TOCO's 10th annual Herstory Weekend has even more to offer

News-DemocratMarch 26, 2014 

The Tapestry of Community Offerings will present the 10th annual Herstory Weekend on Friday and Saturday, continuing its tradition of helping single parents get an education by raising money for college scholarships.

The family event, which features music, dance, film, art, food, a silent auction and more, is from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday at The Governor French Academy.

"All ten of the events have been on Main Street in Belleville," said Kim Vrooman, executive director of the local non-profit organization. "It's tied to Women's History Month, but it's all about equality and we encourage them to attend."

Tickets are $8 at the door; $6 with a donation to TOCO's thrift show either in advance or at the door.

"We want this event to be an inclusionary event, not exclusive," Vrooman said. "That's why we keep the ticket price so low. We want everybody, the whole family to feel welcome. Even those who are strapped for cash and those who have been helped by TOCO. Can't afford a ticket? Give TOCO a call and we'll see what we can do."

Leading the entertainment lineup again this year will be Kim Massie, an award-winning jazz, blues, R&B, gospel and rock singer from St. Louis. She will perform with her band, The Solid Senders, from 9:30 to 10:45 p.m. Saturday.

"All of our acts feature women or the work of women, whether they're musicians or dancers or artists," said Vrooman, who also sings and plays guitar with EarthSol. In the past, the later acts were more adult oriented. But that has changed with the move to Governor French. The entire event is family oriented.

TOCO was founded in 2002 when Vrooman and fellow musicians organized a camping festival to raise money for the Shelter Shop, which had been damaged by fire. The shop supports the Violence Prevention Center of Southwestern Illinois.

At that time, TOCO stood for Twin Oaks Camp Out because the festival was at Twin Oaks Golf Club. Leaders later changed the name and in 2007 obtained non-profit status.

"TOCO assists regional children and families in need through community partnerships and takes a progressive role to promote the community pledge to reduce, reuse and recycle, all in order to build a strong, diverse and sustainable community," according to its mission statement.

The organization opened the TOCO thrift shop in 2010 to support its own programs and those of other charities. The shop is at 825 West Main St. in Belleville.

Herstory Weekend funds $1,000 scholarships for two Southwestern Illinois College students each year. The idea is to help single parents who might be struggling financially and need a "break" now and then to reach their full potential.

Beyond entertainment, Herstory Weekend will include free haircuts by Studio H Salon in Belleville for people willing to donate at least 8 inches of hair to Beautiful Lengths, which makes wigs for cancer patients. Sign up at or call 618-257-8626.

There will also be a silent auction, with such big-ticket items as an electric guitar and weekend getaways to jewelry "the anyone can afford," Vrooman said. A photo booth, raffle, 50/50, satellite TOCO shopping, an assortment of tapas, a cash bar sponsored by Pitcher's and soda and water by the makers of Ski are all part of the event.

New this year is a prom dress drive. Bring your gently worn cocktail/formal/prom attire to give to girls who wish to go to proms but lack the financial resources.

Four women will be honored as TOCO's Making A Difference: Women of the Year for 2014. The are:

Pearl Washington, making a difference in community advocacy and spiritual awareness. She is a Beacon board member and president of the board of Radiance Community Church in Belleville.

Nancy Friederich, making a difference in arts and education. She is a visual artist and Southwestern Illinois College instructor and an important part of Herstory Month at SWIC.

Beth Darr Keserauskis, making a difference in business and education. She is a former assistant vice chancellor for university relations at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and current assistant vice president and chief marketing officer for the St. Louis College of Pharmacy. She is president of the board of Camp Ondessonk and one of TOCO's community partners.

Debra Mize, making a difference in social services. She is the former director of prevention for the Violence Prevention Center of Southwestern Illinois and is the executive director of Phoenix Crisis Center.

Herstory Weekend is presented by TOCO, KDHS 88.1 Community Radio and Triple Jam Live Concert Productions.

At a glance

What: 10th annual Herstory Weekend, a fundraiser for single parents' scholarships benefiting students at Southwestern Illinois College

When: 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday

Where: The Governor French Academy, 219 West Main St., Belleville

Admission: $8 per night at the door ($6 in advance with a donation to the TOCO thrift shop); $11 for the weekend.

Information: Visit, call 257-8626 or e-mail or call 618-257-8626.



7:30-8:30 p.m. Broken Cookie

8:40-9 East End Girls/Haircuts for Cancer Survivor Wigs

9:15 St. Louis Hoop Club

9:45-10:45 Sarah Jane & the Blue Notes

11 Exotic Rhythms Bellydance

11:30 The Oncomings


7:30-8 p.m. Phoebe Lieberman

8-8:45 Bella & Lily

8:45 TOCO's Woman of the Year Awards; East End Girls/Haircuts for Cancer Survivor Wigs

9 St. Louis Hoop Club

9:30-10:45 Kim Massie & Solid Senders

11 Aalim Bellydance

11:30 EarthSol featuring Kim Vrooman

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