Shimmy Mob Tackles Abuse

Shimmy Mob organizes an annual “Flash Mob” type of event, the largest event of its kind by the total geographical territory covered in one day. Through it, the organization creates awareness and raises funds for shelters for victims of abuse in participating communities around the world.

Francesca Anastasi, also known as Sabeya, is a former international choreographer, instructor and performer. In 2010, she learned of a dance studio owner who was criticized by competitors for doing a dance flash mob. Francesca couldn’t stop thinking about it. She thought there must be some way to unite the competitors and get them to put aside their differences to work together for a cause. Having survived abuse herself, Francesca decided to give back to the community and focus on helping shelters for victims of abuse.

The original Idea was to do a local Vancouver flash mob. A date was chosen, and local expectations were set. As they were getting ready to launch, other areas got wind of it and wanted to join. The first year, 35 locations participated, with Taiwan being the farthest away. Francesca was caught by surprise by the fast growth. Participants were excited and told her that they looked forward to doing it again the following year. And so, it became an annual event.

2018 is the eighth year the event will be held. So far, the teams around the world have raised close to half a million dollars. Francesca sees a potential for more and she will begin seeking corporate sponsorships, while focusing on a broader perspective.

It will always be Shimmy Mob’s mandate to help shelters; the funding helps but still cannot fill the demand as people are often turned away. But Francesca realizes that, by the time people reach a shelter, they have suffered abuse, whether physical, psychological, or both. Abusive situations are the root problem. A majority of abused people suffer from depression and insecurity, and feel emotionally stuck as victims. Very few make it through unscathed. Meanwhile, others don’t get the help they need.

Francesca’s vision is to provide training programs for people who have gone through abuse. The programs will be to get the survivors back on their feet and become as strong as possible. They will build their self-worth and leadership skills.

In addition, Francesca wants to create more awareness within communities that help is available. If you are in an abusive relationship, now is the time to get support. Many people stay in abusive relationships because they don’t recognize them as such or they feel they deserve it. Francesca wants to change this by creating more awareness.

Corporate sponsorships will support Shimmy Mob in creating more programs that stop abuse. Sponsors will help cover the operating costs of establishing new programs.

The Shimmy Mob event happens every year on the second Saturday in May. New in 2018, a second event will be added, around the September/October timeframe. The events have always attracted women, but for the past few years, there have been more men and children participating as well. You don’t have to be a dancer to participate; as a registrant you will have access to training videos and live rehearsals.

In Francesca’s words, Shimmy Mob’s mission is to help people to “become the best you can be”.

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Alison Wheatley

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