Leaning on a community

During a season filled with giving and lifted spirits, Kolene James was troubled by a news article revealing financial woes for Juneau’s homeless shelter. Something should be done, she thought.

Using social media, James, a leader in the Woosh.ji.een Dance Group, began an online discussion with other Native dance group leaders who wondered if there was something that could be done for the Glory Hole Shelter and Soup Kitchen.

“All of us, anyone in Juneau, can relate (to the needs of the Glory Hole patrons),” James said. “Either they know of a family member or they themselves have experienced some setback in life and sometimes you just have to lean on your friends and family to pull through. That’s what we’re doing for the Glory Hole, we’re letting them lean on us.”

With donated space by Central Council Tlingit & Haida President Richard Peterson, the group of leaders met to decide how the dance groups could unite to generate revenue for the shelter in need. However, no one at the shelter knew about these efforts.

Glory Hole director Mariya Lovishchuk said she was invited to a planning meeting last week for an event she wasn’t aware existed. When she arrived and learned about the Glory Hole Fundraiser that would use space donated by Peterson, she cried.

“One of the leaders of the Tlingit and Haida dance groups picked (the Empire article) up and sent it out to all the other dance groups,” Lovishchuk said. “They decided to hold a fundraiser for the Glory Hole, and we don’t have to do anything. They just want to raise funds for our time of need.”

Lovishchuk said nothing like this has happened during her time as director.

The event will take place 5-7 p.m. Monday in the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. It will include entertainment by five dance groups, Ldakát Naax Satí Gátx’í (All Nations Children), Woosh.ji.een, Yaaw Tei Yi, Yees Ku Oo and the Eagle/Raven Dancers. Parents of the All Nations Children dancers will prepare eight batches of fry bread to be sold for $7.

Ricky Tagaban, Mary Folletti and Roz Cruise are just a few of the Native artists also jumping in to help, donating jewelry and other handcrafted garments to be sold during a silent auction.

Images of the items expected to be displayed during the silent auction can be found on the fundraising group’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/events/720504911419165/.

News of the community effort and silent auction has even reached the office of Sen. Lisa Murkowski who has donated an American flag.

“We’ve got a lot of cool moving parts,” James said. “We’re also taking winter clothing donations for the Glory Hole.”

Nancy Barnes, another coordinator for the event, said something to look forward to during the performances will be the grand entrance featuring all five dance groups and an invitational dance for onlookers to join in on. Native on not, Barnes said the invitation is for all because the Glory Hole is a service to all in Juneau and the event is about community.

On the importance of coming together for the Glory Hole patrons, Barnes had this to say: “We see the need for (the Glory Hole). You just have to drive through Juneau. When they did that open house (at the Governor’s Mansion), I saw an elder with a cane and a backpack. She was homeless. I kept thinking about her.”

Cash and check donations for the Glory Hole will also be accepted at the event.

For more information contact Nancy Barnes at 957-4588.

• Contact reporter Paula Ann Solis at 523-2272 or at paula.solis@juneauempire.com.

What, When & Where:

• Glory Hole Fundraiser

• 5-7 p.m. Monday in the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall

• Fry bread and silent auction items available

• Entertainment by five Native dance groups

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