Below is a list of our frequently asked questions. If you have one that is not covered you can submit it by using the contact address below.
What does the WRC do to help women find jobs?
Providing opportunities to meet the employment goals of women is part of our mission. You may be interested to know that women of all ages, circumstances and education levels come to the Center. Our programs accommodate their diverse needs. Perhaps a story would best illustrate what we do. Betsy, in her mid-fifties, is new to the community, and she has left a corporate job in the north. She needs to work to support herself but wants to make a career change. She pays a visit to the Women’s Resource Center and discovers Employment Strategies where she can have a one-hour consultation with an employment specialist to fine tune her resume and explore employment options. Employment Strategies also reveals to Betsy that she needs to learn some computer skills so she signs up for the Introduction to Word class. Meanwhile, all this job hunting and dealing with the move has left Betsy overwhelmed and discouraged. She makes an appointment for Mental Health Counseling and is encouraged to join the Self Esteem support group to work on her self-esteem. Betsy also can investigate the Community Resources suggested by the Center staff. Betsy is also able to take advantage of the Career Closet for clothes suitable for a job interview.
Who uses the Career Closet?
The Career Closet at the Women’s Resource Center opened in 2005 with the purpose of providing women in need with appropriate clothing options for job interviews and work. Hours for the Career Closet are Monday to Thursday 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. We average around 40 to 50 clients per month.
The Women’s Resource Center also operates a resale store – The Unique Boutique in Jennings Arcade on 12th Street, Downtown Bradenton where there are slightly more upscale labels and casual clothing options available for purchase at very reasonable prices.
We just LOVE all of our amazing volunteers, without the generosity of the over one hundred and twenty volunteers that we have we would not be able to offer the range of programs and services that we currently do. The WRC and Unique Boutique operate with three full time staff and three part time staff members. Our volunteers contributed over 10, 500 hours of service in 2012 which equates to five full time employees! If you think you would be interested in volunteering please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Front Desk Assistance: Answer the phone, greet clients, explain our programs, make community referrals and accept clothing donations.
Career Closet/Sorting Room: Sort clothing donations, help transport clothing to the Unique Boutique and keep the Career Closet tidy and stocked with career appropriate clothing.
Computer Instructors: Beginners class for clients with little or no computer experience. Two hours per week. Basic Excel for two 2-hour classes per month.
Unique Boutique: The Unique Boutique is always looking for fun, fashion loving ladies who have a couple of hours a week to spare to help with the shop. Any retail experience is greatly appreciated but not necessary just a fun, outgoing personality!
Administrative Assistance/Data Entry: We are always appreciative of any data entry assistance. Attention to detail is a must!
What's it like being a volunteer?
“When I tell people that I volunteer at the WRC, they always ask, “What do they do there? What is it like?” They are always impressed with what I say.
Like others, I had driven past the WRC on countless occasions, and I would often tell myself that I needed to stop in to find out more about it and what I could do to help. Finally, one determined day last October, I stopped in to donate some clothes for the Career Closet. From the moment I stepped into the building, I was struck by the warm and inviting atmosphere. Although I came at a busy time, with phones ringing and staff hurrying from room to room, a certain calmness permeated it all. I would later realize that this calm is what those who need assistance need the most. After I laid down my armful of clothes, I decided that I wanted to donate more than clothes. I wanted to donate my time.
If you call the WRC on Thursday mornings, I will most likely be the one to answer the phone. I also help out with other tasks, as they come up. But my primary duty is the desk, which is ironic since in my professional life, I have always hated phone work. This time, though, it’s different and feels important. You feel like you’re helping someone, albeit in the smallest of ways. Calling someone to remind her of her appointment or setting an appointment with a counselor is like helping someone take steps to improve her life. Referring someone to another agency for assistance also is helping.
While fielding the phone calls, you nearly always get a story, an explanation as to why the caller is calling. The stories are usually very brief and personal, (“Hi, I am newly divorced and I’ve never worked. Can you help me?” Or, “I was in an abusive relationship, but I got out of it and went back to school. I have a couple of job interviews lined up, and I need some clothes for them.”). Sometimes, you get a call from someone new to the area, someone who wants to connect with other women in our community. Or you get a call from someone who has been told that the WRC can refer her to another agency that can help them. It appears to me that the WRC is the starting point for many women. It’s called a resource center with good reason.
Volunteering at the WRC doesn’t only help the WRC; it also helps those who need it to improve their lives and move on.”
Is Mental Health Counseling for me?
Life has many twists and turns, some of our own making and others out of our control. As we maneuver through this obstacle course we are strengthened by a wide variety of resources that help us find joy and keep moving. Family, friends, faith, music, art, sports, and nature to name a few.
There are times in life when we neglect our resources or they seem scarce or depleted. Our finances, relationships, environment might all be strained. The weather, the news, our jobs might be the focus of our attention. Over time we find ourselves unable to feel happiness in activities that used to rejuvenate us. Sometimes we seem anxious all the time and have strong emotional reactions that surprise us. Sometimes we feel stuck.
It’s time to revisit and nurture those resources. Mental health counseling is a resource that can help you reconnect with people, sort out priorities and find new pleasure in life. A counselor is trained to listen carefully, clarify chaos, nurture self-respect and cultivate problem solving.
At the WRC some women use the mental health services once or twice, others may come for ten sessions and others may be referred to other resources. All our counselors have Masters degrees and extensive experience dealing with many types of issues. All services are confidential.
Tell me about support groups
The WRC offers many different types of support groups – from emotional support such as The Living Room and Less Stress More Joy facilitated Dr. Judy Sedgeman to a group aimed at helping friends and families of Addicts with Phyllis Tropp. In addition we have Latina Sef Empowerment and Evaluating Unhealthy Relationships with referrals for both Grief Support and Caregivers Support. Check out our calendar by clicking here for days and times.
“The circle has no beginning and no end. When one sits in a circle with others, everyone is equal & linked. There is shared power” ~Maureen Murdock
Why did the WRC open a resale shop?
There are lots of good things about a well run resale shop like recycling, bargains and hidden treasures, but the bottom line for us is our ‘bottom line’. As we grow and become busier we need to look at ways to generate more income so we can continue to offer our excellent services to women for reasonable or no cost.
In October of 2005 Unique Boutique was born. The ideal location is in Jennings Arcade on Old Main ( 12th St W ) between Fav’s Italian Cucina and Jeannie’s Bistro Coffee and Tea.
Not only does this shop provide funding for the Women’s Resource Center, it has become a gathering place for women especially on Girls Day Out held on the last Thursday of every month. The variety and quality of merchandise has made this a great destination for an outing. Shoes, bags, jewelry and clothes in all sizes are artfully displayed, making shopping a pleasure. Be sure to get on their mailing list to receive information about “flash sales” and special deals!
How can I motivate my friend to come to the Women's Resource Center?
Asking for assistance is a difficult step, complicated by first recognizing there is a problem followed by believing you deserve to get some help and that it is not a sign of failure to have challenges.
Getting to that point of ‘being ready’ is key. One client summed it up by saying she was finally at a point where the pain of being stuck was worse than the thought of seeking change.
Sometimes we simply feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. Let your friend know when you have felt vulnerable and reached out. Share your story, bring her information but never give advice. Offer to drive, watch her kids or make dinner but empower her by assuming she can handle the decision when she is ready.