Wichita Women's Initiative Network Inc
Rhonda is 22 and a new graduate of WIN. "I started this program in October, 2012. Coming into WIN, I was lost, not really knowing what was next. All I knew was me and my son were a long way away from home and going back was not an option. So I had to focus on my goals, keep the faith and work as hard as possible to build a foundation for myself and my son. I'm not saying that it was easy. It's probably one of the hardest things that I've ever had to do ... finding myself, focusing on just the two of us and stopping the cycle."
"I remember beginning the program thinking that getting my mess of a life together in two years was nearly impossible and now here I am 9 months later with my CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) license and an HHA (Home Health Aide) certificate starting my first real job as a full time Nursing Assistant! This is only the beginning because my ultimate goal is to become a Registered Nurse. I know I can do it because of the new-found confidence I have in myself which, if not for WIN, I would not have known to look deep inside myself and pull out what I needed to move forward in my life and change it for the better."
"I hope for young people to see my story and know that they don't have to let their circumstances define who they are. There is hope and you just have to have faith in yourself and work hard and things will slowly work out."
Susan is 43 years old and has 2 sons ages 22 & 17. "My journey began in rehab fighting a 30 year drug addiction. I went there because I wanted to change. I was tired of hurting the people I loved and tired of hurting myself. In May, 2010, I decided to leave a 17 year abusive relationship."
"Most shelters allow you to stay 30-90 days. From my experiences that is just not enough time. When you leave a domestic violence situation, you and your children must change everything. Their school changes, your job changes and your home. You must keep yourself and your children safe and if you fail and must return to the abusive relationship it becomes worse, in some cases resulting in death. This is what makes WIN unique. The program is for up to 2 years. You work 20 hours which are flexible around your schedule. This gives you time to get therapy, education and help for your kids, which a 9-5 job would not allow."
" I started WIN in February, 2011. Since then I graduated Valedictorian from the GED program, spoke at the graduation ceremony and completed 4 semesters at Butler Community College. The past 3 semesters I received a 4.0! I have a two bedroom apartment for my son and myself and have been able to get a car. I have gotten therapy for my son and myself. WIN also helped me file for divorce. I successfully graduated from the WIN program in May, 2013. I plan on continuing my education at Newman University and getting a Bachelor's degree in Business."
"Without the support of WIN, I would not have been able to accomplish these goals."
" I was told that I would never amount to anything. But guess what? With WIN I am somebody! Now I feel like I can do it if I set my mind to it."
"When I first started I had very low self esteem. But WIN had people who told me, 'You can do it' ... 'You can work' ... 'You can go to school' ... 'You can be somebody.' I am a stronger person now because of WIN. They care about people who want to succeed."
Ashley was a stay-at-home mother of three. When her husband started using drugs and became abusive, going home was terrifying for her and her children. After he destroyed their home in a drug-induced rage, Ashley went to stay at a local domestic violence shelter and was later referred to WIN.
While at WIN, Ashley completed a legal assistant certificate at the Wichita Area Technical College and found employment with a local aircraft company. Her life and that of her children has improved greatly since escaping the cycle of abuse.
Now remarried, she is in a healthy relationship which has created a loving environment for her children. "I can only hope and pray other women can have the opportunities offered by WIN that I have had," she says.