A Center for All of Us 10

THE WOMEN’S CENTER OF TARRANT COUNTY PROVIDES INDISPENSABLE RESOURCES FOR ALL PARTS OF THE COMMUNITY.

Every year, men, women, and children seek out Fort Worth’s The Women’s Center to receive hope, crises resolution, job services, or emotional healing. As a community, The Women’s Center acts to treat the most pernicious problems within a community: unemployment, rape and child abuse, low wages, depression, and the desperate situations created through an intersection of crisis, violence, and poverty. This indispensable place exists to service and care for the most vulnerable members of our community. Today, you can step forward to serve and support The Women Center’s noble mission. As a living resource for our community, the Women’s Center needs active support to survive. At the bare minimum, we can each at least spread the word of this resource’s availability, and thus expand the scope of its reach.

As a community resource, the Women’s Center serves several functions simply not available elsewhere.

“We have the mission to inspire, teach, and empower women and families to overcome violence, crisis, and poverty,” says Francine McQueen, marketing and communications manager for The Women’s Center. “We accomplish this through three distinctive programs.”

The Rape Crisis & Victim Services program provides the support that over 3,800 child and adult victims of sexual assault, sexual abuse, violent crime, or domestic violence need to recover from their trauma. The center additionally puts on the Violence Prevention and Education program, which services over 146,000 area children. The program seeks to both educate and empower young people to prevent and recognize physical and sexual abuse. A General Counseling component helps families and women overcome crises situations through the instruction of coping strategies and problem-solving. This program also improves women’s emotional well-being, as it provides them the tools to serve themselves positively in moments of crisis. Lastly, the center provides employment solutions to help address the root cause of so many 
issues: income instability. The Employment Solutions program aims to provide men, women, and families with stable solutions to everyday needs. The program works to provide high-demand occupations and direction within the labor market to endow increased financial capability.

“What sets us apart,” says Francine, “is the fact that in other locations, we would be at least three different organizations. The fact that we offer clients comprehensive service in these areas means we can help families heal holistically — emotionally, mentally, and financially.”

The Women’s Center could not provide much in the absence of a strong foundation. Organizations such as this never spring up independently. Their rise depends on visionary drive, dependency on core supporters, and the support of a wider community. The Women’s Center traces its beginnings to 1979, when the Women’s Movement gained strength and spread across America. Founder Karen Perkins organized among other Tarrant County women upon the need for a community response to poverty. The idea for a nonprofit began to take shape, one that would provide an early emphasis on job skills and women’s entry into the workforce. In regards to the importance of the Employment Solutions program, founder Karen had some wise words.

“She once said, regarding the impetus for the Employment Solutions Program, ‘There are three ways to get money. You can inherit it, which most of us aren’t lucky enough to do. You can steal it, which is never a good idea. Or, you can earn it.’”

Words like these spurred on the organization of the early The Women’s Center, and led to programs that continue to provide women with the opportunity to earn enough income to sustain their families. The need for rape crisis services became readily apparent, and in 1980, the Women’s Center added a rape rise program to support victims of sexual assault and abuse. Over the years, additional programs have become added, as the scope and caring of this organization has broadened.

“Other programs have been added over the years, including our general counseling program, but the core services provided by The Women’s Center have consistently served women, men, and children of Tarrant County for over 30 years. From a small staff of volunteers, we can now count over 70 employees across offices in Fort Worth and Arlington,” says Francine McQueen.

As for the program that serves the largest amounts of clients, look no further than the Rape Crisis and Victim Services Program. Across local hospital rape exams, to therapy, legal assistance, and accompaniment through the criminal justice system, this admirable program has defended the defenseless in Tarrant County. Additionally, clients at The Women’s Center rarely know about the broad selection of other programs currently available.

“Many people are surprised to learn about our newest program for elderly adults, which is provided through the General Counseling Program. Our PEARLS program provides in-home counseling for individuals aged 65 or older who suffer from depression or social isolation.”

The Women’s Center also serves men, women, and children across all of its programs. A major misconception occurs when individuals fail to perceive this rich resource center as a watch guard for their lives. Financial support provides the richest way in which people can support the laudable missions of this organization.

“The only way that we are able to provide quality services to women, men, and children is through the financial support of our community,” says Francine. “More resources allow us to serve more clients within the community. Because of this, financial donations are always needed and greatly appreciated. We also do wish-list drives where you can purchase an item that has a direct impact on members of your community.”

As for upcoming opportunities, the Monster Mash gala is soon to occur to benefit The Women’s Center of Tarrant County.  The Monster Mash gala is one of two annual fundraisers for The Women’s Center, and has raised over three-quarters of a million dollars for it in the past 5 years.

“This party is such a fun way to ensure the sustainability of programs and services that change people’s lives,” says President and CEO Laura Hilgart.”

The Monster Mash Storybook Bash will take place on Friday, October 13th at 7:30 p.m. This year’s Storybook theme will invite enchanted characters from near and far to descend upon the Omni Fort Worth Hotel. A night of frights and delights gets hosted by event authors, co-chairs Tasa Anderson, Ashley Baker, Angela Wonderly, and Anne Weiskittel, and the party promises to be a fun night of celebration filled with food, dancing, and just a dash of seasonal mayhem.

As co-chair Anne Weiskittel says, “I am thrilled to be a part of this magical evening, supporting a cause that is near and dear to my heart. I have witnessed the hope and peace that the Women’s Center can bring to families in crisis, and it is truly a blessing to have this amazing organization in our community. Thanks to a dedicated and passionate staff, a hard working committee, and a room full of generous people who know how to have a great time, this year’s Monster Mash promises to uphold the tradition of being Fort Worth’s party of the year!”

To learn more about The Women’s Center, visit them online at www.womenscentertc.org.