A Letter from Our 2010 Grant Recipient

There is a lovely French Proverb that states, “L’espoir est le rêve d’une âme en éveillée.” – Hope is the dream of a soul awake.

As Executive Director of The Women’s Initiative, I witness this truth each and every day. When women come to us in search of counseling services, the light of hope has often all but been extinguished. Their spirits have become immobilized by depression, anxiety, addiction and the scars of abuse. And they are seeking services at a pivotal moment in their lives.

“Who are these women?” I am often asked. “And how do they find you?”
“These women,” I reply, “are all around us.”

They are single, uninsured mothers who are working three jobs to survive. They are care takers who find themselves painfully isolated. They are women who have lost their careers and fear they will end up homeless. They are women who are trying desperately to overcome destructive patterns of behavior that emerged from a traumatic past. They are mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters and friends.

The recent $40,000 grant from Women United in Philanthropy will help these women reclaim the sense of hope that lies buried within. WUP funds will be dedicated exclusively to our Individual Counseling Program for Low-Income Women. This program serves a diverse group of uninsured women age 18+. Services are offered in both English and Spanish, and our counselors use a wide variety of modalities from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, to EMDR, to Mind-Body Medicine, to Psychodynamic Therapy.

Our clinicians recognize that every woman’s story is inimitable. Comprehensive assessments and individualized treatment plans are designed to address each woman’s unique personal history and distinct needs. Counseling sessions are 50 minutes in length and occur weekly, and the majority of women complete therapy in 12 weeks or less. Referrals come from throughout our community. Agencies like the Charlottesville Free Clinic, AIDS/HIV Services, La Clinica, and the Jefferson Area CHIP all come to mind. In 2011, we will provide 2,160 direct service counseling hours for a minimum of 180 women through our counseling program. Support from WUP will help make this possible.

Clients repeatedly comment that our office and staff help them feel welcome and supported at each step in the journey of recovery and healing. Recent client quotes:

“With the help of The Women’s Initiative, I am finally able to move past years of pain.” And this, “If it wasn’t for your organization, I’d be in a VERY bad place. Being able to afford counseling since Iwas laid off and have no insurance and my unemployment ran out was a godsend.”

When women complete their therapy, they emerge from extreme places of darkness into a place of wholeness. Through this process, women discover ways to reconnect with children, family, friends, and self. This transformation becomes a gift for not only the woman… but for all who surround her.

The $25,000 advertising grant received through WUP’s partnership with Monticello Media will also help us further our mission and reach women in need by: assuring community members that access to critical mental health services is available, educating women about the signs & symptoms of psychological distress, and breaking down the social stigma surrounding mental illness so women will reach out for help.

Thank you, Women United in Philanthropy for recognizing the essential role that mental health plays in the strength of our community. Thank you for your compassion. Thank you for awakening hope in the lives of others.

Kerry Day, Executive Director
The Women’s Initiative