*December 2013*
Connecting with Sister Rize! Organize!

It was our honor to present to local community group, Sister Rize! Organize! Sister Rize! Organize is a  group consisting of female single residency occupancy (SRO)  tenants. They come together to offer support, organize and enter into dialogue.

In December, Sister Rize! invited W.O.M.A.N., Inc. to their community meeting. Staff members Maureen and Jill entered into a lively discussion with participants about healthy relationships, the dynamics of domestic violence and relationship red flags. Those present shared stories of survival and resilience. Participants took time to craft their own Healthy Relationship Checklists, outlining what they needed to enter into any sort of relationship, intimate or otherwise. Most checklists included requirements such as respect, independence, support and honesty. We look forward to continuing to develop this new collaboration with Sister Rize! Organize! in 2014.

~ Jill Zawisza, Executive Director

What would your Healthy Relationship Checklist include? 

Interested in having this or other workshops take place in your community group or business? Contact our outreach team at: outreach@womaninc.org to schedule. 




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Fall 2013 Volunteer Graduation

On Friday November 22, W.O.M.A.N. Inc. and the Riley Center joined with friends, family, and community supporters to honor the completion of the Fall 2013 48-Hour Anti-DV Training. We celebrated the graduation of seven new crisis line advocates. Please join me in welcoming Iris Charabi-Berggren, Rosa Brenes, Jennifer Yerty-Doorn, Sara Finlayson, Melissa Kauth, Shelley Samuels, and Christina Williams to our volunteer team!

We are so excited for this group of advocates to come and work on our crisis line. Throughout the training, they shared their unique ideas and perspective with the training group and exhibited such a genuine openness to learning. Now, they are ready to begin the next part of their volunteer journey.

Our new volunteers will complete their crisis line observation in December and January so if you are in the office, stop by and say hello! Thanks to everyone who came to the graduation to celebrate and thanks to everyone who helped make the training possible and a success. Thanks also to the volunteers who will help with observation and training in office in December and January.

Donor Highlight - Dani Paquin

1) How did you first learn about W.O.M.A.N., Inc.?

From the fabulous Jill Zak's Facebook posts.

2) What inspired you to support W.O.M.A.N., Inc.'s anti-violence efforts?

What's not to support? No one should live under the fear of or reality of violence. I love and appreciate WOMAN Inc.'s mission and I'm thrilled to be able to be a support.

3) What is the impact you hope for your support to have on the community?

I would love to be able to introduce a new audience of supporters to W.O.M.A.N., Inc. and raise money to help fund the incredible efforts of the organization. If we can raise enough money to help even one person, we have succeeded. Of course, I have greater hopes...

4) Can you share one fun fact about yourself?

I once did the "Can-can" in the circus as a little girl!

Intern Highlight - Emi Inoue

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

I have been working at W.O.M.A.N., Inc since August 2013.

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

I work at W.O.M.A.N., Inc. as MFT (Marriage and Family Counseling) intern therapist and a crisis-line volunteer.

3) How did you come into this profession?

I studied Counseling Psychology and Expressive Art Therapy at California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco and graduated in summer 2013. Before coming to SF for graduate school, I lived and worked as a designer in Tokyo. So, it has been such an exciting transition for me to move to SF and to become a therapist. 

I come into this profession, because I always have a strong desire to study and work with trauma and their impact on people’s lives. I think the desire stems from my own experiences of physical trauma in my childhood as well as a healing journey I have gone through with helps of my therapist and significant people in my life. I have become increasingly passionate working with survivors of domestic violence as I volunteered at Asian Women’s Shelter a few years ago. The work has been growing in me since then as I continue working with survivors at W.O.M.A.N., Inc. 

4) What are you looking forward to as W.O.M.A.N., Inc. continues to grow?

I am looking forward to see more survivors of domestic violence receive safe place, resources and education they need, be present with the stories in their own bodies, and be free to speak their mind and follow their life desire and dreams as W.O.M.A.N., Inc. continues to grow!!

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

I found working at W.O.M.A.N., Inc meaningful and rewarding as we have access to an extensive on-going education on various issues related to domestic violence and how we can work toward non-violence society. I am learning to deepen insight around relationship in different cultural groups and to expand my ability to see my worldview without biases. Now, I consider family, self-empowerment, social justice as important aspect to support the work I am doing. I feel incredibly fulfilled when I can witness the transformation happening within my clients. It is also wonderful for me to feel a sense of oneness that W.O.M.A.N., Inc. staffs and volunteers have cultivated as a community.

The Women’s Policy Institute: Update from Mariya Taher

Since October, I have been a part of the 2013-2014 Women’s Policy Institute (WPI) as part of the domestic violence team. The Women’s Policy Institute is a yearlong program of intensive advocacy and leadership training retreats in Sacramento that teaches women activists and grassroots organizations how to successfully navigate the labyrinth of Sacramento.

During the program, women work in teams to develop and implement specific policy advocacy projects of their choosing with a mentor who is experienced in public policy work. The other members of the domestic violence team include Maria Caprio from the Shanti Project, Melodie Kruspodin from Peace Over Violence, Nicole Marquez from Worksafe, and Julia Parish from Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center.  Our team mentor is Krista Niemczyk from the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence.

In the last three months, WPI Fellows have attended two retreats to learn about possible policy project and prepare ourselves to meet with state legislators, staffers, lobbyists, consultants, and others who will be of importance during our fellowship year and as we attempt to lobby for a bill to pass. During the second retreat, fellows also meet with legislator offices to present their policy ideas and discuss them with influential legislators. The Domestic Violence team had 14 meetings with legislator offices and government consultants to discuss possible legislation that would help domestic violence survivors.

At this point, our team is gathering the feedback received from the meetings and hoping to decide which policy goal to work towards for the coming 2014 legislative year.  As our policy idea is solidified, I will be sure to keep W.O.M.A.N., Inc. community informed of our progress during this next year and the steps it will take to pass a piece of legislation that can help survivors of domestic violence.

~ Mariya Taher

To learn more about the Women’s Policy Institute, please visit http://www.womensfoundca.org/womens-policy-institute



Strong Field Leadership Development Program: Update from Mary Martinez

In early November, Cohort III of the Strong Field Leadership Development Program convened in sunny La Jolla, California for our first in-person gathering since our kick-off retreat back in June.  I was dressed for the low 60 degree weather in San Francisco but was unprepared for the 80+ degree weather in San Diego; it was hot.

For this gathering the overarching theme was self-care.  After having a rough week prior to the gathering I knew this opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time.  As expected, it was exciting to see everyone again, and to have the chance to reconnect.  We met for a day and a half with topics that included: Understanding the distinction between change and transition, understanding the connection between self-care and sustainability and impact, working on an individual self-care plan, and lastly, connecting and building relationships among group members.  While we were discussing change and transition, I was brought back to the dark days after we learned about our fiscal crisis last year. Then, Jill used a staff meeting to explain the difference between change and transition, which was so appropriate.  To elaborate a little about change and transition - change is an event. It’s situational, outcome based, and relatively quick.  Whereas, transition is the experience, it’s psychological, more process-based, and it’s gradual and slow.  Transition is the process folks go through as they come to terms with the change.

The second day was focused on taking care of the self especially knowing that we dedicate so much time and energy to our work, our organization’s mission, and things that are going on in our personal life.  It’s easy to forget to your individual needs when the work load is piling up, there are meetings lined up, or when everything feels like it has a short timeline.  It is extremely important that all of us doing this kind of work are practicing ways to support ourselves.  It’s essential for our well-being and also for the sustainability and impact of the work.  There’s the classic saying that “You cannot care for others if you have not cared for yourself, which seems easy enough to understand but the follow-through is more difficult.  Self-care is a practice; it’s not only saying, “I’ve had a rough week; I’m going to treat myself to a massage once in a while." In addition, you’re doing little things that help restore you.  Some examples of self-care practices may include two-minute breathing exercises after a difficult crisis line call, going for a walk on your break, actually taking a break, saying “no”, and the list goes on.  Everyone should have a list of self-care practices that are customized for them. Some of mine include: having a collection of toys on my desk for my fidgety hands, listening to “Off the Wall” by Michael Jackson (listen to the lyrics and you’ll understand), trying to take an hour long break and not feel guilty about it.    

In addition to the self-care discussion, each of the cohort III members created a self-care plan that was made up of five new goals and/or amplified things we already do.  To be sure that each of us was going to be accountable for our self-care plan, the understanding was that we are to use our Accountability buddy (Individual Development Partner) as a support system.

Even though the SFP gathering didn’t feel long enough it was wonderful to reconnect with the group.  I look forward to seeing them again in February, in Half Moon Bay.

Volunteer Spotlight - Anica Leon-Weil

1) When did you first get involved with W.O.M.A.N., Inc.?

I began volunteering with W.O.M.A.N., Inc. in June of 2013 after moving to San Francisco a few months prior. A classmate in my Grad School program mentioned she was doing volunteer work with the organization and had really wonderful things to say, so I was excited to find a way to get involved also!

2) What inspired you to do anti-violence work?

I've always been really drawn to this type of work and organization. I think women's rights have come a long way certainly, but the rates of sexual violence against women and the fact that a woman is statistically much more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than a stranger shows that there is still tremendous work to be done to create a safer and more just society for women.

3) What kind of opportunities have you been involved with here?

I have primarily been doing development work- so processing donations, sending donor thank you's, working on orientation materials, registering mailing list subscribers and lots of random odd jobs.

4) How has your involvement impacted your life?

I feel really good knowing that the work that I do, while removed from the specific core work of W.O.M.A.N., Inc., is doing something useful for an organization that does so much to give back to the community. It helps me feel I am part of something good, which has a really positive impact on how I feel about myself.
5) What pieces of wisdom would you share with new volunteers or community members who are interested in supporting W.O.M.A.N., Inc.?

Do it! It's amazing how little, ultimately, it takes to have an impact. If we all just give a little of our time and resources-a few hours a week or dollars a month- it quickly adds up and really contributes to the bettering of our society and community in a general sense and can have a tremendous impact for individuals in a very concrete way.

The Domestic Violence Information and Referral Center Project in Santa Clara County

On November 21, staff members Jill and Mariya drove down to San Jose to meet with the Santa Clara Domestic Violence Advocacy Consortium to discuss the next phase of implementation of the Domestic Violence Information and Referral Center (DVIRC) for this county. The DVIRC is an online interactive community network that provides a safe space for domestic violence service providers to share, network, and access updated information so that effective and appropriate resources and referrals can be offered to domestic violence survivors.

For the past year, the agencies belonging to the Consortium, including Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence, Maitri Bay Area, Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI), Community Solutions, and YWCA of Silicon Valley Support Network Program, have been beta testing this system to share information regarding shelter availability for survivors at each agency. As a result, survivors looking for shelter do not need to spend precious minutes calling five different agencies when they may be in a crisis or emergency situation. Now they can locate the most appropriate resource in the least amount of time.

During the next phase of the DVIRC implementation, the Consortium will beta test the community tools of the DVIRC to determine how communication can be enhanced via online tools such as the online library of best practices, a calendar of events, and online discussion forums.  Over the course of the next year, W.O.M.A.N., Inc. will gather information and data from the Consortium to determine how other agencies throughout CA can also use the system to improve their agency operations.  

C.U.E. Tips - Laughter Yoga

Sometimes we need a good laugh, a really good laugh that makes your eyes water and your sides ache. Did you know there are exercise classes that dedicated solely to laughter? It’s called Laughter Yoga. What better way to uplift our community than laughter? Unlike traditional Yoga, Laughter Yoga is about movement rather than technique or posture. It’s focuses on the movement fueled by the breath of laughter. 
We Are Laughter, an organization here in San Francisco dedicated to Laughter describes the heath benefits of Laughter Yoga: 

“Laughter Yoga allows you to reduce stress, lighten your mental burdens, make friendly, fun connections with others, and have more joy. Laughing creates perspective for yourself, even peace of mind.  It becomes easier to embrace the whole rich tapestry of your life, even the difficult and painful elements, as you allow laughter to exist along with it.”

Located here in the The UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, members and volunteers of W.O.M.A.N., Inc. can take advantage of Laughter Yoga classes together. 
The best part is that’s its FREE and for all ages!! Free classes are held 2 Wednesdays per month. Check out this link for a list of class dates:


~ By Janella Parucha, W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Social Media Volunteer
2014 Events

Writing Workshop

When: Friday, 1/17 from 1:15-5:15 and Saturday, 1/18 from 1pm-5pm
Where: San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin St.

Friday: Mary Louise Strong Room

Saturday: Lower Level Latino/Hispanic Reading Room

Details: This is a mixed-level writing workshop, open to all adult 18+ and is intended for participants who have done significant work on confronting one’s emotional upheavals and traumas. If there is story you are wanting to tell, but are having a difficult time finding the language or approach, we will do a series of breathing exercises to ground you in your body, generative writing exercises to help you resource material from your lives, and writing prompts to give your storytelling direction.

To Register: 

Friday Workshop - http://bit.ly/IfXq4m

Saturday Workshop - http://bit.ly/185M1uc

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.