Featured Non-Profits at the Women’s Fair!

Each year, the Women’s Fair features local non-profit organizations that provide much-needed services to women, children and families in our community. Through the event, we feature each non-profit with an exhibitor space and the opportunity to speak on stage about their organization. In addition to raising awareness, we also raise funds for these organizations through the prize packages that are raffled off at the Women’s Fair. 100% of the money raised is donated equally to each organization. We look for non-profits that help women and families succeed in their every day lives. In the past, we have featured organizations like the YWCA of Missoula, the Jadyn Fred Foundation, Partnership for Children, Mountain Home, the Girls Way, Tamarack Grief Resource Center, the Playground Project, Missoula Aging Services, Zootown Arts Community Center, CASA of Missoula, the Flagship Program and Hellgate Rollergirls.

In order to support their efforts, the Women’s Fair helps to increase awareness of these non-profits so you will learn more and get involved. The work that these special organizations do would not be possible without the generous support of supporters and donors right here in our local community.

Here’s a bit about our 2018 Featured Non-profit Organizations!

Living Art of Montana

Active since 1993, Living Art of Montana’s mission is to use the arts and nature to support healing. From 1993 to 1998 they worked under the umbrella of Montanans for Quality Television and then Very Special Arts Montana. In 1998, Living Art incorporated and became a 501c3 organization. Their programs are offered to people in Western Montana who have an acute or chronic disease, are suffering the consequences of treatment, have a significant loss in their lives, family members who are affected by a loved one’s illness, and caregivers

The service programs that Living Arts of Montana provide offer participants both an occasion for social interaction in a safe non-medical environment, and an opportunity to make connections with others who have some understanding of what it’s like to deal with illness or loss. Making art offers a reflection of self that is about life. Living Art honors the truth of a person’s experience and at the same time recognizes and encourages each person’s strengths, creativity and potential. One workshop participant explained the benefit of Living Art’s services this way,

“I had no place for my emotions roiling below the surface. The poems, metaphors and different creative explorations gave me a vehicle to let them out… The jump from confusion to resolve and vision in my work shows how the act of expressing my despair and pain, free me to take the next step to images of hope.”

Over the years, Living Art has offered hands-on opportunities for expression and connection for over 7,000 people facing illness and loss. Because so many participants are carrying heavy financial burdens due to their illnesses, Living Art is committed to making their service programs free of charge.

Silver Lining Foundation

The mission of Silver Lining Foundation is to help western Montana women diagnosed with breast cancer achieve and maintain wellness of mind, body and spirit through emotional support, education, and physical activity through Dragon boat racing.

In the spring of 2015, a small group of “sisters” began gathering out of a need to support each other in the aftermath of breast cancer treatment. A few of them had met during chemo and friends referred others. This group evolved very organically, brought together by the commonality of being in the trenches together and trying to decipher how to move forward after the “battle”–post-mastectomies, post-chemo, post-radiation, post-the life that they used to know. Since that first gathering just a few years back, the Silver Lining numbers are growing all too quickly. In these past two years, they have lost 3 of their sisters, one of whom was one of our founding members. Facing the reality of this disease, they know that their sisterhood is the Silver Lining and that camaraderie and friendship is vital to their lives.

What started as a need to come together and support each other has grown to over 70 members who now meet once a month. The content of these gatherings include educational speakers, sharing meals and focusing on moving forward in the most healthful way they know how – dragon boat racing!

In 1996, a Canadian physician published a paper that challenged the long-held medical belief that vigorous, upper-body exercise would lead to lymphedema in women who were at risk due to treatments for breast cancer. That study supported the hypothesis that dragon boat paddling is not only SAFE for women recovering from conventional breast cancer therapies but also showed that dragon boating has been embraced as a complementary exercise therapy by the cancer survivors in this magical sport. From that advent of the world’s first breast cancer survivor dragon boat team in 1996, there are now more than 140 breast cancer dragon boat teams worldwide. Silver Linings is the first team representing the great state of Montana.

Silver Lining members embrace the philosophy that exercise is medicine, and have found that dragon boat racing allows them the opportunity to continue to nurture the athlete in each of them and to appreciate the value of working together toward a common goal. It is their wish not only to survive, but also to thrive.