*January 2014*
Volunteer Appreciation Night Holiday Party

In the spirit of the holiday season this past December, the Events Committee at W.O.M.A.N., Inc. hosted a “Volunteer Appreciation Night Holiday Party” in celebration of the marvelous volunteers that make up such a big part of our community. Volunteers play a wide array of roles for the agency, including answering the crisis line as state-certified domestic violence peer counselors, leading educational sessions about domestic violence, tracking and following up with donations, and much more. As such, often times, volunteers unfortunately do not get to simply hang out with one another. This event allowed volunteers and staff to do just that—“hang out”!

Thanks to The Sports Basement-Bryant Location, volunteers and staff had an entire room reserved for them, along with complimentary snacks and wine.As if that wasn’t enough, guests were also treated to a 10% discount on any Sports Basement purchase. (10% of the sales were generously donated to W.O.M.A.N., Inc. as well) Throughout the night, we all chatted amongst ourselves in between bouts of snacks, wine, and “Get-to-Know-You” Bingo! For Bingo, we rotated between different sets of questions aimed at “getting to know” one another better. Some examples of questions were “Do you like math, Have you ever been skydiving/bungee-jumping, Have you read a book within a week, Met a celebrity, and etc.” Learning about one another in this way proved to be a great catalyst for further conversation and laughs.

As mentioned in previous blog entries, laughing and basically anything else we, as domestic violence service providers, can do to take care of ourselves is a crucial element of our work. Only by maintaining good self-care can we put forth our full energy into providing services to help survivors of domestic violence. Thank you again to our Events Committee and the Sports Basement for coordinating such a fun and important party!
To learn more about our volunteer program, please contact our Educational Development Program Manager, Maureen Egan, at maureen@womaninc.org.

To learn more about the W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Volunteer Program, check out this blog post.




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Future C.U.E. Event: W.O.M.A.N., Inc Accepted as Official Charity Partner for the Transamerica® Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon San Francisco™

It’s official! We will be partnering with the Transamerica® Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon San Francisco™ on April 6th. This will be a very exciting chance for us to fundraise, receive visibility in the community and practice self-care by taking part in an event that promotes a stronger, healthier lifestyle. This is, perhaps, the most important aspect of our participation in the event so we have incorporated it into our C.U.E. (Connect. Unify. Evolve) program.  Formerly the Moving to End Domestic Violence program, C.U.E. events focus on the benefits of exercise and healthy lifestyle choices to combat vicarious trauma and promote self-care practices. This race will be a perfect opportunity to do just that.
We plan to have several C.U.E. events leading up to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon to help participants prepare. These events will mainly focus on providing marathon training and will consist of group runs/walks and cross training events. Be sure to keep checking our Facebook page if you are interested in coming to these pre-marathon training sessions.

If you are interested in participating in this event and enroll in the W.O.M.A.N., Inc team, please contact our Community Liaison Manager, Mariya Taher, at mariya@womaninc.org.

W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Receives Taproot Grant

In late 2013, we received a service grant from the Taproot Foundation, a pro bono consulting agency dedicated to supporting non-profits in their marketing, design, technology, management and strategic planning efforts. The hard work of the Taproot team delivered a tremendous amount of compelling work, helping us understand our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (commonly referred to as a SWOT analysis), offered input and reflections on our mission and programs, as well as advice in board development and fund raising efforts, amongst other valuable pieces of information.  The time it took to gather this information, synthesize and present it to our staff and board cannot be taken for granted, nor can the contributions of community members and peers who took the time to be interviewed for this project. We would like to thank all the members of our Taproot team, as well as our collaborators and supporters who agreed to be interviewed. Look forward to a report on the information in the coming months, and for more news on the progression of our strategic plan!

Meet the San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium: Every Survivor, Every Zip Code

On Thursday, January 30th, the Domestic Violence Consortium of San Francisco (DVCSF) will be continuing its goal of spreading domestic violence awareness and resources for survivors in every zip code of San Francisco by holding their second DVC panel meeting Every Survivor, Every Zip Code. This meeting will be held in Visitation Valley and will be a great chance to meet members of the DVCSF and hear what they have to say about topics ranging from getting a restraining order to what resources exist for families in crisis to avoiding prosecution for the abuser. These topics and many more will be addressed during the panel portion of the meeting.

There will also be a time for community members attending the event to ask questions and receive answers from members of the panel. Panel speakers include: Kemi Mustapha representing Bay Area Legal Aid, Arati Vasan representing Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach, Maria Bee representing Victims Services Division at the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, Jill Zawisza representing W.O.M.A.N., Inc and representatives from Community United against Violence and Asian Women’s Shelter.

Please see flyer for more information about attending the event.

Intern Highlight: Lauren Pressler

1) How long have you been working at W.O.M.A.N., Inc.?

I started here at W.O.M.A.N., Inc. at the end of August of 2013.

2) What do you do at W.O.M.A.N., Inc.?

I am a marriage and family therapy trainee and I provide individual therapy to clients, as well as helping to facilitate the support group and children's group.

3) How did you come into this profession?

When I was a teenager, I saw a therapist and it helped me tremendously. I fully believe in the healing power of therapy and I have always wanted a career where I help others.

4) How has your involvement impacted your life?

As a survivor of domestic violence, I feel very privileged to be apart of W.O.M.A.N., Inc., whose wonderful services help so many survivors of domestic violence.

5) What do you enjoy most about working at W.O.M.A.N., Inc.?

The wonderful support system I have here among the staff and other interns.

6) Can you share one fun fact about yourself?

I have seen my favorite band, Coldplay, in concert 19 times.

Echando Pa’lante Celebrates the New Year

Last week, W.O.M.A.N., Inc.’s survivor empowerment group Echando Pa’lante celebrated the beginning of 2014 with a dinner and party. Through a guided activity, Echando Pa’lante members shared their achievements of the year that just ended by reviewing art projects we did on January 2013. It was an emotional part of the evening as many of those dreams were realized – members got their immigration papers, reunited with their children who were living abroad, and were able to move to safer, nicer homes.

We also shared our projects and hopes for 2014, and drafted a list of the most relevant topics for our Echando Pa’lante gatherings to help us achieve those goals. Every month throughout the year, we invite presenters from different community agencies to offer trainings and workshops to Echando Pa’lante members. The topics are always based on members’ requests. This year we will focus on parenting, understanding the educational system in the U.S., helping teens to go to college, self-esteem and self-care, and developing strong work interview skills among other topics.

It was a very fun evening where Echando Pa’lante members got to connect with old and new friends, share resources and information, and relax in a safe environment. As we do every year, we also honored the new Echando Pa’lante members who graduated from the Latina Program in 2013 with a certificate of appreciation. Congratulations compañeras!

Adopt a Family Program during the Holidays

Each year during the holiday season, our agency participates in the Adopt a Family program, which provides our clients with an opportunity to create a holiday wish list that individuals, businesses and community groups can donate to. This year, as the past few years since W.O.M.A.N, Inc started participating in the program, was a huge success. For the few weeks leading up to the holidays, our office was stacked full of toys, gift cards, beauty products and more great items. Twenty families from our Latina Program and a few from our Therapy Program received gifts from these generous donors.

Every year, we count on this program to make the holidays happier for our clients and their families who have experienced so much trauma and financial instability in the recent past. Needless to say, receiving the gifts is a huge stress reliever in an already stressful time for many of them. We would like to extend an enormous thank you to all of the donors who made having a happy holiday possible for many of our clients and for empowering them to provide gifts for their family!

Volunteer Highlight: Social Media Team

Our social media team is a group of dedicated, hard-working, enthusiastic and creative volunteers who excel at establishing our agency’s presence in the social media world. The team is made up of seven wonderful volunteers who put much time and effort into ensuring our online community is aware of everything that happens at our agency. From an upcoming fundraiser to a blog post highlighting a member of our staff, the social media team ensures that these stories are promoted on various social media platforms. These platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, MailChimp, Eventbrite and our blog. Social media volunteers spend countless hours revising blog post drafts, creating Pinterest board ideas, updating Eventbrite pages for upcoming events, and interviewing staff members and other volunteers for our monthly newsletter.

Without the social media team, our agency would truly be behind the times, as a presence in the social media world is now very important for all organizations, especially non-profits. They play a vital role in the successful functionality of our agency and all of us at W.O.M.A.N., Inc would like to say a big thank you to all of our social media volunteers!

Purple is Going Green

Here at W.O.M.A.N., Inc., we are making tremendous progress in our efforts to do our part in respecting our environment.  We recognize that even the smallest of our actions counts, so we continuously challenge ourselves to find ways to conserve our resources and to minimize our impact on the planet.

We take this seriously.  Our core values that we have defined as a community include a statement of our intentions to consider the environmental impact of our operations and to reduce or eliminate this impact whenever possible.  We view our efforts as a work in progress – learning as we go, and making changes that make a difference.

Here are some of the ways we are helping:

•    We recycle and compost.  Thanks to the systems available in the building, these basic practices have become mainstreamed.

•    We pre-cycle.  We reduce waste whenever possible by avoiding disposable goods.  We use “real” plates, glasses and utensils.  No more single use/throw-away goods!

•    We drink tap water.  Taking advantage of the high quality of the water available in San Francisco, we no longer are contributing to the landfill overflow, the toxicity of plastic production or the waste of fossil fuels used in delivering bottled water.

•    We turn off lights.  As simple as this seems, it is one of the most straight-forward ways in which reduce energy consumption.

•    We are going paperless.  Breaking the paper habit has created a noticeable cultural shift at the agency.  The copier sits cold for much of the time, paper and pens have disappeared from the office supply order list, and sounds of scribbling during staff meetings have been replaced with the sounds of clicking keyboards on laptops.  Articles of interest, minutes of meetings, notes of brainstorms in process… all are now found electronically.  Filing cabinets are becoming a thing of the past as we have moved client files on-line, thanks to new cloud-based, confidentiality-guarded technology.

Whether looking for a calendar of upcoming events or checking on a client appointment, the binders, folders and notes on boards that once housed this information and cluttered our space have moved to the world of on-line organization.  Even time sheets and pay checks are done virtually.  Google docs, TheraNest and Survey Monkey are fully incorporated into our agency lingo – and the benefits have been significant: less money spent, more space gained as well as increased efficiency and organization of materials.  And perhaps the greatest benefit of all is the huge reduction of our carbon footprint on the planet.

C.U.E. Tip - Music and Health

Our work for the W.O.M.A.N. Inc. community is rewarding, but can be equally stressful. Stress can lead to high blood pressure, depression, weight gain/loss, and it can decrease our ability to heal (not only physically, but mentally as well).  

Have you ever turned up the music in your car or room to a favorite song, after a stressful day and felt your stress melt away? Did you know that music is beneficial to our health? Music can improve our immune system and reduce our levels of stress. USA Today published an article describing 20 surprising health benefits of music. Here are a few highlights from the article:

Reduce stress. Research has found that listening to music can relieve stress by triggering biochemical stress reducers.

Ease pain. Music can meaningfully reduce the perceived intensity of pain, especially in geriatric care, intensive care, or palliative medicine (an area of healthcare that focuses on preventing and relieving the suffering of patients).

Increase workout endurance. Listening to those top workout tracks can boost physical performance and increase endurance during a tough exercise session. This works partly through the power of distraction: When we're focusing on a favorite album, we may not notice that we just ran an extra mile.

Reduce anxiety as much as a massage. One study found that music's effect on anxiety levels is similar to the effect of getting a massage. Here's an idea: Treat yourself to a massage and bring your favorite chilled out tunes to play during the session. Double the relaxation!

For music lovers, this is an added bonus, for non-music lovers this a reason to start loving it. To view the rest of the article please visit this link:




40-Hour Domestic Violence Advocate Training

Start date: February 21st, 2014
Applications due: January 31st, 2014
Details: W.O.M.A.N., Inc. partners with The Riley Center to give a 40-hour training each quarter to people who wish to become domestic violence advocates. Learn about domestic violence and how to support survivors. If you want to volunteer on the W.O.M.A.N., Inc. 24-hour crisis line, you must participate in the training first.

Contact maureen@womaninc.org for more information.

Rise For Justice

When: February 14, 2014 from 4-6 pm
Where: San Francisco City Hall
Details: One billion women releasing their stories, dancing and speaking out for justice and demanding an end to violence against women and girls. See the flyer for list of who will be playing and who will attend.

Sign up to learn more and join the global call at OneBillionRisingSF.org.

Wish List

The following in-kind gifts (new or gently used) will help W.O.M.A.N., Inc. to support survivors of domestic violence in a holistic and relevant manner:
  • Small rolling luggage case for laptop
  • Digital camera with video
  • Gift Cards for Walgreens, Safeway, Ross, local restaurants, etc. (For survivors and children who must flee without funds).
  • Motel Vouchers (for those survivors who may only need one night in a confidential location until they can find a shelter or leave town).
  • Muni Passes, Muni Passport or Muni single ride tickets, or BART tickets
  • Room/Cubicle Dividers
  • Laptops
  • People willing to throw a Party With Purpose Party for W.O.M.A.N., Inc. For more details, please contact outreach@womaninc.org or leave a message at (415) 864-4777 ext 317
  • W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Facebook Followers - https://www.facebook.com/WOMANInc
  • W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Twitter Followers - https://twitter.com/WOMANinc
  • W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Pinterest Followers - http://pinterest.com/womaninc/

To learn more about contributing to our wish list or making other types of donations, call Jill Zawisza at 415-864-4777, Ext 306.