“I am proud of the woman I am today, because I went through one hell of a time becoming her.”
Heather was in an abusive marriage for 4 years. She had three children 2, 3, and a 10 with special needs. Heather was able to leave her abusive relationship with the support and help of family in May 2019. She moved in with her parents and started therapy to heal from her trauma. In July 2019, Heather heard about WIN through her brother who is a lawyer. Heather started her journey with WIN in July 2019. Heather was lost and was trying to find herself again. Heather thrived at WIN and learned who she was again. SHE FOUND HER VOICE! Heather received the Carina P. Michel Memorial Education Fund to get her GED with Kansel. She started working on her GED in December and is continued to work to achieve her goal. WIN was able to help Heather polish her resume and she worked with Human Relations (HR) mentors to enhance her employability. An attorney’s office contacted WIN looking for an office administrator. The staff at WIN knew that Heather was ready and has the skills they were looking for. WIN and HR mentors worked with Heather doing mock interviews before the big day. SHE WAS READY! Every time there was an obstacle in her way, she would just smile and say “I got this.” Heather had an interview and then was called to come back for a 2nd interview. On February 13, 2020, Heather came into the executive director office and said “I got the job and thank you for believing in me.” Heather started her new adventure on Monday. We are so proud of her and wish her the best.
Amy had a job in banking and beer (okay, not at the same time), however, through a domestic violence situation lost everything. Referred by the Family Crisis Center, Amy started a new journey through Wichita Women’s Initiative Network (WIN).
At WIN, Amy re-built her self-esteem through working in the program and being with other women who faced the same challenges. Amy stated, “I was surprised to feel so comfortable at WIN because it is such a caring place. It was okay there to share my darkest secrets and start healing.”
In partnership with WIN, Amy was able to enroll in a unique manufacturing training program offered at Breakthrough (Episcopal Social Services). The four-week training provided both classroom and hands-on experience at Martin Interconnect Services. For Amy, it gave her the opportunity to build up working from part-time to full-time. Amy stated, “I loved learning a new skill and thought that Leonor (the Breakthrough instructor) was a great leader. She was there for the ‘right reasons’ to help me be successful.” At the end of December, Amy graduated to enter a full-time job at Martin Interconnect Services, where she loves being a part of their team. Final words from Amy are, “I feel 100% better in my self-esteem and starting this new phase of my life.”
Although Jenny Lu had a master’s degree in accounting from China, she was about to finish her American bachelor’s degree in accounting at Wichita State University. With each completed semester, her husband became angrier with her success. Jenny Lu made the decision to leave him and continue with her journey to success, despite the threats. Whenever the husband had visitation rights, a police officer had to be present because of his anger and abuse. Jenny Lu received stable housing at Harbor House and was referred to WIN. Once in the program, she thrived in building her confidence and grow an even stronger commitment to becoming successful. Through connections made by the WIN staff, Jenny Lu was able to secure a job with a small business who needed a part-time bookkeeper and was willing to work around Jenny Lu’s class schedule. She worked there for a year, while finishing her accounting degree. With diploma in hand, Jenny Lu trained her replacement at the small business and now works at Koch Industry in the accounting department. WIN was able to not only build Jenny Lu’s confidence, but help her work through legal and financial challenges, as well as making work connections to assist Jenny Lu transition to a career building job.
Elizabeth married a young man she met in college, and soon after became a mother of two girls. Financial and personal stresses caused trouble for the young couple, and the relationship turned controlling and abusive. Although she had few financial resources of her own, Elizabeth left with her daughters to escape the physical and emotional abuse.
At the recommendation of family, she turned to WIN to help rebuild her self-confidence and heal emotionally. It was at WIN that she was encouraged to set and accomplish goals – and decided to enroll in vocational training to become a certified nursing assistant. WIN’s volunteer tutors helped her with her studies during the paid study time the program offers, and soon she was able to pass the state CNA licensing exam.
Now, she is graduated from the WIN program and works full-time at Wichita’s Catholic Care Center, a large senior care facility with good pay, benefits, and opportunity for advancement. Her future is bright and she is living independently with her daughters, in a safe and stable home.
Life as a single mom still has its challenges, including dealing with the needs of her daughter’s learning disability, but she says, “I know now that whatever comes my way, I can handle it – and by doing that, I’m setting a good example for my girls.”