DAUGHTER'S TRIBUTE TO HER FATHER: A LASTING LEGACY
BY KATE YACULA
Winnipeggers are known for having some of the biggest hearts around. At one point in the mid 2000’s Winnipeg ranked first among provinces and territories for the percentage of the province’s total income donated to charity (Stats Canada). So, clearly, when we put our minds and hearts to giving back, some really amazing things happen.
Some of you may have known the late Jerry Maslowsky as the most recent CEO to Variety, The Children’s Charity of Manitoba (and prior to that as the Director of Marketing for the Winnipeg Football Club for 15 years). Jerry had a very special place in his heart for Variety, and devoted himself to helping others. He was not only admired, respected but extremely loved by the community. His passing left an emptiness in so many hearts, but his legacy also lives on in so many, especially his daughter Kaylee. Jerry had a dream to create an event to honour Mothers, but unfortunately did not have a chance to see it come to fruition. That’s where Kaylee comes in! She wanted to honour her father’s dream of this special event, so she created the Variety Mother’s Day Brunch in support of The Jerry Maslowsky Memorial Fund. The fund helps to raise money for Variety’s special needs program, which was very near and dear to Jerry’s heart. Kaylee said, “My Dad was the kindest, most selfless man I’ve ever known. For as long as I can remember, he always went out of his way to help others. After he passed away, I made a promise that I would continue his legacy of giving back to the community, and this event was the perfect way to keep his memory alive.”
Getting an event off the ground is a major feat, especially in the first year- it’s a lot of work! Since the planning was happening so close to Jerry’s passing it was a very emotional and stressful time; however, all the hard work paid off and the event raised $5,000 for Variety families! The next year Kaylee formed a committee and had increased support of family and friends to help grow the event. “I’ve been very lucky to surround myself with a group of wonderful, talented women who’ve helped me to plan this event, and after three years, it has morphed into something I never could have imagined” Kaylee said. The event to date has raised over $20,000 for Variety. “I feel so incredibly grateful, and the fact that other’s are so willing to support this event in honour of my Dad and get so involved means a lot to me” said Kaylee.
When I asked Kaylee what advice she’d give to first-time event planners she said, “Simply start small. Event planning requires a significant amount of organization, so narrow your focus and don’t get carried away with the details”. She recommended that you shouldn’t try to plan an event on your own. You need the support of others who bring fresh ideas and different perspectives. Kaylee also pointed out, “I think there’s a common misconception in our community that only the wealthy give to charity. Especially with this event, I’ve seen so many people with little who want to make a difference. It’s so wonderful. I’ve become passionate about encouraging everyone that there are plenty of ways to give back.” Kaylee says she's hopeful that the event will continue to grow, and become a well-known staple in Winnipeg.
I asked Kaylee if she could share some more candid moments about her dad. She said one of her most favourite memories was the Father-Daughter dance at her wedding in 2012 where they surprised guests with a choreographed routine. “My Dad was so nervous to make everything perfect, but everyone loved it and were cheering, singing and dancing with us. I will never forget the look on my dad’s face- it was pure joy.” Kaylee said she wants to continue to share that feeling of joy by helping others in anyway she can in her dad’s name. I couldn’t leave Kaylee without asking what the best piece of advice was that she’s ever been given… She said, “Coincidentally, from my Dad. I’ve always been a perfectionist, like him, and would frequently become overwhelmed for taking on too much. My Dad was always there to remind me that everything doesn’t always have to be perfect. That it’s okay to say no, and to always be proud of your achievements, no matter how small. When I start feeling overwhelmed, I can hear his voice in the back of my head saying “I’m proud of you.”
This year’s event had over 150 in attendance including Mike Ogilvie from The Bachelorette Canada who handed out roses to all the moms. Guest also receive a partial tax receipt from their tickets. If you have any questions or if you’d like to volunteer next year or donate, you can email the brunch at email@example.com & follow on Instagram @varietymombrunch!