Calendars for a Cause
What started as something funny on Facebook has turned into a community fundraiser and positive PR for the NKY Women in Blue.
In 2016, a group of northern Kentucky female law enforcement officers published a calendar focused on strength, empowerment and encouragement with proceeds to benefit a local women’s shelter. The first calendar was so successful, the group is publishing a new one for 2018.
“Julie (Marzheuser, an Edgewood Police officer) posted a link on her Facebook page of a North Carolina fireman’s calendar,” said Fort Mitchell Police Detective Jill Stulz, laughing. “So I clicked on it and it’s this stereotypical calendar with buff firefighters in half their uniform, and they’re greasy and holding puppies…”
Stulz did more research and learned that the fire department has published the calendar for years and runs a successful fundraiser to benefit a local charity.
“It got me thinking, ‘If they can do that, why can’t we do something like that here?’” Stulz asked.
Stulz pitched the idea to Marzheuser and then to her chief before contacting other northern Kentucky women in law enforcement to request volunteer participants. Marzheuser admitted there were a few jokes and jabs when people initially heard the women were making a calendar exclusively of females in law enforcement, but once the product was published, the comments were overwhelmingly positive.
The first calendar raised more than $3,500 for the Women’s Crisis Center in Newport, Stulz said. The 2018 calendar will benefit Welcome House of Northern Kentucky.
“This calendar is about empowering and strengthening women, and that organization really focuses on getting women back on their feet after bad situations,” Marzheuser said of the Women’s Crisis Center.
“The Welcome House helps the homeless and primarily serves women and children,” Stulz added, “so it stays with the same theme.”
Following the success of the 2016 calendar, Stulz said several new officers volunteered to be photographed for the 2018 edition. The new calendar features 13 female officers from 11 northern Kentucky law enforcement agencies.
“I like to do this just because we all get to meet people we normally wouldn’t see,” Stulz said. “There are only 41 female officers in northern Kentucky … so we had ladies meeting together who had no idea about the other one. Which is good, at least, to have a new point of contact in another agency if you need anything.”
The officers are pictured in the calendar not in uniform, but in everyday athletic wear. Covington Police Sgt. Jennifer Colemire said this portrayal of the women makes them more approachable.
“We’re always going to be different from the males,” said Colemire, who appears in both calendars. “I see a lot of the women at the Welcome House and they remember you. They are drawn to women in law enforcement because they feel like they can connect with us better, maybe, than our male counterparts.”
“The big thing is that this shows we are strong and we can handle the job just as well as a male can,” Marzheuser added. “For some people who lack that confidence or maybe need that little push, this can show them that not only are we able to do our job, but we can be physically fit and we can be women.”
Stulz, Marzheuser and Colemire all acknowledged the responsibility of the image they portray to young girls who see them in the calendar and as role models in their communities.
“One of our county attorneys sent me an email after the first calendar saying she’s really excited about it and buying one for her daughters,” Stulz said. “We had a vendor show a couple weeks ago and a community member who came in to fill out a pre-order explained how her granddaughter is really drawn to female police officers and thinks we’re really cool. I’m going to get a calendar and have everybody sign it for her.
“I like being told things like that because it makes us feel good to know little girls are looking up to us,” Stulz continued.
The 2018 calendar is available for pre-order through the group’s NKY Women in Blue Facebook page. An image pinned to the top of the page provides an order form and contact information. Calendars can be paid for using PayPal, or checks can be made out to Covington FOP #1 and mailed to the address on the form.
All photography, graphic design, hair styling and makeup were donated to both the 2016 and 2018 calendars, and sponsorship to assist with the costs of printing and mailing has made the calendar possible, Stulz said.
“We also have to thank the chiefs and sheriffs for letting us do this,” Marzheuser said. “We didn’t put our agencies or last names on it, but they still do have to approve it. The fact that there has been this much support from all of them has been really great. And, on the first one that they trusted us that what we were doing was going to be a positive thing and not put the departments or officers in any negative light was great.”
In the first run, Stulz said the group is printing 500 calendars and roughly half of those were sold or spoken for at press time. However, if demand requires it, Stulz said more can be printed.
“This has been a good thing,” Marzheuser said. “Some agencies are really good about getting out in the community and this is just another avenue. With there not being that many of us females, it’s fun for all of us to get together and do something positive for the community.”