If you were kind enough to check out the SiSy’s Here section of the site then you know of a new community outreach initiative that SS has launched called the Women’s Healing & Empowerment Workshop or W.H.E.W!
WHEW was conceived with the belief that impoverished women’s best chances of succeeding in attaining their goals for love, education, career, family, spirituality, self-esteem and health are best achieved when working together within their communities to support one another.We seek to support the evolution of the impoverished woman, into the empowered woman through workshops, cultural exposure activities, referral services and mentorship as she attempts to balance her responsibilities while managing to come up for a little air- WHEW!
This past week, I went before the residents of Project H.O.M.E’s Rowan Home’s permanent supportive housing located at 1901 Judson St. to present the WHEW proposal to them. The residents living in Project H.O.M.E.’s permanent supportive housing come from “emergency shelters or transitional housing for homeless persons and have a general pattern of stability in housing for approximately one year prior to entering PHPSH.”
As you all may know I’m deeply committed to paying it forward. Although I’m still
struggling and on government assistance, I’m determined to make some type of proactive input in my community. I’m determined to help other women like those who helped me. I wouldn’t have been able to graduate from college with my daughters or balance all that I do without other women reaching out to support, guide and nurture me.
I have to do the same for others and this is my way of doing so.
So I shared my vision with the women. I told them how I wanted us to become each other’s support system–how we couldn’t move forward in our lives if we weren’t willing to be strong enough to move together…as a unit. Given that we live in poverty, our best chances of survival require that we build one another up instead of casting each other to the side.
I’m not an expert. Hell I’m not even successful yet. I may not be in the same predicament as them, but we live in the same neighborhood and rely on the same government assistance.
I told them about how I wanted to kick off the WHEW! Project with a session on fashion. We would focus on how to “look like a bag of money” while on a penny budget. I would pay for everything out of my own pocket: food, activities to keep their children busy so that they could attend, and a $100 shopping spree raffle for one woman to Buffalo Exchange along with a wardrobe stylist to show them how to coordinate their pieces.
Before agreeing, they asked if any of our sessions would focus on education because some of them had interest in getting their GED and attending college. I was almost brought to tears.
God has a way of working.
“Most definitely,” I replied.
The women agreed and welcomed me. We coordinated a time and tomorrow, at 5 p.m. we start on the journey to moving one another forward, one supportive push at a time.
God further blessed this when Buffalo Exchange agreed to come on as a sponsor for the shopping spree. Then, a donation from my old boss Ms. Isabella Fitzgerald came in. I started getting calls and e-mails from news outlets saying that they were interested in possibly covering the event and to standby for confirmation.
And All I can do is shake my head.
My past struggles will serve as the stepping stone for another person to move closer to their dreams.
If you’re interested in volunteering, facilitating a workshop, providing product donations or sponsorship, please contact us for further information.
– Sincerely Syreeta