Our Story, Mission & Vision

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Our Founders: Barb Rohr, Judy Ketterer, Ellen Fox, Anne Rapp

Our Story

The origins of Women Affirming Women began with four friends who had the idea of hosting a getaway weekend for unpaid female caregivers, most of whom are also the sole source of financial support for their loved ones, and who are not able to take a break from the demands of caregiving. The first Women’s Respite retreat weekend was held in July 1999 at St. Therese’s Retreat Center in Columbus, and was modeled after a Women’s Respite program hosted by the Franciscan sisters at Stella Niagara, New York.

We became an organization solely of volunteers, funded by grassroots fundraising and donations. St. Stephen’s Community House graciously invited us under its umbrella in order to process our donations. Many of our first guests were women involved in the programs at St. Stephens. We were a group that not only affirmed the women we served, but were affirmed and blessed by those same women.

Women Affirming Women 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, we developed a strategic plan to support programs for improving women’s social goals in order to meet a capability threshold that allows them true human development and dignity.

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, our programs focus on the main elements of a woman’s life.

Compassionate and passionate volunteers work together to create a welcoming environment for women in need who desire to belong to a network within a familial atmosphere. With the goal of achieving a truly holistic program, we are a community collaborative model which brings together services and business providers willing to support our vision and embody genuine ethical standards and concerns that align with Women Affirming Women’s mission .

In 2012, through the efforts of volunteers, we officially became a non-profit corporation with our own 501(c)(3). Today, Women Affirming Women continues to flourish by offering women caregivers an opportunity to grow in community. Our programs include monthly Caregiver Connection Circles focused on physical, emotional, social and spiritual well-being, and a three-day Respite retreat weekend. Our dream is to one day open a Women’s Respite and Wellness Center to serve unpaid and underserved female caregivers of the Columbus region.

Our Mission and Vision

Mission:  “Live With Dignity”

Mission: “Live With Dignity”

Women Affirming Women is a non-profit organization that serves low-income women caregivers by providing a cost-free, safe space for renewal, rejuvenation, and respite. We are passionate and compassionate volunteers who provide a welcoming environment for women to come together in community to support one another
Vision:  “Feel Your Value”

Vision: “Feel Your Value”

Our goal is to allow women to take a break from the stresses of their lives to reconnect with their true selves and other women. Our hope is that our clients leave our programs feeling loved, inspired, and better able to tackle the difficulties of their lives. All caregivers will recognize the value of, and have a safe space for, rest and rejuvenation.


Women Affirming Women is an equal opportunity organization and will not allow discrimination based upon age, ethnicity, ancestry, gender, national origin, disability, race, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, or any other status prohibited by law.