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In 2014, Iris Goldfeder attended an event at the YWCA and heard a domestic violence survivor speak. The story told was so moving, that Iris felt compelled to do something and decided she wanted to do a fundraiser. She put the word out to all of her friends and asked for people to come on board with her. At the time, she was thinking of maybe a bowling event! Little did she know, it would become so much more.

A group of 5 ladies got together one evening and began discussing this idea, however, it didn’t take long for the “bowling event” to transform into something much larger. After about an hour, the Masquerade Ball was decided on. The goal of this event was not just to raise funds for domestic violence programs, but to remove the shame and stigma that often times comes with people that fall victim to domestic violence. One of those present, Michelle Zaremba, brought up the fact that you often times hear about victims “covering up” the evidence, wearing long sleeve shirts or putting on extra makeup to hide any bruises. Thus, “Unmasking” was born and it didn’t take long to realize that there are many other issues in our world today that tend to suffer the same fate, being masked and hidden.

The first Masquerade Ball was held in 2015 and since then has raised almost $50,000. While those involved in making the event happen over the years may change a bit, for Iris and Michelle, the mission is still clear and the event continues to provide an evening of fun, information, and education to all who attend, and allows the issues we feel passionately about to be brought to light.

Unmasking Lafayette is a 501 (c) (3) organization.