It’s the new year which means the Haven Women’s Center of Stanislaus' second annual calendar featuring local officials and industry leaders, in high heels no less, is available for purchase.
The calendar aims to take a lighter approach to the serious issue of sexual violence as the Haven Women’s Center provides services to victims and survivors of sexual violence in the county. The calendar, titled “The Men of Stanislaus County Put Themselves in Her Shoes,” affords locals a good laugh year-round for only $20 as they will likely recognize city officials, local law enforcement, agriculture and businessmen among others uncomfortably smile and laugh — all while wearing women’s shoes.
With a site in Modesto and Turlock, Haven Women’s Center is able to accommodate several women in need in the area. The creation of the first annual calendar was precipitated by the center’s decision to host a Walk a Mile event which is a one mile race for men to compete in, but there’s one caveat: they must do it in women’s heels.
“It’s really a unique type of project,” said Associate Director of Haven Women’s Center May Rico. “Generally, funds from the agency and money from the calendar are what help to put on the event.”
Turlock City Council member Steven Nascimento, Turlock Police Chief Rob Jackson and many other local city officials and businessmen swallowed their pride and donned women’s shoes after agreeing to be featured in the calendar. While Nascimento admitted there was some awkward giggling at the onset, eventually being able to participate in a worthwhile cause won out.
“I think Haven provides great services to the community and as elected officials it feels good that it is part of our job to help support causes like this,” said Nascimento.
“By the end of the photo shoot we were ready to get out of the heels though,” he laughed.
The participation of local men like Nascimento is what makes the project not only successful, but meaningful for the organization said Rico.
“Seeing so many of our leaders in our community really caring about this issue because it’s important to them makes me feel that this agency is very supported,” said Rico. “It also sends a meaningful message to the survivors that we serve.”
Photographers Leslee Adams and David Silva, as well as graphic designers Marian and Paul Martino, donated their time to make the Haven Women’s Center calendar a reality. Those interested in purchasing calendars for $20 can do so at havenwalkamile.org as well as several local businesses.