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A day for women on Saturday

By Staff | Oct 27, 2008

“Domestic violence happens to people from age zero to 99,” stated Linda Steinhauer. “We want to bring a message to the public of how it can affect you and your family.”

Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, together with Women of Worth, will be sponsoring the Fourth Annual Women’s Expo, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 1 at Blue Earth Area Middle School’s Pemberton Auditorium.

This year’s expo is a passionate project for the group of women who call themselves ‘Women of Worth.’ The group is comprised of committee members Sonja Willmert, Marcia Milbrandt, Linda Steinhauer and Chris Teskey. Also working on the Expo are Carole Scovill, Becki Steier and Deb Weiderhoft.

“We need to have the community join us in this endeavor to educate people about domestic violence,” says Willmert. The method they are taking is to host the Women’s Expo.

Steinhauer states the Expo should not be looked upon merely as a day for women to shop, but to realize that they too could some day be affected by domestic violence.

The day’s schedule will include motivational speaker Anne Nelson, a former senior executive sales manager in a leading international direct sales company and Mrs. Minnesota 2005, Jennifer Sanneman, who will be speaking on child abuse.

Also on the agenda for the day will be entertainment by Jan Spitzack and DeeAnne Helfritz, food catered by Julie Stevermer and an opportunity to browse and shop at over 40 vendor tables. The vendors are hand-picked by the committee and their wares range from nutritional and beauty products to jewelry, purses and accessories.

Sonja Willmert and Marcia Milbrandt envisioned the first expo in the Ag Center four years ago. They had 20 vendors, one sponsor and a goal merely to expose people to direct sales, and for the guests to do a bit of shopping.

Now the group is trying to make a difference in the community by tackling the topic of domestic violence through a more interactive and educational approach. The subject not only has captured the heart of many of the participating vendors, but also of the eight sponsors. With Deb Weiderhoft, Faribault County’s Victim Services Program Coordinator for the Committee Against Domestic Abuse (CADA) as a resource person and linking, through their sponsorship, with the Faribault County Law Enforcement Agencies, it should prove to be a very educational program.

Profits from the Expo will remain in Faribault County. The funds raised will be applied toward the purchase of gas cards, bus tickets and the cost of motel stays for those finding themselves in need of protection. The monies will get people through their critical, immediate needs. Some past funds have even been applied to obtain a Notary seal for Deb Weiderhoft when she needs it while working with victims.

“Funds are necessary to supplement the needs of victims. It is not the intent of the local group to build a “Safe House” here, but to supplement the needs of CADA,” says Willmert.

“We’re trying to increase the self-esteem in women and to connect the dots by being the information resource for them,” says Willmert in summary of the group’s purpose for holding the Women’s Expo.

Tickets are available at the door on Nov. 1, or may be obtained in advance at Scovill’s Dental Office in Winnebago, Blue Earth’s Thrivent Office and at KBEW, or by contacting any committee member. With a donation of a personal item for victims within Faribault County, a discount is also available at the door the day of the Expo.

Every woman is a woman of worth. Whether one is focused on a career, retired or busy being a mom, the 4th Annual Women’s Expo will have something of interest for everyone.