Hello Community! Over the past few months, things have been pretty quiet at Women Sanctuary. We recognize that people have questions and concerns and we would like you all to know what we have been up to! The board members have been doing some self-reflection and reconnecting with the essence of Women Sanctuary, while reassessing the nature of the organization and its future. Women Sanctuary’s values, mission, and vision are essential, solid, and lasting. Women empowering women has been and will always be our fundamental objective.

The structure of Women Sanctuary is evolving to meet that objective…

Over the past year, we have had a great time putting together a schedule of free groups and community gatherings to bring women together to support and empower each other. We have discovered a lot of passion, wisdom, interests, and excitement from all who put energy into building this unique community and the gatherings that we have had here. We have reviewed the classes and fundraisers that have been done over the last year, explored how the community responded and tuned into how we, the board members fit into the community. Due to the clear community need and continued interest and inquiries, we will be hosting several casual “coffee and connection” gatherings through the coming months at our Sophia House location (2376 Monroe Ave.) Please see the updated calendar on our website for more information.

The feedback from our community has also made us recognize that we would like to become more connected with other organizations in the larger community that are doing good work, especially in the area of social justice and community building. For example, some of us went to Seneca Falls to participate in the Women’s March on January 20, 2018. This was a large event and a very positive experience for all of us that attended. We will be adding more local events to the Women Sanctuary calendar and organizing support groups of women attending these events together. Our hope is that there are other women in our community who really want to be involved, but may need the nudge and encouragement from others to attend these types of events. We need women who are willing to be community activist members in helping achieve our goals, and we are here to support you in becoming just that!

We have also needed to face some hard truths about the financial realities of running Women Sanctuary. The board has been wrestling with how to best serve our community given these constraints. We are transitioning to a model that will benefit both the community of Women Sanctuary as well as the organization itself, which needs funds to be sustained. Although we can no longer offer the abundance of free classes and workshops that we have in the past, there are still several events and gatherings all are welcome to attend free of charge, as well as the outside community events that we will promote and attend as an organization.

More intensive workshops and retreats will also be offered for a fee. Scholarship funds are available for some workshops and events that have a fee, and will be provided on an individual basis. Please contact us for more details.

Several community members have inquired about volunteering, and we are so grateful for your interest in helping our organization! However, we have had to make some significant changes to our volunteer structure. If you are interested in volunteering for our organization, the first step is to come to a Women Sanctuary event in 2018. We need to meet you and you need to meet our community before you will be considered as a volunteer. Events include free “coffee and connection” time, expressive arts workshops and retreats offered through Women Sanctuary, as well as outside community events that we go as a Women Sanctuary group to. Events will be listed on the calendar and most are updated on Facebook. But please always check the website for the most up to date information.

Your feedback and support have been crucial during this time as we make sure we are doing the best we can to meet community needs. Thank you all for your patience and understanding about our brief hiatus. Sometimes we all need to take a step back from what we are doing and evaluate the path we are on and see if it is the right one. And sometimes even when we are on the right path, we need to pause long enough to make sure we have what need to be able to continue on our journey.

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