Mission Moment – WOC Classes

June 4, 2024

Mission Moment – WOC Classes

About

The Women’s Opportunity Center (WOC) offers a safe, supportive, and confidential environment for survivors of trauma so they can rest, recover, and rebuild. These learning opportunities are designed to foster healing after trauma while nurturing a supportive community. All of these groups and classes are provided at absolutely no cost to participants.

After meeting with the team who runs the Women’s Opportunity Center, which includes Kim Choat (Director), Teresa Dixon (Services Coordinator), and Cassia Brennan (Mobility Mentor), I have an increased appreciation for their innovation and adaptability.

Over the last 10 years, since Teresa started, she recalls how the services have shifted in response to the needs of our clients and community. Previously, services had a narrower scope and focused on employment. A new, holistic approach helps empower individuals by giving them skills, information, and resources to move forward along their healing journey. The empowerment approach guides our work in promoting independence and self-confidence.

The Women’s Opportunity Center creates community, cultivates creativity, and transforms lives. Let's dive into the core of these holistic services and explore its profound impact on individuals.

Creating Community

For many of our clients, isolation is a common experience. The classes and groups at the Women’s Opportunity Center aim to foster connection and build community while survivors continue to grow and heal outside of or in addition to other traditional models like therapy. Teresa believes these holistic services provide “expanded opportunities for healing."

Two services that exemplify this holistic nature and community-centric approach are the Healthy Relationship Skills Class and Circle of Security Parenting Group. The Healthy Relationship Skills Class equips individuals with essential skills for promoting communication, empathy, and conflict resolution. It provides a safe place to explore relationship dynamics with peers. Similarly, the Circle of Security Parenting Group provides a place for parents to explore and enhance their parenting skills, fostering secure attachments with their children.

Previously, our narrow focus was on helping clients obtain employment; however, Kim shared that there would be a pattern of individuals getting a job, but not maintaining employment. Losing a job after the struggle of securing it would be really upsetting and diminish an individual’s self-esteem.

Now, Cassia may work with someone to help get them prepared to get and maintain employment. Perhaps it’s encouraging them to take a few additional classes with the WOC to implement some more structure into their lives and let them practice being consistent. There are many different ways for folks to find support and get connected.

Cultivating Creativity

Art journal entry by Teresa

In our Expressive Art and Community Connection group, individuals are encouraged to unleash their creativity, playfulness, and imagination. Teresa helps folks tell pieces of their story through artistic expression. Not only does she lead the art group, she also assembles art kits for people to take home and utilize. These kits included an art journal and different prompts to help spark creativity. Prompts can come in multiple forms and include poetry, podcasts, imagery, and other resources.

“The power of art is that it can be what you need it to be,” states Teresa.

Art becomes a powerful tool for healing, self-expression, and personal empowerment.

Transforming Lives

The impact of holistic services is profound and far-reaching. A survivor’s journey to healing can include a path toward self-discovery and transformative shifts in their lives. As they figure out what they want next in life, they are also figuring out who they are now and who they want to be in the future.

“We’ve had women who have come to our Center who have found themselves for the first time,” says Kim. “They have experienced a felt and known sense of who they truly are.”

Embedded in the empowerment mindset approach that we hold when delivering services, we work to help individuals tap into their innate skill sets and internal resources as they begin to rediscover themselves.

As an example, during Gentle Yoga class, Teresa, a trained yoga facilitator, guided participants through a type of yogic practice that involved an energetic push. During this practice, participants create their own space in the room next to a wall and begin to physically push against the surface to project energy within themselves outward toward the hard surface. This simple exercise can allow for a powerful sense of relief. After this class was facilitated, a client shared how helpful that exercise had been for her. She expressed that it had been very effective with relieving some of her bottled up energy and feelings. “It helped me have that strong energy that I really needed to release from my body,” Teresa recalls her saying.

Offering holistic services empowers individuals by offering opportunities to continue their healing and growth. The Women’s Opportunity Center embraces a range of programs and approaches to create a nurturing community where individuals are supported and empowered to reclaim their lives.

Learn More

Women’s Opportunity Center offers holistic, restorative services for trauma survivors at no cost. Our classes and one-on-one services are aimed to support your healing and wellness while you build skills, engage in a supportive community, and achieve your goals.

Learn more about services in our Women’s Opportunity Center at ywcaspokane.org/career-life-skills/.


By: Jemma Riedel-Johnson

Jemma is the Community Engagement Coordinator with YWCA Spokane and educates and connects people with YWCA's mission of eliminating racism and empowering women. She facilitates domestic violence education and conversations on racial & social justice.

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