Bauer Women Society: Empowering Young Women Everywhere

The Bauer Women Society at the University of Houston is an undergraduate business organization that focuses on skill building workshops, career opportunities, leadership and philanthropic work to promote the personal and professional development of aspiring businesswomen. The Bauer Women Society had the opportunity to engage in an outreach event at The Women’s Home. The members had a great time volunteering and sorting through the donations at The Cottage Shop. This was a great way for the Bauer Women Society to connect with the wonderful people at the Women’s Home and find a new way to give back to the community. The Bauer Women Society strongly believes that giving back is very important because it demonstrates appreciation to the community, and Bauer Women love and appreciates their community.

Learn more here: www.uhbauerwomensociety.com

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Going Bold!

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Mechelle Tran (R) with Katie Couric

 

About a year ago, Mechelle Tran was introduced to The Women’s Home.  Not long after, she jumped in with both feet and made a huge difference within her network!

Asked to help make our 2016 Crawfish Boil successful, she decided to tap into vendors that supplied her family business.  Pho Saigon, a long- standing favorite of Midtown folks in the know, is Mechelle’s family business.  Since 1998, they have been serving steaming bowls of pho to thousands each month.  So it was a natural for Mechelle to go to their seafood provider, Marine Foods Express to help pay the crawfish bill!  And they did, becoming our Crawfish Bib sponsor….talk about keeping the event clean and fresh!

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Their participation will go a long way to covering the cost of the 2400 pounds of crawfish needed for our event.  Mechelle has also reached out to several other restaurants for trays of food to satisfy our guests at the event’s VIP kickoff next week. Mechelle said she found it easy to ask for money to help our residents, because in working as a volunteer at The Cottage Shop she has seen first-hand where the funds end up and how vital they are to our mission!  Thanks Mechelle, for going bold for The Home.

You Made a Difference!

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We are thrilled to announce that as of early March, we have met the million dollar Mabee Challenge! Thanks to everyone that donated at the end of 2015 and those special last gifts that met our match.

Our $27 million dollar campaign is quickly drawing to a close with less than $350,000 to go.

The roof goes on at another permanent supportive housing complex, owned and managed by The Women’s Home.  Soon more vulnerable families will have an incredible community to call HOME!

The Daring Way

About The Daring Way™

The Daring Way™ is a highly experiential methodology based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown. The method was designed for work with individuals, couples, families, work teams, and organizational leaders. It can be facilitated in clinical, educational, and professional settings.

During the process facilitators explore topics such as vulnerability, courage, shame, and worthiness. Participants are invited to examine the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that are holding them back and identify the new choices and practices that will move them toward more authentic and wholehearted living.

The primary focus is on developing shame resilience skills and developing daily practices that transform the way we live, love, parent, and lead.


 

Who is Brené Brown?BRENE BROWN

  • Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work.
  • She has spent the past thirteen years studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame.
  • Brené is the author of three #1 New York Times Bestsellers: Rising Strong, Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection.
  • She is also the Founder and CEO for The Daring Way™ and COURAGEworks – an online learning community that offers eCourses, workshops, and interviews for individuals and organizations ready for braver living, loving, and leading.
  • Brené’s 2010 TEDx Houston talk, The Power of Vulnerability, is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world, with over 25 million viewers.

 

 

Some Reflections from our Residents

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Kay:
“The Daring Way helped me with the courage to go along with being strong.  It was an opportunity for me to talk about challenges and speak up without fear.  The conversations were in our safe community and it taught me to handle my shame.  I was so far down and it lifted me up.”

Bust Shot, woman looking into camera and SmilingLisa:
“Studying this work was a break out moment for me.  I found myself holding back and unable to share what I needed in therapy until I participated in the group discussions. The most important lesson for me was the chance to identify support; the important people that I needed in my life to recover.  I thought about who I needed to bring into my life. It was a new way to treat myself, talk kindly to myself….be joyous.”

 

 


2044239_xxlMarie:
“When they assigned us to read the first chapter, I read the whole book!  Reading the words were like sitting down with a warm friend.  I never had that kind of language before in my life. I learned that I was worthy of love and affection, right now, the way I am!  It was a refreshing new insight to escape my shame. It has made me curious to try new things and discover what feeds my soul.  With this discovery there are possibilities for hope in the future.  I can change things that were from deep down inside me and live an authentic life.”

 

 

 

Expressive Therapy: A Special Unlocking of Personal Creativity and Thought

creativity-oxygen-soulResidents participating in our Treatment program spend Tuesday mornings with many opportunities for expressive therapy.  Regular volunteers, Janet Vucinich and Joe Synan work with words and watercolors respectively to unlock creative expression and the voice of our residents.

Janet, an accomplished writer and teacher, coaxes the words through a variety of assignments, highlighted by her notes, here:

“Tuesday was incredible. The ladies did some really good writing after reading a poem by Marie Howe. I think they all shared and totally appreciated with loud clapping each of the writings.”  

and…

“The women had a good time playing with paper and scissors; inspired by Matisse, they came up with great ideas from a card for a mother who passed away years ago to self- portraits, pictures of places they remember to just abstract design.  The room was full; twenty women today.”

Joe Synan has only recently come to serve the clients with his passion for watercolor paintings.  They are building quite an inventory and their confidence, as well.  Both instructors have spent years honing their craft and their ability to share with others.  Their inspiration is infectious.

But, the creativity doesn’t stop there!  This past week, Vivian Lewis, local artist and owner of My Picqasso, led an art workshop where each of the attendees created their own rendition of a dreamcatcher on canvas.  As the residents peered into their own canvas, they were able to create their own special piece.

Creative expression brings about healing and enables empowerment….all the while instilling joy and a sense of accomplishment!  We are grateful for the wonderful community volunteers that help make this possible.

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Thank you to all our Winter Holiday Volunteers

volunteer appreciation image2The Winter Holidays can be a daunting time of year where our residents, despite all their hard work and progress feel the pain of their struggles more deeply than usual. Thankfully support from local volunteers helped make the 2015 holiday season a little brighter for our residents.

Every year a number of organizations host drives within their communities to provide needed items for our residents. This year a number of organizations, including Urban Leasing and Realty (ULR), Alpha Chi Omega, Avondale Civic Association, and Elevate all held toiletry drives benefitting The Women’s Home. Full size toiletries are among the most common basic needs of our treatment and transitional residents as well as the tenants of our single bedroom supportive housing facility, Jane Cizik Garden Place. ULR has hosted needs drives for Jane Cizik Garden Place for the last 3 years, helping to stock the complex’s emergency pantries that are on each floor of the three-story community. Alpha Chi Omega has also organized yearly drives supporting The Home for at least a decade every holiday season.
Several organizations this year donated gifts to our residents including American Intercontinental University, Cypress United Methodist Church, West U Rotary Club, and Shany Cosmetics. American Intercontinental University’s Houston campus donated purses they had collected and filled with toiletries for each of our residents. We featured Cypress United Methodist Church last December, for their continued dedication to bringing holiday boot boxes filled to the brim with essentials for our residents for over three decades. These boxes give them everything they need to look and feel their best when they begin their job searches. Each box includes a holiday card, candy can and a hand knit pair of slippers. Shany Cosmetics also helped residents put a little glamour to their look by donating makeup to our treatment and transitional residents. West U Rotary Club ensured our residents’ toes will be warm throughout the winter with their donation of slippers.

Kim Mathes, a member of The Women’s Home Partnership donated her time this New Year’s Eve to our residents. Kim has been one of our regular volunteers supporting our monthly birthday celebrations for our Treatment and Transitional residents. This year she helped them ring in the New Year with a game night at the suggestion of Manager of Residential Services, Nelda Allen. The residents chose Bingo as their game of choice and played for door prize donated to The Home. “Several ladies won bingo more than once and gave their door prize options to the other ladies who had not won. It was great to see the comradery. I admire each one of the women and have seen the wonderful benefits of their hard work and efforts through the program. Everyone affiliated with The Women’s Home is such an inspiration!” Kim said.

Support from these organizations and individuals made an incredible difference in our resident’s winter holiday season. We thank all of you for bringing our residents a little cheer for the end of the year.

Thank you for your support in 2015!

Scrapbook_Thank You scroll work [Converted]For nearly 60 years The Women’s Home has provided women in crisis the safety and support they need to recover and thrive. Without the generous contributions of time, money, and resources from our friends in the Houston community, we would not be able to help hundreds of women change their lives each year. As many of you know in 2016 we will expand our services with two new facilities in Spring Branch, a WholeLife® Service Center and housing for women and their families. These expansions will allow us to serve thousands of vulnerable Houstonians in need of stable housing, physical and mental health care, and education support.

Even as we expand our presence in Spring Branch, we will continue helping women in crisis overcome trauma and adversity to build whole lives in our treatment and transitional housing program in Montrose.

Throughout almost 60 years of operation, The Women’s Home has given thousands of lifetimes the platform to change for the better. Every step of the way, from when our very first resident Mary Brown first came through Mrs. Laura Sampson’s door, to when we first broke ground on our newest facilities in 2015, community support made it happen. We thank all of you for being a part of our friends, family and history and helping to build whole lives here in Houston.

The Women’s Home Weekly Brown Bag Lunch

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We’ve talked before about our weekly brown bag lunches for our treatment and transitional housing residents, where different speakers come share their knowledge and stories. Brown Bag provides individuals and organizations opportunities to share their unique skills and insights with our residents, providing education and inspiration in line with our WholeLife® Program. Here’s some of the incredible groups and speakers we’ve had share their time and stories with our residents recently as well as speakers we’re excited will be coming soon.

The Women’s Fund is a local nonprofit dedicated to providing health education for women and adolescent girls through seminars, classes and publications. Volunteers from The Women’s Fund come the second brown bag of each month to present workshops to our residents. Subjects in their classes include, heart health, exercise, building good nutrition, how to advocate for your health, and keeping track of your medical records.

Lola Clay is a licensed counselor who has trained at the Jung Center here in Houston and received her Ph.D in Jungian Studies from Saybrook University. Jungian psychology, also known as analytical psychology, is based on the research of Carl Jung which emphasizes individualized care to help clients achieve wholeness. Lola Clay spoke at Brown Bag for the first time in August of 2015 and will return in February to speak again.

Linda Lewis has been involved with The Women’s Home for nearly 20 years after being introduced by fellow longtime supporter and member of The Women’s Home Advisory Board, Adele Pieper. She always appreciates any opportunity to work directly with our residents and is impacted by “seeing how their life changes as they work their way through their personal difficulties and regain confidence in who they are.  There is little that separates us, and they remind me how grateful I should be for the blessings in my own life.” January 22, 2016 she will be speaking about the importance of creativity and how each of us is creative in our own way. Linda, who has woven unique cloth for clothing and home décor for over 30 years, found a creative outlet that combines her love of texture and color with working with her hands. “Much of my work is influenced by what I see in nature’s colors and textures which are full of wonder.”

Sahar Pazirandeh, founder of Free Your Star Foundation and author of Find Your Voice, the life you crave is a conversation away, is dedicated to helping others realize their strength and potential. An Iran native, Sahar shared her personal story “of being born in a war, surviving abuse, fighting addictions, and finally finding my voice. I highlighted the reflection of her [the residents’] journey in mine. How our histories don’t need to be anything alike of us to hold each other up as women, as Shero’s (she-roes).”  About The Home and our residents, Sahar said, “It’s a place filled with Shero’s. Almost every woman in The Women’s Home could label herself a victim, instead she has chosen to become the Shero of her story. She has made the choice to be brutally honest with herself on one hand, and completely compassionate on the other. You can’t help but support a woman on this journey. It’s often said, help a woman heal, and she will help an entire community.”

Brown Bag is a fantastic opportunity for anyone seeking to get involved with The Women’s Home who may not have the time to volunteer on a regular basis. We are always looking for more speakers who can share insights and resources relevant to the since tenants of our WholeLife Program: spiritual, mental and emotional, physical, financial, vocational, and social wellness.

If you’re interested in speaking at brown bag, contact Volunteer & Collaborations Coordinator Jenna Jackson at jjackson@thewomenshome.org or 713-568-1356.

Connecting with Spiritual Companions

Search COntinues FinalWe’ve talked before about how The Women’s Home’s impactful spiritual program The Courage to Search’s rousing success led to the development of a follow up program, The Search Continues. The Courage to Search is our 10 week program where interested members of our treatment and transitional program explore and reflect on their spiritual beliefs, solidify their spiritual practices and find a faith home with the guidance of trained volunteers. Development of The Search Continues began after residents who participated in The Courage to Search expressed interest in continuing their spiritual growth in a structured environment.

The goal of The Search Continues is to provide those clients with individual spiritual companions. These are volunteers who have training or extensive background in some faith tradition, and who will meet regularly with clients to discuss their spirituality. Among this first group of spiritual companions are newly involved volunteers as well as returning friends of The Home who have supported our residents’ spiritual growth before. In addition to spiritual companions, The Search Continues will provide clients with ongoing spiritual activities or opportunities in the Houston area, building on The Courage to Search’s field trips to local faith destinations.

Our Search Continues Spiritual companions will undergo orientation at the beginning of January, with the program slated to debut later that month.

Thank you for Having Faith in The Home

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In this season of giving and gratitude, The Women’s Home appreciates the generosity of our supporters throughout the community. When the weather is gray and the winter rains come upon us, being remembered and included brings much needed warmth. This year several congregations have made The Women’s Home a part of their 2015 and 2016 beneficiaries and we wish to express our gratitude. We appreciate the support and faith in our mission and operations.

St. Martin’s Episcopal Church’s mission of outreach is dedicated to modeling the love of Christ through supporting the disadvantaged and underserved through volunteer service and philanthropy. St. Martin’s has supported The Home since 1998 and this year awarded $14,544 in support of our Treatment and Transitional Housing Program’s operations. Director of Outreach Ministries, Cyd Gillette said “St. Martin’s Episcopal Church is grateful for our partnership with The Women’s Home. Working together, our parishioners’ time, talent and treasurers and The Women’s Home staff provide many women a stable home and productive whole lives.” We appreciate St. Martin’s long-standing support of The Home and our operations.

The Women’s Home is one of Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church’s nearly 100 local mission partners, who the church supports as a part of their local outreach. This extensive network of community philanthropy is the execution of the third element of the church’s mission statement: Living Generously, which cultivates a culture of giving. Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church has supported the Women’s Home for nearly 15 years and this year donated $13,000 to The Home to support our single bedroom supportive housing community, Jane Cizik Garden Place. While the majority of Jane Cizik Garden Place’s operation costs are covered by residents’ rent, staff salaries are funded through donations. The support of communities like Memorial Drive Presbyterian’s makes a phenomenal impact on our operations at Jane Cizik Garden Place.

Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church’s operations are supported by the congregation members and friends, allowing them to create Share the Plate. Emerson’s Share the Plate program selects one charity each year to receive 25% of each month’s collections, in 2016 this 25% will go to Meals on Wheels. The remaining 75% of the monthly collection goes to a different charity each month. The Women’s Home is honored to be Emerson’s April 2016 Share the Plate recipient. The Women’s Home 2015 President Elect and member of Emerson’s Congregation Karen George says “I am delighted that The Women’s Home was selected for Share the Plate in April 2016.  The work of The Women’s Home puts into action through its WholeLife® program several of the principles of the Unitarian Universalist faith – affirming the inherent worth and dignity of every person and promoting justice, equity and compassion in human relations.”

This past November, Memorial Drive United Methodist Church invited The Home’s Manager of Volunteer Services, Chris Hammond, and Cottage Shop Manager, Cheri Barton to speak at their Candlelight Dinner. Cheri is a member of the church’s congregation and was invited to speak by the Director of Singles’ Ministry & Caring Support Ministries, Sheri Kelley after speaking about The Home’s Work. The Candlelight Dinner was a Thanksgiving Event for the singles congregation and attendees were eager to hear about ways to volunteer and donate to The Women’s Home. We look forward to having this new congregation join The Home’s circle of friends.

Pines Presbyterian has supported The Home for nearly 20 years, inviting our directors to speak during their services as a part of their Minute for Mission, where community nonprofits have the opportunity to share their causes. Volunteer groups from Pines Presbyterian have also worked with The Home for a number of years providing much needed support. We appreciate Pine Presbyterian’s long history of supporting The Women’s Home.

Canvas Church Houston is a Montrose congregation founded a few years ago when a group of five friends began envisioning what a new church in Montrose would look like. Canvas created a faith community that focuses on creativity and self-expression as a path to God, while embodying the diversity of Montrose. They’ve brought that passion to The Women’s Home through their volunteer work, both in their monthly volunteering at The Cottage Shop, hosting fundraisers and donation drives, and in leading art instruction projects for our residents. We appreciate Canvas’s generous and creative support of our operations and residents.

St. Philip Presbyterian Church, is another congregation that has supported The Home for nearly two decades. St. Philip is the church home of longtime volunteer and The Women’s Home 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Janet Davis. Janet along with her husband Don, have organized and delivered St. Philip’s monthly donation drives for years. They are also responsible for organizing and delivering Easter boxes every spring as gifts for our residents. In addition to being a dedicated volunteer base for The Home, St. Philip also offers financial support. The Women’s Home is grateful to have such long standing dedicated support from St. Philip Presbyterian Church.

Unity Church of Houston welcomes all faiths in their congregation, placing an emphasis on community and connection. Senior Associate Minister and Choir Director, Reverend Michael Gott was honored alongside his husband, SoK Salon owner, Alden Clark as one of our 2015 WholeLife Luncheon award winners for their support of The Home and our mission. Unity also invited our treatment and transitional housing residents to attend their Blue Christmas service, which is dedicated to giving room for those experiencing hardship during the holiday season to be where they are. We thank Unity for making our residents a part of their community in a time where togetherness is important.