As I walked behind a group of women last night following an evening of writing that ended with meditation, hugs, and well wishes for the week, I thought, wow, what an incredible group of women to be amongst. These are no ordinary women; these are women who are in a writing group offered by A Woman’s Place (AWP) for its clients. This group of revolving participants began 2 ½ years ago. These women pay a dear price to be invited into this group: they have suffered lives of broken dreams, dread, isolation, fear, confusion, physical, and financial abuse. Who would want to be in this group? Why no one of course. But there they were, and I am blessed to have witnessed theirs and my own transformation. I am grateful to share with you, our community, what happens in this space. Writing prompts are given, heads tilt down and pens furiously scribble visions of a life filled with serenity, joy, and love. The stories written and bravely shared are not of violence and pain, but rather futures and dreams.
Each writer’s eyes eventually mimic those of a child when they discover they knew the answer all along, and become brave enough to raise their hand. The writers realize this is their time: their time to believe in themselves, their time to validate the creative self that was tucked away in a blanket of shame and abuse. One woman calls in from another state; the group is a lifeline for her even after her move. This is their time to “be;” through the power of words and encouragement they begin to believe they are women of inestimable value. These are the people who enter back into the community, these strong, confident people. This is flourishing, this is thriving. It is a transformation beyond words, but if it were written, perhaps it was at one time penned most eloquently by Henry David Thoreau: “If one advances confidently in the direction of his [her] dreams, and endeavors to live the life which [s]he has imagined, [s]he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
The success of the writing group and its flourishing members were an inspiration for The Empowerment Project. With the belief that a strong community is built from small groups of its members coming together and empowering each other, AWP invites you to join The Empowerment Project. The Empowerment Project offers 12 (YES 12!) programs that are open to the community, and free of cost. We offer six teen programs (Spend Smart, Do What You Love, The Writers Block, Teen Picks Book Club, Teens Leaning In, and Healthy U). We also offer six adult programs (Money Club, Love What You Do, Writing Our Path, Book Talks, Leaning in at AWP, and Wellness Works). All programs meet once per month except the adult program Love What You Do, which offers one on one personal coaching, at various locations throughout Central Bucks.
So what would we, The Empowerment Project Team, do with $5.8 billion? I can tell you what we would not do. We, The Empowerment Team of A Woman’s Place and our small army of volunteers who have joined in to facilitate groups, mentor community members and share their time and knowledge would not stop working to build a more connected community. We would continue to strive for 100% success. What do we envision success looking like in a thriving community? A community where every person is empowered, every person is engaged, and every person is flourishing.
The Empowerment Project Team