Sunflower POWER reaches for the sky to raise funds

Pittsburgh Organization for Women in Early Recovery (POWER) will hold its fourth annual Sunflower fundraising campaign September 12 at PerLora on the South Side to celebrate September as national recovery month. The furniture store will offer Chairs for Charity for a live auction.

“We presented seven chairs to seven local artists and told them to paint whatever they felt inspired on the chairs. Now everyone has the opportunity to bid on a functional piece of art,” said PerLora Designer Craig McDonald.

Fundraising co-chair Sherree Goldstein went all over the city. “To get people’s attention, we did pop-ups. We were trying to think outside the box, so we took the chairs to places like to Square Café, Bistro 19, Caesar’s in Shadyside and Nine on Nine, sat on the street and talked about them to whoever passed by. People were very inquisitive and curious, so I think it worked,” Goldstein said.

The volunteer Sunflower Models will be mingling with their faces painted with special makeup to resemble a sunflower, styled by the nationally recognized Izzazu salon.

Sunflower POWER was planted by co-chair Mary Prezioso in 2009 as a way to expand POWER’s outreach in the community and celebrate national recovery month. It dovetails the other annual PROMISES fundraiser luncheon. “Sunflower POWER appeals to artists who want to connect with the artistic community, whereas the PROMISES luncheon appeals to a different affluent demographic,” said Madelon Edelstone, associate & development director.

The sunflower motif has historical significance. As American pioneers traveled westward, women scattered sunflower seeds that flourished despite harsh conditions into beautiful flowers. These flowers guided other courageous women and men traveling west. The women of POWER are also pioneers forging their way through recovery from addictions as they strive to rebuild their lives.

“We hope to raise between $15 and $25,000,” Goldstein said. Funds will go toward programming for women in treatment and renovating the new halfway house. POWER is the only nonprofit treatment center in Pittsburgh specializing in women recovering from drug and/or alcohol abuse. It operates on an annual budget of 3.2 million and serves more than 1,000 women per year in both inpatient and outpatient treatment.















Published by Digging Deeper

I have a TESOL degree from Iowa State University and taught for three years at Kansas State University and one year at Chatham University in Pittsburgh while earning a Master's degree in Fine Arts in creative writing. I am currently a stay at home mom for two children and have returned to Des Moines, Iowa, where I grew up. Religion has always been a part of who I am but only in the last 10 years have I considered myself a genuine Christian. In my writing I explore issues of faith and how it relates to living life, sharing my faith and my personal journey of growth in my daily walk with God, so I'm not a theologian or a seminary student, but just enjoying uniting faith with a love for writing.

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