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Women Cents adds up to 10 years of giving

"Do you remember middle school?" asked the director of Remedy. "For most of us, there are some good memories, but for many of us it was a nightmare."

Remedy is a non-profit program that provides a safe place for middle school students to go after school where they can receive mentoring and help with things ranging from building relationships to completing their school work.

Remedy Director Jamie Staples spoke to Women Cents, a group that is celebrating its 10th year of connecting, educating and giving back to the community and the organizations that serve it, such as Remedy.

This Red Wing non-profit organization focuses on connecting its members through bi-annual meetings, educating those women who attend their events about issues going on in the Red Wing community, and giving a little bit individually to collectively support a cause each meeting.

"People are very wanting to support different organizations that come in and learn about them, and donate time and some cash," said Melanie Velasco who attended Tuesday night's event to benefit 10 organizations and kick off Women Cents' next decade.

This education piece is what makes Women Cents unique to other groups who focus mainly on raising money to support organizations, said June Rodgers, Women Cents board member.

Over the 10 years, education has grown from raising awareness to organizations important to the community to broad topics such as cyber bullying, where a variety of different organizations share stories on the issue.

Other organizations that received exposure Tuesday at Women Cents included ArtReach, CARE Clinic, Red Wing Area Food Shelf, Girls on the Run, Hispanic Outreach, HOPE Coalition, Red Wing School District, SARA and Youth Outreach.

"I don't know a lot of groups like it that get together and combine the social aspect but then heighten community awareness around the issues of the community," said Staples.

After an organization presents a program to educate the women about the issue, the women are given a chance to chip in and donate. These donations go straight to the organization because sponsors of Women Cents have donated all the materials needed to operate, from room rental to printing costs. The eight board members who plan, organize, and coordinate the events also are volunteer workers.

Owner of the Indigo Properties, Carolyn Hedin, has been attending Women Cents meetings and has given her sponsorship of the organization. To Hedin, being a sponsor means they support the organization and the cause.

"If you look at some of the groups that have been sponsoring this since the beginning, they are all about the community and that's what this is all about," board member Kim Wiemer said.

Monetary donations are just the beginning of the contributions that members of Women Cents have made over the years. They also have volunteered their time and abilities with the different organizations.

"With approximately 50 to 60 percent of participants needing scholarships, the support that we have received from organizations like Women Cents, many of whose members who have also been involved in Girls on the Run as volunteers, is not only greatly appreciated, but it's crucial, and we are very thankful," Girls on the Run Director Katie Ramsted said.