Giving Tuesday is an annual event that charities and companies across the country participate in to fundraise for the holidays.
The Younique Foundation hosted an in-person event last year but has gone virtual, as well, making the adjustment during a COVID-19 pandemic easy, Executive Director Chris Yadon said.
“So far, it’s been smooth,” Yadon said. “I think that people are used to, at this point, virtual events so people know how to do them and are getting better at doing them in this COVID environment. Things have gone relatively smooth this year.”
The two purposes of the event are to fundraise money and raise awareness around sexual assault and its impacts, with the latter being one of the main missions of the foundation.
“The more people that know how to prevent sexual abuse, the more likely we’ll be able to keep our kids safe,” Yadon said. “The more people that are aware of the impact of sexual abuse, the more people are willing to help those that have been abused find healing in their lives.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic taking a toll on mental health and more, some reports have shown higher domestic violence statistics, as well.
There is a lot of unknowns during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Yadon added statistics about sexual abuse may not be available for many years.
“We do know that domestic violence, overall, has gone up significantly,” Yadon said. “There’s been lots of reports and studies on it during COVID. Sexual abuse fits under that domestic violence category. What we can’t say definitively is that that increase in domestic violence has been sexual abuse. If domestic violence has gone up, it definitely leads us to believe that sexual abuse has increased as well.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has also led to isolation, something that hurts the healing of many sexual abuse survivors. Community engagement has a significant impact on the healing of those survivors, and the lack of in-person interaction has had an impact on those who have already been through abuse, according to Yadon.
While the pandemic shutdown some in-person services from the Younique Foundation, several of those services were already available online or virtually.
That ability to pivot quickly played a big role with those seeking services from the foundation.
As for the celebration and concert, Yadon said the foundation is grateful most of the artists participating were kind enough to donate their talents and time. The list of artists includes The National Parks, Mat and Savanna Shaw, Alex Boye, Lindsay Ell, and Meg Meyers.
Mat and Savanna Shaw emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic and went viral, building a large audience on Youtube. Yadon said to have them is a big deal, considering how they have caught people’s attention across the country and internationally.
“The goal of our music has always been to share hope and spread joy, so we love performing opportunities that amplify good causes and organizations,” Mat Shaw said in a press release. “The Younique Foundation is special to me, especially as a father of two girls. The work it does to help women feel safe and whole and beautiful is worthy of our support. We are thrilled to be a part of their Giving Tuesday event, and to be supporting the great work it does.”
The event will start at 6 p.m. on Dec. 1, and residents can gain entry through a $7 suggested donation for each ticket. While $7 is the entry level donation, people are also welcome to donate more.
Informational sections will be aired in between artists to talk more in depth about the services the Younique Foundation offers and the impact that those services have on people.
A private donor has also pledged to match up to $100,000 in donations.
While Yadon is looking forward to the entertainment on Tuesday, he is more excited to hear from those who benefit from the foundation’s services.
“When you have someone that has received the services share their story and share how it has impacted and changed their life, that is extremely rewarding, fulfilling and inspiring,” Yadon said. “I’m super excited for the entertainment and excited to share what we do but I’m most excited for these survivors to talk about how it has changed their lives.”