Regina – YWCA Regina is thrilled to announce that celebrated Canadian comedian, author, and mental health advocate, Jessica Holmes, will be speaking at the 2019 Nutrien Women of Distinction Awards Gala. Jessica’s hilarious take on life’s challenges and devotion to helping others live well is sure to keep the Gala’s audience entertained on May 2, 2019.

Jessica Holmes has brought the house down opening for giants such as Ellen DeGeneres, Russell Peters, Jerry Seinfeld, and Oprah Winfrey. Her productions have earned her a “Platinum Award” at the Worldfest International Film Festival and nominations for Gemini Awards, and she has appeared at Just for Laughs and continues to perform comedy across Canada. Jessica is also known for her work in films, including Mooseport, Citizen Duane, and Moonpoint, and every year you can meet her new characters on the Air Farce New Year’s Eve special.

“Jessica Holmes is a favourite among Canadian households,” says YWCA Regina CEO, Melissa Coomber-Bendtsen. “Her presence at YWCA Regina’s 2019 Nutrien Women of Distinction Awards Gala will amplify women’s voices and provide opportunities for women to be inspired.”

The Nutrien Women of Distinction Awards highlight the diverse accomplishments of women from communities all across Southern Saskatchewan. This year’s addition of a keynote speaker continues the tradition of celebrating women, while at the same time raises crucial funds for programming and services that are made available to vulnerable women and families in our community.

“As our largest fundraiser of the year, we rely on the Women of Distinction Awards to continue serving and supporting women and families,” continues Coomber-Bendtsen. “Last year, YWCA Regina turned away over 3000 folks due to a lack of space and resources. Our goal is to expand our reach and continue providing the life-changing services that the YWCA is known for.”

Tickets for the 38th Annual Nutrien Women of Distinction Awards taking place on May 2, 2019 are on sale now! To purchase your ticket or a table of 8, please visit

Regina – YWCA Regina is hosting Coldest Night of the Year, an annual fundraiser to end family homelessness in the community, on Saturday, February 23, 2019 at St. Paul’s Cathedral. During the month-long campaign, donations will be accepted by individuals who sign up to walk a route 2, 5, or 10 kilometres in length through Regina’s Downtown and Heritage neighbourhoods.

“Family homelessness is often invisible,” says Melissa Coomber-Bendtsen, CEO at YWCA Regina. “Women and families will couch surf, staying at various locations for short periods of time. It’s not the same homelessness that we see on the streets of Regina and must be addressed in a different, more thoughtful way.”

Funds collected during the Coldest Night of the Year campaign will help YWCA Regina programs bring hundreds of women and children in from the cold. YWCA Regina shelters are at maximum capacity, and in 2017, My Aunt’s Place (Regina’s only 24-hour emergency homeless shelter for women and families) turned away 1161 women and 412 children due to a lack of space.

“At My Aunt’s Place, we see the diversity of family homelessness and create spaces where the walls of isolation can be broken down,” continues Coomber-Bendtsen. “Creating a sense of community and setting women and families up for a successful transition into stable, affordable housing is part of our mandate. We truly want to see these families succeed.”

Coldest Night of the Year is a nationwide event organized in communities across the country to bring awareness and raise funds in support of family homelessness and poverty programs in Canada. To learn more about Coldest Night of the Year and to sign up a team, please visit

Over the past number of weeks, we have followed the Supreme Court of the United States nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s, Senate judiciary committee hearings. We have heard Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony, alleging that she was sexually assaulted by Judge Kavanaugh while they were both in high school. We have heard the voices of the other women who have come forward, alleging incidents of sexual violence and harassment committed against them by Judge Kavanaugh. We have heard them, and we believe them.

The decisions made in the U.S. are felt locally, and today, our Senior Director of Programming, Kendra Strong-Garcia, had the chance to talk a little with CTV Regina about the educational programming that YWCA Regina has to offer our community to instill values of consent, healthy relationships, and healthy masculinity during the developmental stages of a person’s life.

“(We) really try to advocate and educate and promote women and young girls to come forward and share their accounts and their allegations and feel safe,” she said. “We tell them that we’re going to believe them and then something like this happens, which is the exact opposite.”

This is Keisha Bell. She lives in Regina, works in administration, and, in her free time, she likes to smash cars.

Smash-Up Derby is a sport in which drivers vie for the top spot by damaging each other’s vehicles, bumping to pass one another, and completing laps. The activity is popular among car enthusiasts and car destructionists alike, but few women see themselves behind the wheel of the car itself.

Keisha has set out to change that.

By participating as the lone woman in her first 8-car race and earning a third place finish, she is breaking the glass ceiling that prevents women and girls from having a space in traditionally male-dominated sports and industries. “The best feeling was getting out of my car after the race and meeting a group of young girls”, Keisha says. “They were so excited to give me high fives and tell me that they wanted to grow up to race like me.”

It’s true that inspiration plays a significant factor in encouraging women and girls to imagine themselves in places they’d never thought possible. Women with mentors receive more promotions than men, but 63% of women have never had a formal mentor in their lifetime. Keisha is in a position to send a message to women and girls everywhere that their gender “shouldn’t be the thing that holds them back from meeting their goals.”

It’s Gender Equality Week and YWCA Regina is celebrating the accomplishments of women as they endeavor to make Canada a better place for everyone. Join us in congratulating Keisha on her win, and using her story as an example of women overcoming obstacles in pursuit of their dreams. Representation and diversity really do matter.

It’s the power of community and partnerships (like the one we’ve developed with local consignment store, Loom & Magpie) that elevate the experience that vulnerable women have when accessing YWCA Regina services.

Women and families rely on our services during some of the most challenging points in their lives. Making quality fashion accessible and affordable provides women with the opportunity to confidently enter a job interview or secure a safe place to live. It has the potential to change lives.

The next time you clear out your closet to make space for some new treasures, please consider Loom & Magpie and YWCA Regina. You could make someone’s day so much brighter.