Celebrate Cinco de Mayo, support a great cause

Fundraiser will benefit Intervention and Crisis Advocacy Network services

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By Traci Chapman
Managing Editor

It’s a chance to celebrate Cinco de Mayo and benefit a great cause at the same time, organizers say – and they hope more people will sign up to join the fun.

That cause is Intervention and Crisis Advocacy Network – or ICAN – and the celebration is the agency’s Cinco De Mayo celebration, scheduled from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. May 5.

“There are so many worthwhile events that are happening this time of year,” ICAN Executive Director Matt Whetzel said during the March 25th Yukon Community Coffee. “But only this one will have the first annual Canadian County jalapeno popper eating contest champion.”

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ICAN has served as Canadian County’s domestic violence agency for about four decades, during that time helping thousands of survivors navigate a situation that can be beyond any kind of comprehension.

ICAN’s founder, Dr. Mari Fagin, will be the special guest at the May 5 celebration, Whetzel said.

Tickets to the event are $55 each, and more sponsors are also still welcome. The event will be held at the old Canadian County Fairgrounds, located at 220 N. Country Club in El Reno.

To register or for more information, visit www.icancrisisnetwork.com/cincodemayoevent.

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A group of women in a study class at University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma founded ICAN in November 1980, Whetzel said.

“They saw that there was a need for rape victims to have access to support and other emergency services,” he said.

A few months later – in February 1981 – the organization officially kicked off as the Women’s Service Center of Chickasha; however, in 1985, board members determined that name was too limiting, not just geographically but due to the people who sought assistance from the organization.

“It was the fact that not just women, but also men and children, were receiving services – and across a wide area that included not just southwest and central Oklahoma but even other states,” Whetzel said.

That led initially to a January 1986 name change – to Women’s Service and Family Resource Center; in 2015, the organization became ICAN – Intervention and Crisis Advocacy Network.

“Our philosophy is ‘to intervene in times of crisis; advocate for victims of abuse; and network throughout the community to end domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking,’” Whetzel said.

ICAN has offices in Canadian and Grady counties – in El Reno and Chickasha, respectively – and services as a partner with Canadian County District Attorney’s annual Crime Victim’s Vigil, as well as with Cardinal Point Family Justice Center; it is also part of the Canadian County Coalition for Children and Families.

A 24-hour crisis line is also available at 1-800-734-4117. More information is also available via email at elreno@icancrisisnetwork.com or by calling (405) 262-4449.

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