March 1, 2023

Mission Moment – Women’s Opportunity Center

PURPOSE

YWCA Spokane’s Women’s Opportunity Center (WOC) offers a safe space for survivors of domestic violence to recover from trauma, explore economic growth, and build stability into their lives.

WOC offers holistic, restorative services for those impacted by trauma. These groups and classes are aimed at supporting healing, wellness and increasing resiliency while also fostering a supportive community, all at no cost to participants.

What brings Women’s Opportunity Center Director Kim Choat joy in her work? “For me, it’s watching women realize there is true connection and support available, to see the relief, and witness the hope this connection offers,” Kim says.

In the WOC, we hold space for and respect women no matter what. Services such as trauma sensitive yoga and Nature Walks, computer lab services and a free clothing boutique, are opportunities the Women’s Opportunity Center has available for folks to create community and find support.

IMPACT

Yoga for Reclaiming the Body

The Women’s Opportunity Center services can provide long-term support to survivors of trauma. The WOC’s team of three works hard to help clients live into the richness and fullness of their lives. They meet clients where they’re at, with the aim of helping participants to build lives that are fulfilling and in alignment with their goals & dreams. Healing can be a long process and the Women’s Opportunity Center is here to walk alongside clients throughout their journey.

One program that truly highlights this is Mobility Mentoring. These Mentorship and workshop services aimed at fostering economic growth and building financial stability are available to anyone who identifies as a woman. Mobility Mentorship is a relational approach, a practice of collaborating with and coaching participants toward upward economic mobility. It is often focused on helping participants get basic needs met, acquire resources, build skills, and turn goals into simple actionable steps.

Cassia is our lead Mobility Mentor. She enjoys Mobility Mentoring because it allows her to work one-on-one with women and help them stay focused on their goals. “Some of my favorite moments are helping when a participant is struggling with a smaller task that feels overwhelming,” says Cassia. “My support allows them to focus on the bigger picture of where they want to be.”

Our Mobility Mentors help participants build confidence to support continued growth even after their time in the program ends.


MEET TRACEY*

Our Women’s Opportunity Center helps folks like Tracey find support and healing

Mobility Mentoring client, Tracey*, has been in the Women’s Opportunity Center diligently focused on getting her life back on track after experiencing years of abuse. She has not worked since her teens, and was living in a tent without a phone or home mailing address. These conditions made it very difficult to prepare for meeting prospective employers. Through our program, Tracey was able to acquire a phone, received a monthly bus pass and clarification regarding bus routes she would take to meet with her mentor and attend job interviews.

From there we helped Tracey create a resume so she could begin making her way back into the workforce, and she was thrilled when offered a position with a large and stable employer in Spokane. From there, her work continued. She lacked identification and documentation required to begin work, so we supported her through the online application process. During this process, she was hired under a temporary basis and, since receiving all her documentation, is now working full time!

From there, Tracey found a room to rent and is now working hard to save and plan for her life after violence. She often says she has no idea how she would have done all of this without the Women’s Opportunity Center and YWCA on her side! She went from homeless and terrified to safe and more empowered, with increased self-esteem and greater confidence.

We were honored to walk with Tracey on this journey as we witnessed her growing stronger with each visit to the WOC. Her current goal is to begin saving money to leave for her children when she passes. She now trusts she has a place where she belongs, and she continues to access our services anytime she encounters a barrier, needs a supportive word, or a caring ear.

*Tracey’s name and photo have been changed to protect her identity and safety.

Learn more at ywcaspokane.org/woc

By: Jemma Riedel-Johnson

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