The Season of Giving
This time of the year, it takes only the thought of a loved one’s face opening a cherished gift to tug at our heartstrings. But that feeling isn’t limited to your immediate family, and it doesn’t need to end with the holiday season. To keep the spirit of giving going strong all year long, we’ve picked a few charitable organizations that inspire and support women. Some are looking for local or national volunteers, and all of them accept donations online.
Even with limited time and resources, you can have that empowered feeling that comes from helping people in need.
[Editor's note: This was originally published December 24, 2014.]
The Breathe Network practitioners offer trauma-informed, holistic methods to help survivors of sexual violence heal in ways that allow each woman to reclaim her body, mind, confidence, and power. More than a hotline, The Breathe Network focuses on meaningful and sustained healing. It matches women in need with appropriate experts and advocates for sliding-scale costs so that no one goes without the long-term help they need. Techniques offered include yoga, art therapy, EMDR, acupuncture, and psychotherapy, among others.
Live Your Dream
Live Your Dream is a community that supports and encourages women and girls to dream bigger than the circumstances or beliefs that may be limiting them. The organization does this through support groups, awareness and advocacy efforts, and financial support. Most recently, Live Your Dream awarded one of its survivors $15,000 to pursue her degree and care for her six children after she left a long-term abusive relationship in search of a brighter future.
Women in Need (Win NYC)
With a view far past survival, Win transforms the lives of homeless women in New York City by getting them off the street and providing them with the training they need to thrive. Win services offer women life skills, tools of self-empowerment and motivation, and opportunities for stable employment. Its extensive day care programs ensure no woman loses a job because they have no one to mind their children during the summer or school breaks. The typical stay for a woman at Win is eleven months, and 90 percent of the women who complete the program are still in the same apartment two years after graduation.
Unleashed is a 12-week program established by Dr. Stacey Radin, a clinical psychologist who understands that middle school isn’t all “sleepovers and smiles” for adolescents. Aimed at girls at a vulnerable age, the organization transforms their anxiety and confusion and directs it into passion and leadership. Unleashed does double duty: Adolescent girls are charged with rescuing and advocating for homeless dogs in order to understand the relationship between human rights and animal rights. This strategy helps underscore how the challenges animals face mirror bigger cultural problems.
To date, the organization has helped rescue about 400 dogs.
Mary’s Place by the Sea
Mary’s Place is an idyllic seaside facility that offers women with cancer a place to heal their mind, body, and spirit. These women need time away from their everyday responsibilities in order to focus on self-care, but often don’t know how to make that a priority.
Mary’s Place offers its guests holistic healing services such as massage, meditation, and Reiki, along with healthy made-to-order meals, plus a community of women who support and understand their challenges.
Alexandria House, located in Los Angeles, provides a safe and supportive place for women transitioning out of shelters. In addition to housing and community support, it offers women financial management, goal-setting processes, child care, counseling, health care, and access to resources such as job search assistance, education, legal counsel, advocacy, and skill building. Alexandria House has an impressive track record since its founding in 1996: More than 80 percent of the women who participate in the program secure financial stability and permanent housing.