How We Got Started
The First Women’s Respite program was held July 1999 at St. Therese’s Retreat Center. This program was birthed by four friends who wanted to give a cost-free mini vacation for women who were not able to get a break. It was based upon a Women’s Respite program given by the Franciscan sisters at Stella Niagara, New York. We became an organization that consisted only of volunteers and funded by donations. We were graciously invited to be under the umbrella of St. Stephen’s Community House for processing our donations. Many of our first guests were women who were in programs at St. Stephens Community House. We were a group that not only affirmed the women we served but also, we were affirmed and blessed by those same women.
Women Affirming Women (WAW) is the result of more than 10 years of research into the various factors that affect the quality of life of marginalized women. Relying on the intuitive idea of human dignity, and adhering to the World Health Organizations’ Report on Human Development, a strategic plan has been developed in order to support a program geared towards improving women’s social goals in order to meet a capability threshold that will allow them true human development.
By adopting Martha Nussbaum and Amyrta Sen’s philosophy of their Capability Approach as an alternative measurement to the economic-Utilitarian approaches that currently dominate social programs and policies of development, and coupling this with the key principles of Catholic Social Thought, a program has been devised that focuses on the main elements of a woman’s life.
Building upon the Women’s Respite Program founded by female members of St. Stephen’s Community House, compassionate and passionate volunteers work together to create a facility that is a welcoming environment for women in need or who desire to belong to a network within a familial atmosphere. With the goal of achieving a truly holistic program, a community collaborative model is envisioned, which brings together services and business providers willing to support our vision and embody genuine ethical standards and concerns that are in line with Women Affirming Women‘s mission.
Our dream had been to have our own 501(c)(3) and maybe a building of our own to hold the Respite Program. In 2009 through the efforts of volunteers, we officially became a non-profit Corporation with our own 501(c)(3) with the name of Women Affirming Women. The Respite Program to this day flourishes under Women Affirming Women.
Our Mission: Women Affirming Women is a non-profit organization that serves women caregivers by providing a cost-free safe space for renewal, rejuvenation, and respite.
Our Vision: All caregivers will recognize the value of and have space for rest and rejuvenation.
About Women Affirming Women
Until recently, women were mostly home during the day, either living with or close to other women. When women entered the workforce and many times became the sole provider for the family, they had to forgo the connection to these other women due to lack of time and energy. This means that along with losing the companionships, they lost the emotional support that went along with it. In a majority of the cases, with no male presence in the home, women are left to deal with the burden of insufficient income, housing issues, and the stresses of daily life on their own.
In recognizing the role women play in society, we understand that by serving the women, we in turn are serving the entire community. In helping to improve the quality of life for these women, there is a positive affect on their families, churches, schools, children and community.