4 Triangle Nonprofits that are lifting up women (and how you can help!) for International Women’s Day, March 8, 2021.
During COVID, the need for services, especially for women, has skyrocketed. As jobs have disappeared and families have struggled to make ends meet, the burden has fallen especially hard on women. Because husbands typically have higher salaries, some women have scaled back on work hours or left jobs completely to help their children with remote learning. Some women have been laid off or furloughed. Research shows that domestic abuse has increased dramatically during this time of economic insecurity and isolation. One NPR series, “Enough Already: How the Pandemic Is Breaking Women,” recounts the devastating toll on women, how working moms feel forgotten, how women are falling through the cracks and losing recent gains in the workplace. It’s a difficult time for women, but one bright spot is the number of great women’s programs in our area. For International Women’s Day, learn more about four Triangle nonprofits lifting up women!
Another important women’s organization is InterAct, “the only provider of domestic violence and sexual assault services in Wake County, North Carolina—saving lives, rebuilding lives, and securing safer futures for individuals and families in our community” (https://interactofwake.org). Its mission of ending the cycle of domestic and sexual violence focuses on counseling and housing.
Because one out of three women will be a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault in her lifetime, InterAct offers 24-hour crisis lines (in English or Spanish) to address those issues. Other services include community engagement and outreach to educate the community; court advocacy and e-filing of protective orders; emergency shelter; individual and group counseling; personal and economic empowerment; sexual assault services; and youth education services (YES), which provides violence prevention and early intervention curricula to students in Wake County schools. InterAct’s Solace Center offers nursing and forensic care as well as advocacy and support for survivors of rape and sexual assault.
InterAct also runs two Pass It On thrift stores, one in Fuquay-Varina and one in Raleigh. Though the stores have been closed due to COVID, they accept donations by appointment by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. InterAct accepts monetary and in-kind donations and also partners with other organizations for fundraising events. Internships are available for undergraduate and graduate students. Volunteers (who submit an application, are screened, and then attend a volunteer information session before core training) are needed in the following areas: administrative support, facilitator for adult and children’s groups, crisis line counselor, court navigator, sexual assault response advocate, shelter advocate, speaker’s bureau presenter, special events, thrift store help, and peer educator.
Check out Lonerider‘s new brew supporting InterAct!
Dress for Success is a worldwide organization that focuses on helping prepare women for the workplace and life. Their mission is to “empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and the development tools to help women thrive in work and life” (https://trianglenc.dressforsuccess.org). The organization offers services in career coaching, job acquisition, career development, and skill-building. Its website includes numerous stories from clients who have found success with the help of its services. As one client says, “Dress for Success Triangle helps you to understand what you’re capable of doing.”
During COVID, Dress for Success has worked hard to maintain its services and recognizes the need now more than ever: “The outbreak has caused most Triangle businesses to close, forcing many women to be disproportionately laid off” (https://trianglenc.dressforsuccess.org). Now offering webinar-style classes, Dress for Success guides clients in resume-writing, interview skills, and career advice. It has made a special effort to help women find jobs during this time when the normal process has changed so dramatically. Currently, the organization helps clients prepare for video interviews, including how to dress and how to use sites such as LinkedIn. One unique offering is the program’s virtual “coffee talk,” which brings clients together in a safe way to support each other.
Founded in 2008 during a previous worldwide crisis, the Great Recession, Dress for Success has since provided career services for more than 16,000 women. They continue in 2021 as the world deals with the pandemic and its aftermath.
The WCWC is one of our community’s most valuable organizations. Focusing on breaking the cycle of trauma, abuse, and homelessness for women in the triangle, it provides services including emergency overnight shelter, clinical assessment, food, and clothing. Located near downtown Raleigh, the center works with individual women during times of crisis. The Women’s Center is the “only crisis intervention and assessment day center for homeless women in the triangle” and can be lifesaving (https://www.wcwc.org).
During the pandemic, the Women’s Center remains committed to serving women. As their website attests, “We care for those that cannot care for themselves. The women on the edges, the marginalized. We always have been there for them and we always will” (https://www.wcwc.org).
Known for providing a safe, client-centered environment for at-risk women for over 40years, the Women’s Center of Wake County helps women stabilize, heal, and begin their journey to successful living.” Quite simply, the Women’s Center transforms lives.
Currently, the center needs volunteers to help clean the facility and to donate and drop off meals. The Women’s Center accepts monetary donations, some types of clothing, and certain hygiene products. See their website for up-to-date information. See volunteer opportunities with the WCWC here!
Another organization I have to mention is Handsome Ladies, a group that promotes women in bluegrass, specifically by holding jams for women. My daughter and I founded the Raleigh chapter in 2018 and have been amazed at the response. We’ve held jams, workshops, and most recently a panel discussion (jointly with Pinecone) on women in bluegrass. Handsome Ladies provides a safe place for women to try jamming and performing, learning confidence in their abilities to play and sing. Through music, Handsome Ladies brings joy to our lives, something we all need right now.
We hope the worst of the pandemic is behind us, but the repercussions will be felt for some time. And women will continue to deal with ongoing issues that the pandemic has highlighted. We are lucky to have such great organizations for women in our area; they are essential, and we should not take them for granted. Please support these programs so that they will be alive and well for a long time to come.