We are proud of and inspired by the courage of the women (and men) who walk through our doors every day. These are their stories. We were just fortunate enough to help them along the way.
The plunge into widowhood at 85 posed many new roadblocks for Barbara. She didn’t know how to write out a check or how to pay bills. Self-esteem lagging, a WRC Peer Resource Advisor referred her to Challenge, which recharged and empowered her with new hope and a new attitude. Barbara is grateful to have had so many amazing women help her to move forward and away from people who feel they can’t make positive changes as they get older.
Once an unemployed mother of three (the youngest of whom has health issues), Jackie found her innate courage during the WRC’s Challenge class. She not only returned to school to finish her degree in accounting but has been hired at FSC and works with a professor who assists veterans applying for educational programs.
As financial and educational obstacles manifested in this single mother’s life, Yvette turned to the WRC for advice on how best to further her career. As the first recipient of the Michele Penn Fund (a special gap reserve), she has triumphed by earning her master’s degree in school counseling and going a step further to become certified as a home school liaison, substantially increasing her income and thus, her independence.
When her mom graduated from the Challenge program, Kim realized she, too, could benefit. Dealing with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder is a lot to handle, but Kim’s experience with WRC’s Challenge class has allowed her to move away from darkness into the light of hope, change and the supportive community of women. “The Women’s Resource Center facilitators recognize my abilities and encourage me to be my ‘best self’. They give me hope – hope that I will be able to overcome anything.”
It is not uncommon to see someone attending WRC classes such as Challenge for a second time, and the circumstances that bring a woman back to us vary widely. Kristy’s situation has taken many a twist and turn since 1993 when she found herself the single mother of four. Now, as the guardian of her four-year-old grandson and recently unemployed a few years short of her pension date, Kristy’s s determination and strength shine through. Returnship and the Employment and Business Success class boosted her confidence. “Remembering my past experience, I came back to the Women’s Resource Center seeking help and guidance.”
Coming to the WRCS as an empty nester who had long been a stay-at-home mom, Mary’s sense of self was negative; she had no job skills, a serious computer phobia and sadly believed that she had no worth, nor could she ever accomplish anything worthwhile. Ultimately, through Returnship and Challenge, Mary was hired to do a job she never thought possible. “The Women’s Resource Center brought me back to life. Taking the classes was the best thing I ever did. The people at WRC care so much for you, they make you want to do better.”
A first generation American of South American parents, Rosie is accustomed to relying on her inner strength to pull her through. But since relocating to Florida to care for her parents, she has experienced the fallout of the economic downturn; divorce, single parenthood and 18 months of unemployment have taken a toll. Confidence shaken, Rosie came to the WRC, graduated from the Challenge and Returnship programs and attends classes that renew her hope in reinventing her life.
WRC has helped Vivian in several instances, most recently by her attendance in Employment and Business Success, as a job seeker. Originally coming to us as a divorced mother, she has shown how resilient she is; currently living at the Salvation Army shelter and interviewing for a live-in caregiver position, the goal is for her to eventually go back to school. “WRC showed me that women of different backgrounds and races can relate to and support each other. It gave me confidence in my own abilities and taught me that sharing my story can help other women.”