What’s Your New Year’s Resolution?

Have you promised to give back in 2014? Help someone in need? Get more involved in the community?

Consider volunteering with The Women’s Center. We’re currently recruiting volunteer Victim Advocates for our Rape Crisis & Victim Services program. As a Victim Advocate, you’ll provide peer counseling and emotional support to sexual assault survivors and their families at local hospitals and on our hotline.

Sexual assault is a devastating experience. The support and resources provided by our volunteer Victim Advocates are the first step on a survivor’s path toward hope and healing.

If you’d like to be part of an organization that helps victims find their strength and become survivors, join us at our next volunteer orientation:

 Saturday, January 25, 2014

10:00 am – 11:30 am

The Women’s Center, 1723 Hemphill Street, Fort Worth, TX 76110 

For more information and to complete an online application, click here.  We hope you’ll consider making The Women’s Center part of your New Year’s resolutions.

Best wishes in 2014 from The Women’s Center!!

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Holiday Stress with Survivors

The holidays can be stressful. Between family visits, holiday parties, and cookie-baking, it can be hard to find time to take a deep breath and really enjoy the holiday season.

This is especially true for those dealing with the trauma of sexual assault or sexual abuse – and for those who love them. If your friend or family member has been a victim of sexual assault or sexual abuse, you might feel impacted by their experience as well. RAINN (the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) has some tips about how to support your loved one and take care of yourself during this difficult time:

  • Listen to your loved one and don’t be judgmental. Allow them to express their feelings, experience, and emotions.
  • Empower your loved one – but don’t push them to do anything they are not ready to do.
  • Provide information to your loved one about resources and organizations that can help them – but remember that ultimately only your loved one can make the very personal decision to seek help.

Most importantly, remember that you are not alone. When your loved one is ready, he or she can find support at The Women’s Center of Tarrant County. (If your loved one doesn’t live in Tarrant County, he or she can visit http://centers.rainn.org to find a rape crisis center near them.) Professionals are available to help and listen.

And know that The Women’s Center, or your local rape crisis center and sexual assault hotline, can also help you work through your reactions to your loved one’s traumatic experience with sexual assault or sexual abuse.

We are also here to he

 lp you find clarity in your own reactions to your loved one’s traumatic experience.

The holidays are stressful enough without the added burden of trauma associated with sexual assault or sexual abuse. We hope that the support you find at The Women’s Center brings you and your loved one a more peaceful and happy holiday season.

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Thank You to Our Wonderful Holiday Program Volunteers!

The Women’s Center would like to thank the many volunteers who helped make our 2013 Holiday Program a success. These volunteers donated gifts, wrapping supplies, and their time to wrap presents to make our clients’ holidays brighter. Volunteers help us change  lives every day. THANK YOU!!

Holiday Collage (2)


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News You Might Have Missed November – December 2013


 Posted December 16

Imperitive Information 1 (2)The Women’s Center would like to thank the many volunteers who helped make our 2013 Holiday Program a success. These volunteers donated gifts, wrapping supplies, and their time to wrap presents to make our clients’ holidays brighter. Volunteers help us change lives every day. THANK YOU!!  See more photos here

 Posted December 16

The holidays can be stressful, especially for those dealing with the trauma of sexual assault or sexual abuse, and for their loved ones.  Read some tips here to support your loved one and yourself, in our latest blog.

Posted December 13Mature man holding a hired sign

Know someone looking for a job? Our Jobs NOW program teaches women and men how to find the right job for them. Experienced career coaches help with your job serach, resume writing, networking and more. Taught at both The Women’s Center and TCC South Campus. Call 817-927-4050 for more info.  Download a flyer here.

stephen-wilson-photography-neesha-10Posted December 12

A brave teenager shares her story of sexual assault in Teen Vogue.  Read our blog and her story.

Outgoing board 2013
Posted December 11

It is so hard to say goodbye to outgoing board members. They work hard and give us a lot of their time and expertise to make us the best we can be. Thank you to these wonderful leaders who are rolling off the board:  Jeff Anderson, Kimberly Jerige, Tyler Trahant, Becky Renfro Borbolla, David Mellina, Tera Garvey (and not pictured: Josephine Garrett and Amy Nettle), pictured here with (far left) Sharon Millians, Chair and (far right) Laura Hilgart, President/CEO.

  Posted December 4

Yadi and Sara

Angel 1

Our staff kicked off the holiday season by trimming our new Christmas tree in the lobby.  (Then the ice hit for 4 days and we were closed).  

 EOY Giving DayPosted December 3

Thanks to those of you have given today on #GivingTuesday. If you want to give in honor or memory of someone, you can do so through December 20th, for us to send a holiday card like the one pictured.

Posted November 25 through 28

Thankful LH,CH,CPH

Our staff is so grateful for our donors, volunteers, board members and organizations that give their time and talent to us.  See the photos we posted over several days.

Posted November 21Donation-225x300

We are honored to receive this donation from the District Attorney’s office for our Rape Crisis program.  Read more




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Teen Bravely Shares Her Story of Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is a traumatizing experience. For a fourteen-year-old, it can be life-shattering. In her poignant essay in Teen Vogue, Neesha Arter bravely shares her heartbreaking story of sexual assault. She was only fourteen, and her experience that fateful New Year’s Eve marked the loss of her childhood innocence.

stephen-wilson-photography-neesha-10In her own words, Neesha describes her denial and intense shame, two emotions that are far too common after a sexual assault. She also describes her recovery, including her recognition that the assault wasn’t her fault. The healing process is as unique as each individual survivor, and Neesha acknowledges that her recovery didn’t come quickly or painlessly. She was one of the lucky survivors: her parents didn’t blame her for the assault and when she was ready, she was able to access the therapy she needed to find healing and self-acceptance.

Support and acceptance – from family, friends, or professionals at a local rape crisis center – is critical to the healing process after a sexual assault. If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual assault who is ready to seek help, please call The Women’s Center today: (817) 927-2737. Sexual assault can be devastating. But Neesha Arter proves that survivors can move beyond the pain and the shame to find hope, healing, and freedom.

 Photo of Neesha Arter by Stephen Wilson Photography

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Last Thursday was Thanksgiving. We gave thanks.

Black Friday kicked off the holiday shopping season. We got great deals.

Today is Cyber Monday. We’re getting more great deals.

What’s tomorrow?  

GivingTuesday, an opportunity to give the gift of philanthropy during the holiday season – to your favorite nonprofit, to your community, to the world.  

Have some loose change leftover from this weekend’s shopping trip? Give.

Want to honor a loved one? Give.EOY Giving Day

Want to celebrate the spirit of the holiday season? Give.

Want to participate in GivingTuesday and support The Women’s Center? We have two great ways to get involved!

1)  Support all of our programs with a holiday gift!  If you give in honor or memory of someone special, we will send a holiday gift card in your name.  Your holiday gift will support every program at The Women’s Center. Our Rape Crisis & Victim ServicesGeneral Counseling, and Employment Solutions programs help women, children, and families in Tarrant County overcome violence, crisis, and poverty. 

2)  Support our Victory Over Violence 5K walk/run by giving the gift of fitness and Holiday Button (3)purchasing a registration for your family, friends or neighbors.  The Victory Over Violence 5K Walk/Run is Saturday, April 12, 2014 and benefits our Rape Crisis & Victim Services program. Your gift will give child and adult victims of violent crime help, hope, and healing.  

Whether $5, $50, or $50,000, your generosity will empower someone to change their life TODAY.

Thank you for considering a gift to The Women’s Center.

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The Women’s Center Gives Thanks

Thankful PIS (2)Thankful Patriciat Thankful Susan Thankful LH,CH,CPH

 Thankful Celena Thankful Sherry C

Thankful SPBMDC Thankful Anthony H. Thankful Erin H. Thankful Lucy B. Thankful Monica and Ro Thankful Nadia D. Thankful Regina L.

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Finding a Job and Overcoming Despair

Key to CareerRobert Jones is a 43 year old male, married with 2 children.  He worked for a pharmaceutical company for 14 years and was laid off due to budget cuts.  He began receiving unemployment benefits, plus he also sold plasma at the Plasma Center in Arlington for extra money.  During this time, he and his wife separated.  He was sleeping on a friend’s couch paying $300 per month for rent.  The remainder of his money went to help out his wife and children. 

In 2012, Robert came to The Women’s Center’s Career Development Services program (United Way’s Income Initiative funded program) to get skills training.  He attended Financial Coaching workshops at Catholic Charities and was able to create and follow a budget.  With the help of his Career Navigator, he decided to attend the Central Sterile Processing program at Tarrant County College Trinity River Campus.  

However, Robert was depressed – having a hard time dealing with the stress.  His Career Navigator referred him for counseling, also at The Women’s Center.  He stated his counselor was amazing, and thanks to her he was able to cope and learn how to deal with all the negative things happening in his life.

Robert completed his training, receiving a national certification as Sterile Processing and Distribution Technician.  He was offered and accepted a job at JPS Hospital as a Central Sterile Processor.  Three months later he received a pay increase and is working all the overtime he can!

He has reconciled with his wife and they are trying to make their marriage work – taking small steps!


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JFK’s Vision for Mental Health Care – 50 Years Later

This week people across the country and around the world remember the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy. On November 22, 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, less than forty miles from Fort Worth. Many will think about where they were that fateful day fifty years ago, what they were doing, how they felt when they heard the news. For younger generations, this week will be full of stories – stories of a nation in mourning, stories of a young life cut short, stories of a visionary leader who worked for peace and prosperity. On this historic anniversary, The Women’s Center remembers with gratitude President Kennedy’s efforts to establish a new, more inclusive and compassionate mental health care system in America.

Kennedy speaking on mental healthThe Community Mental Health Act of 1963

“But we cannot afford to postpone any longer a reversal in our approach to mental affliction. For too long the shabby treatment of the many millions of the mentally disabled in custodial institutions and many millions more now in communities needing help has been justified on grounds of inadequate funds, further studies and future promises. We can procrastinate no more.”

 – President Kennedy in a special message to Congress on February 5, 1963

On October 31, 1963, President Kennedy signed the Community Mental Health Act intoKennedy signing legislation law. It would be his last piece of legislation before his untimely death three weeks later. The Community Mental Health Act deinstitutionalized mental health care in America and created a framework for community-based services. Specifically, the law established comprehensive community mental health centers. These centers combined the mental health services already available in many communities into one cohesive community-based agency to help those suffering from mental illness. 

The law wasn’t perfect – far from it. Only half of the community mental health care centers were ever built, and the Community Mental Health Act created a new mental health care system that has since been severely underfunded at all levels of government.

But the law did lay out a vision of mental health care as inclusive, compassionate, and community-based, and since this historic legislation, America’s approach to caring for those suffering from mental illness has changed dramatically. Today mental health care in this country focuses on compassionate community-based services that include, rather than exclude, those suffering from mental illness in society. Every day and with every client, President Kennedy’s vision for mental health care in America guides The Women’s Center mental health professionals in our work. 

The Next 50 Years…

How can we continue to work toward President Kennedy’s vision for effective community-based mental health care in this country?

We can erase the stigma associated with mental illness. Talk with friends and family about mental illness. Get involved with a local mental health provider like The Women’s Center. Support local, state, and national mental health initiatives.  To learn more about mental health care in Tarrant County, visit the Mental Health Connection of Tarrant County website.

We can advocate for better mental health care in our communities. Write to state and national legislators and let them know that adequately-funded mental health care is important to the health of your community. To learn more about national mental health policy and advocacy efforts and how you can make a difference, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website.

Taking small steps like these can help ensure that President Kennedy’s vision for a compassionate and inclusive mental health care system will one day be a reality for every American suffering from mental illness. 

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National Philanthropy Day

National Philanthropy Day imageIn 1986, President Ronald Reagan declared November 15th National Philanthropy Day (NPD), and communities across the country have celebrated this special day ever since. On NPD, we recognize the important role philanthropy plays in communities around the world, including right here in Tarrant County.

Every year the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and its local chapters celebrate NPD by recognizing outstanding philanthropists in their local communities. At its annual NPD luncheon on November 7th, the AFP Fort Worth Metro Chapter recognized the following individuals and organizations for their outstanding philanthropic contributions to the north Texas region:

Taylor and Shirley Gandy, Distinguished Philanthropists

Ella C. McFadden Charitable Trust, Outstanding Philanthropic Foundation/Trust

Will A. Courtney, Sr., Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser

Roby Key, TCU, Outstanding Professional Fundraising Executive

Ryan Scott Prince, Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy

The Women’s Center appreciates the support that these individuals and organizations – and so many others – offer to the nonprofits in our community.

We also recognize that anyone can be a philanthropist.  Whether it’s a penny, a million dollars, or even your time, every gift helps organizations like The Women’s Center improve the quality of life for people in our community. So today, we encourage you to make a gift – large or small – to your favorite nonprofit. Your gift will touch someone’s life and could mean more than you’ll ever know.  

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