Cape Cod Times: Can Do

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Girls Night Out event at Puritan to benefit WE CAN draws record crowd

By Lorelei Stevens
Posted Apr. 3, 2016 at 2:00 AM

HYANNIS – Maybe it was cabin fever or the promise of discounts or a growing desire to help out but, whatever the reason, girls sure wanted to have fun Wednesday evening when a record-breaking crowd turned out for the 13th annual Girls Night Out event at Puritan Cape Cod to benefit WE CAN.

“It gets bigger and better every year,” said Puritan co-owner Jim Penn. “Women have totally responded to this event, I think because they love helping other women.”

Nearly 500 ladies of all ages and backgrounds mingled in the party atmosphere on Puritan’s main floor, shopping, talking, checking out new products and books and sampling treats offered by the nearly two dozen, mostly women-owned businesses that set up shop for the night.

“I love this event,” Lynette Walker, owner of the Yoga Center of Cape Cod in East Dennis, said as she handed out brightly colored packages of spring seeds along with information about her classes. “It’s so much fun and the women are so happy to be here. It’s a celebration of life.”

And it’s likely that some of those who attended are at more successful places in their lives thanks to the support of WE CAN’s empowerment programs. The Harwich Port organization offers classes, support groups, workshops, one-on-one career mentoring and legal and financial counseling services. Nearly all are free of charge with donations accepted.

WE CAN Board President Sharon Hawkins of Centerville, who was having as much fun as everyone else during the evening’s raffle drawings, took a moment to talk about the organization.

Over the last six years, the number of women WE CAN has served has grown from about 500 to 2,200, she said. The positive changes that come about as a result of the education and support also ripples throughout the community.

“More women and their families see the benefits and we’re helping businesses at the same time,” Hawkins said. “We serve women of all socio-economic levels and we’re a 100-percent local organization. All of the money raised stays here to serve our people here.”

During brief remarks, WE CAN Executive Director Andi Genser thanked Puritan co-owners and cousins Rick and Jim Penn for hosting the event.

“The men who support organizations like WE CAN are so important to us,” Genser said. “It takes all of us to make this organization happen.”

WE CAN, which stands for Women’s Empowerment through Cape Area Networking, was founded in 2001. The Girls Night Out event was co-sponsored by Cape Cod Magazine. All proceeds from raffle ticket sales went directly to WE CAN. Puritan Cape Cod also offered shoppers a 10 percent discount and an additional 10 percent donation on all sales to the organization.


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