Woman’s Opportunity Workshops – WOW!
In May of 2016, Colorado Springs was shaken by the news of a homeless woman who was thrown from a bridge, paralyzed and sexually assaulted for multiple days until she was found by a passerby. The woman miraculously survived and her story left the community wondering how an incident like this could be prevented.
Conversations about safety and homelessness, particularly for women, took place throughout the region which concluded with a call for more services specifically for women during a time when only women would be present. Catholic Charities’ response was to develop Woman’s Opportunity Workshops (WOW). Workshops began in October 2016 and are held every other week at the Life Skills & Career Development Center at the Marian House, a safe and convenient location for women to meet. The workshops are led by Sherry Stulpin, Catholic Charities Life Skills Instructor, and Velda Baker, Penrose-St. Francis Faith Community of Care Nurse. A survey distributed to women at several social service agencies indicated they were most interested in topics regarding health, well-being, and career development.
As the workshops continue to evolve, workshop participants are encouraged to help guide the program to meet their needs. Several area professionals have participated in the workshops to share advice on career development, such as starting a small business. Additionally many of the participants share resources they have accessed successfully.
As the women access stability resources, such as job training, a new need has come to light: the availability of make-up. Sherry emphasizes that for women experiencing homelessness or financial insecurity, having a well-manicured appearance is a necessity to inspiring dignity and self-confidence, particularly when entering the workforce and transitioning into a new lifestyle. But for these women, who are struggling financially, make-up is a luxury they cannot afford to purchase.
Although the workshops arose from a devastating event, some of the most vulnerable women in the community now have a safe place to address their needs, build relationships with their peers, develop connections with successful women in the community, and become empowered for success.
If you are interested in participating with the Woman’s Opportunity Workshops to share skills, resources, provide guidance, or donate material goods, contact Sherry at 719-866-6290. Donations of unopened products such as makeup, nail polish, deodorant, hair products, and other beauty and hygiene essentials are greatly appreciated.
Woman’s Opportunity Workshops
Fourth Wednesday of Each Month
12: 30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Life Skills & Career Development Center
Catholic Charities Marian House
14 West Bijou Street
Call 719-866-6290 for more information.