up to end abuse

By 
  • November 14, 2015

Members of Toronto’s jazz community are coming together for one night of swingin’ and scattin’ to help end violence against women and their families.

On Nov. 24, Hugh’s Room, one of Toronto’s most famed venues for live music, will host a fundraiser for the Catholic Family Services of Toronto Foundation, featuring live music from Canadian saxophonist Enrico Galante and renowned jazz singer Dan Madison, along with The Jazz Generation directed by Jay Campbell, featuring vocalist Melissa Smeets.

“It’s a fun event. We want people to have fun,” said Denise Araiche, Jazz Night organizer and board member of the foundation. “It’s a really great venue for music... We’re hoping to sell out.”

This is the first fundraiser that CFS Toronto is hosting to support the wide spectrum of programs it provides for abused women. “Previously they’ve had events, like Masses to End Woman Abuse, and it wasn’t geared to fundraising as much,” said Araiche. “With this money, we can put more money towards the programs that we have. Because we’re reliant on government subsidies... we want to make sure that we have money to help all those women, men and children in need.”

Araiche said that CFS Toronto is dependent on government subsidies and donations from ShareLife. The board wants to make sure there is another source of income to support its programs, but also to expand them.

Executive director Denis Costello said CFS Toronto is looking to fund two major programs: the Women Helping Women mentorship program and a new initiative with the Toronto Catholic District School Board.

“We’re going to be going out into the high schools to basically talk about the issues of abuse, not just physical abuse, but emotional abuse, verbal abuse,” said Costello. “We think that if we can catch women in abusive relationships at a younger age, less damage. It’s a very exciting initiative and that’s where most of the money will be going towards.”

Program manager Shereen McFarlane and her staff are already scheduled to visit four high schools this month and are working with more schools.

CFS Toronto’s programs handle about 700 women abuse cases each year. CFS Toronto welcomes families and cases from all denominations and provides a range of services that help supplement their progress along the way. Some of the services include individual, couple and family counselling sessions, men and women support groups and mentorship programs.

“What could be more Catholic than helping men to stop what they are doing that is a sin?” said Costello. “And what could be more Catholic and more Christian than helping somebody who has been sinned against to recover from it? It’s profoundly part of our Catholic faith. That’s why I’m utterly committed to it.”

Tickets for Jazz Night are $40 in advance and $45 at the door. For details, call Hugh’s Room at (416) 531-6604.

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