The elegant SLS hotel in Beverly Hills was the venue for the A Window Between Worlds fundraiser sponsored by Wendy Ida Enterprises,Inc. It was an evening to help end the silence surrounding domestic violence and celebrate heath and life.
"Art heals," says Cathy Salser, the founder of A Window Between Worlds. A former victim of domestic violence, Cathy, herself, found escape in the arts and realized how healing it was to express her feelings that way. The art was a safe haven for her and her voice. As a result, 21 years ago, Cathy began going to battered women's shelters teaching them how to get rid of the rage and anger they felt through the art.
Now, she and her foundation go regularly to over 200 shelters in the Los Angeles area and have expanded to 29 states. A ten-year old boy who'd been a victim of domestic violence, and seen his mother murdered, enrolled in the program and was able to get rid of his anger, stress and pain through the art. 63% of boys who have seen their mother's murdered, end up killing the man who killed their moms. This boy did not. "I know that I have made a difference in the lives of many women and children who have been victimized," said Cathy.
Wendy Ida, now a trim, energetic 60 year old, who had previously been a victim of domestic abuse herself, and had left her home at 43, overweight and depressed, to launch a new life. After her sister developed a brain tumor, Wendy made a decision to start anew. "I saw a picture and I knew what I wanted in my life." She began her journey by getting into fitness. At the age of 56, she became a champion body builder, fitness trainer, nutrition expert, coach, motivational speaker, and author. Her book, Take Back Your Life became an Amazon bestseller in November 2011. "It's never too late to change your life," she says. Driven to help others and encourage them in a healthy lifestyle, she feels that she can change the world. "It's my reason for living."
Determined to pass the word against domestic violence was John Marshall Jones of the California Black Health Care Network. "I'm very much in favor of Obama's new health care act as it opposes gender discrimination. Whereas domestic violence victims used to be consider having 'prior illness' when they tried getting health insurance for their trauma, now they can have the protection that they need and get the medical attention they deserve."
Also among those present were Madonna Grimes, Suzanne DeLaurentiis, Ronnie Watson, Sandra Vidal, Michelle Delamor, Minna Valance, Christopher David, Jamie Luner, Hanala Segal, Josh Nasar, Kelly Hyland, Laura Baron, Leilani Sarelle, Jilda Shernoff, Audrey Salzburg, Lin Morel, and others.
Herself a victim of domestic abuse, Leilani Sarelle said "It's not the end of your life. You can pick up the pieces and go on. There is an alternative."
Sponsors for the evening's events included doTerra, So Divine -Ardyss, Sex Butter, The Women of Global Change, Aveda, Scentsy and CEO Space.
Music for the catered affair was provided by Vic Henngan, DJ. Later, we were entertained by DC5 Band. Auctions, both silent and live, brought in a only modest amount for the cause despite the excellent quality of merchandise including a Tahitian pearl and diamond necklace by Lenore Jewels, a Wendy Ida workout package, Green Valley Ranch and Resort Spa, seats to a Dodger's game, jerseys from Magic Johnson and Blake Griffin, Heiressta Hats by Wende Williams, a Mary Kay summer basket, an Old Pasadena restaurant group certificate, Avenda products basket, Cottoniere Basket, Epione Beverly Hills, Love Dragons Lingerie, limo service with Ms. Daisy, Inc, and a vacation at The Lodge at Torrey Pines in La Jolla.
Lynn Rose, MC and singer, belted out a blues song for us as we enjoyed performances from Wendy and her many admirers, songs glorifying women by Michelle Delamor, and watching Wendy Ida receive not one, but two, Guinness World Record certificates.
Wendy's parting words to us were - "Decide what 'take back your life' means to you? How bad do you want it?' and 'Shift into gear and make it happen."