Wichita Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) was founded in 1997 to fulfill a previously unmet need in the community: to provide women survivors of domestic abuse with the employment, job-readiness training and emotional support, so they can become self-sufficient rather than rely on an abuser for financial support.
Initially, the program offered a supportive environment where survivors could work 20 hours a week on sewing projects and food product packaging, to earn a small income while recovering from their abuse and starting to live independently.
The program was redesigned in 2017 with a new focus on job-readiness training, employability, and independent living skills — while continuing to provide emotional and educational support. Replacing the previous on-site work projects were contract assembly work for local manufacturers; and preparing WIN’s signature chocolate-coated pretzels, which are sold by local retailers. Also new to the program was career mentoring by volunteer human resources professionals; and 60-day work internships with local employers. The goal of the program continues to be to prepare participants for full-time employment in the community, so they could become self-confident, self-supporting and permanently independent from their abusers.
After more than 20 years of service to the Wichita/Sedgwick County area, WIN has empowered more than 220 women – an average of 25 each year – to become financially independent and avoid future abusive relationships.