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Dignity for Diva's | A local organization based on need
A period of homelessness led Federal Way resident Nikki Gane to help those who are now going through that situation with her Dignity for Divas organization.
Gane became homeless after a divorce. She left one bad situation and went into another.
"I had nowhere to go," says Gane. "I didn't plan things out and was sleeping in my car."
During her time being homeless, Gane found that what she missed most were simple things such as a toothbrush and toothpaste. Providing these types of hygiene products is now Gane's goal.
Dignity for Divas is currently based in the Seattle area, but they have done work in many cities throughout King County, such as Federal Way and Kent, and as far south as Portland.
In Seattle they have partnered with the Seattle Police Department for events where they perform 'Diva Duty' and hand out their purple bags they call 'survival kits' containing toiletry items across the city.
"We provide a very basic need," says Becky Hart, the Volunteer Coordinator for Dignity for Divas. "It's a need that's often overlooked by those who want to do grander things to help the homeless."
Recently the organization was recognized for their contributions by the Aha Moment Virtual Tour. The tour is sponsored by Mutual of Omaha and recognizes people who have had a moment of clarity in their life. This can be anything from starting a nonprofit organization to finding their true love.
Nikki Gane was awarded a $1,000 prize for the concept of Dignity for Divas.
Dignity for Divas members believe that giving out toiletry items helps to remind the homeless that people do care about them. By doing this in person they believe they reach them on a more personal level.
"Going out there and finding these women to give bags to does a lot more than asking them to find us," says Elaine Yim, a volunteer events coordinator for Dignity for Divas. "It lets them know we're there to service them instead of them servicing us."
While Dignity for Divas is focused on homeless women, they also help men. Gane says that no person is turned away by the organization.
One of their programs supplies people they have helped with 'welcome home bags' to congratulate them on obtaining a home.
"The toughest challenge is sometimes trying to convince someone they do matter," says Gane. "You have to stay with it to really convince someone that they can turn the page and that their story isn't over."
Donations are the main source of funding for the group.
Gane hopes that one day they can expand throughout Washington and eventually cover more parts of the United States and Canada.
The Dignity for Divas founder also believes that without going through that period of homelessness she would have never started the program.
"Sometimes what happens to you is just a blessing that's happening to you," says Gane. "You just have to honor it when you're given a chance."