Marking its 40th year providing services for women and children in York Region, Yellow Brick House will be holding its fundraising gala, March 2 at Le Parc in Thornhill.

Along with a dinner and auction, there will be a special guest speaker, Attiya Khan, a first-time documentary director and survivor of abuse.

“By featuring her and the work that she has put out in A Better Man, we really want to start educating the community about the need for prevention, and having conversations with men about the impact of their behaviour on the women and children they are associated with,” said Lorris Herenda, Yellow Brick House executive director.

Over the past few months, the #metoo campaign has gained traction, bringing a greater understanding of how prevalent some long-time issues have been.

“I think that we are definitely in the time frame of increasing awareness,” Herenda said.

“This is gender-based violence. By having an open discussion about the impact of an individual’s behaviours on others, it’s extremely important in working towards eradication of this, and building that mutual respect and understanding the full term of consent.”

With 70 per cent of its funding from the government, the Yellow Brick House signature event fills in the gaps where funds are needed for essential programs, like shelter beds and counselling.

With a goal of preventative education, Yellow Brick House will be spearheading workshops for young boys on appropriate behaviours towards girls and women.

Herenda says that “you can really help them understand the impact of their behaviour on another human being, and have them increase their understanding of hurtful behaviour, or help eliminate the rape culture attitude.”

“When these young boys start dating, they’ll be looking at these relationships with women in a respectful manner and have a full understanding of consent, before, during and after.”

Yellow Brick House has two locations in York Region, including one in Markham, where in recent months there has been a shelter bed sponsorship program.

Information about sponsorship opportunities or purchasing tickets can be found at www.yellowbrickhouse.org.