2010: $40,000 to The Women's Initiative

A Letter from Our 2010 Grant Recipient

There is a lovely French Proverb that states, “L’espoir est le rêve d’une âme en éveillée.” - Hope is the dream of a soul awake.

As Executive Director of The Women’s Initiative, I witness this truth each and every day. When women come to us in search of counseling services, the light of hope has often all but been extinguished. Their spirits have become immobilized by depression, anxiety, addiction and the scars of abuse. And they are seeking services at a pivotal moment in their lives.

“Who are these women?” I am often asked. “And how do they find you?”
“These women,” I reply, “are all around us.”

They are single, uninsured mothers who are working three jobs to survive. They are care takers who find themselves painfully isolated. They are women who have lost their careers and fear they will end up homeless. They are women who are trying desperately to overcome destructive patterns of behavior that emerged from a traumatic past. They are mothers, grandmothers, daughters,
sisters and friends.

The recent $40,000 grant from Women United in Philanthropy will help these women reclaim
the sense of hope that lies buried within. WUP funds will be dedicated exclusively to our Individual Counseling Program for Low-Income Women. This program serves a diverse group of uninsured
women age 18+. Services are offered in both English and Spanish, and our counselors use a wide variety of modalities from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, to EMDR, to Mind-Body Medicine, to Psychodynamic Therapy.

Our clinicians recognize that every woman’s story is inimitable. Comprehensive assessments and
individualized treatment plans are designed to address each woman’s unique personal history and distinct needs. Counseling sessions are 50 minutes in length and occur weekly, and the majority of women complete therapy in 12 weeks or less. Referrals come from throughout our community. Agencies like the Charlottesville Free Clinic, AIDS/HIV Services, La Clinica, and the Jefferson Area CHIP all come to mind. In 2011, we will provide 2,160 direct service counseling hours for a minimum of 180 women through our counseling program. Support from WUP will help make this possible.

Clients repeatedly comment that our office and staff help them feel welcome and supported at each step in the journey of recovery and healing. Recent client quotes:

“With the help of The Women’s Initiative, I am finally able to move past years of pain.” And this, “If it wasn’t for your organization, I’d be in a VERY bad place. Being able to afford counseling since I
was laid off and have no insurance and my unemployment ran out was a godsend.”

When women complete their therapy, they emerge from extreme places of darkness into a place of wholeness. Through this process, women discover ways to reconnect with children, family, friends, and self. This transformation becomes a gift for not only the woman… but for all who surround her.
The $25,000 advertising grant received through WUP’s partnership with Monticello Media will also help us further our mission and reach women in need by: assuring community members that access to critical mental health services is available, educating women about the signs & symptoms of psychological distress, and breaking down the social stigma surrounding mental illness so women will reach out for help.

Thank you, Women United in Philanthropy for recognizing the essential role that mental health plays in the strength of our community. Thank you for your compassion. Thank you for awakening hope in the lives of others.

Kerry Day, Executive Director
The Women’s Initiative

2009: $33,000 to the Community Children's Dental Center

The Community Children’s Dental Center is a non-profit full service pediatric dental practice dedicated to caring for children up to 21 years of age who are covered by Medicaid, FAMIS and FAMIS Plus. Their mission is to provide quality dental care to under served children in our community. They place emphasis on education about oral health issues, encouraging personal responsibility and promoting routine preventive service.

On September 15, 2009, Director Ellen Tobey, along with Board Chair and Founder, Dr. William Viglione, accepted the grant of $33,000 on behalf of The Community Children's Dental Center. Ellen Tobey graciously expressed her gratitude in a letter to Women United donors in the November 2009 newsletter"Please know that the return on your investment is multi-faceted; it is basic wellness treatment that prevents serious chronic disease such as heart disease, diabetes, abscess leading to septic infection, and other terrible conditions. And of course, then we have the smile! The smile of a teenager who has perfect healthy teeth and an improved self-esteem, leading to better grades at  school (we hope!) and improved social acceptance at all levels."

2008: $36,000 to Smart Beginnings

Smart Beginnings is a comprehensive public/private approach to make our community a place where children grow up healthy and arrive at school prepared to succeed.

On March 16, 2009, Kathy Glazer, Director of Virginia's Office of Early Childhood Development; Miriam Rushfinn, Coordinator of the Smart Beginnings Program; and Jon Nafziger, United Way Vice President for Community Initiatives spoke to a Women United group on the progress of the Smart Beginnings Initiative and how their $36,000 grant is being utilized. The Seal of Quality Child Care received $12,500 of the grant to be used in Child Care Scholarships and as incentives for providers to join the Seal system; family support received $5,000 for parent resources and Latino family resources; $6,500 went to transition to kindergarten pilots including the School Readiness Report; and $12,00 towards the Smart Beginnings Director and business/community engagement. Today Smart Beginnings continues to work on making kids "Ready for school. Ready for life."

2007: $14,825 to Children, Youth & Family Services

2007CYFSOn November 17, 2007 Jacki Bryant, the Executive Director of Children, Youth and Family Services (now ReadyKids), accepted the $14,825 grant from Women United. This grant supports their VOCA (Victims of Child Abuse) program, which provides counseling for children and their non-offending family members. 

2007: $19,000 to International Rescue Committee

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) provides opportunities for refugees to thrive in America. Each year, thousands of refugees are invited by the U.S. government to seek safety and freedom.  Forced to flee conflict or persecution, many have survived for years against incredible odds. They step off the plane with next to nothing but their dignity, hope and determination.  In Charlottesville, the IRC helps them rebuild their lives. On November 17, 2007 Susan Donovan, the IRC's Executive Director, and her colleague, Miran Dickey, accepted the $19,300 Women United grant and discussed how the grant will benefit refugee high school students in our area. Susan noted that not only do teenage refugees have to learn English as a second language, but they also must figure out how to fit into a social and cultural world that is often very different from their own. With this grant, the students will have access to support and counseling as they transition into their new life in Charlottesville.

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