Women's Day media contest offers $1,000 grand prize

Chilliwack students are invited to create an art piece in just about any medium for a competition to raise awareness about violence against women. The prize: up to $1,000 in cash.

In partnership with Chilliwack-Hope MLA Gwen O'Mahony, the Chilliwack chapter of Soroptimist International, a woman-focussed non-profit, is celebrating Women's Day on March 8 with a showcase of multimedia pieces under the banner "Standing Together: A new generation united against violence."

Middle and high school students are given "free reign" to submit entries in a variety of formats, including print, photography, video, online, and PowerPoint by 5pm on Friday, March 1. First prize is $1,000, second is $500, and third is $250. It's an opportunity to engage the younger generation in the ongoing issue, explains O'Mahony.

The judges will be members of the local media, including Jennifer Feinberg of the Chilliwack Progress, Sadie from The Hawk, Star FM's Lisa Stevens, and Geoff Edwards, from multimedia company

"We want to do something meaningful for this work, as something (the students) can actually put on their resume at the end of the day. But at the same time get recognition from the community itself," says O'Mahony.

All submissions will be displayed for a grand event on Friday, March 8, 1pm–4pm, at St. Thomas Anglican Church Ministry Centre (46048 Gore Avenue).

Half art show, half women's expo, the day will include a host of other activities, including presentations by some of the community's female leaders. The final list isn't confirmed, but so far bankruptcy trustee Sheila Smelt and personal trainer Tanja Shaw have signed on. Local businesses and non-profit organizations can also set up tables to network.

And some of the Chilliwack Huskers will be there in support.

"If the violence cycle stops at the young person, then it's not going to continue through adulthood and into the next generation," says Anita Rogers, president of the Chilliwack Soroptimists. The group has been in the community for 76 years, and organizes an annual scholarship competition, in addition to other events that bring attention to issues that involve women. This is their first Women's Day event.

The event is inspired by the Be More Than a Bystander campaign, of the BC Lions and the End Violence Association of BC. Province-wide, groups are joining forces to end violence against women, including the annual Moose Hide campaign by the B.C. Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, which brings men to stand together against violence toward Aboriginal women and children.

Chilliwack students can email media contest entries to: or gwen.o'

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