With many folks fully vaccinated, NOSW is thrilled to once again be offering in-person programming.
On April 26, 28 and 30, we offered our first three-day in-person program since the pandemic for a small group of women at Safe Harbor, an emergency shelter and advocacy center in Ashland.
“It was just great getting out there and delivering program content in person again,” said Jennifer Walden, NOSW program coordinator and co-facilitator. “The ladies at Safe Harbor were so enthusiastic – it was wonderful to just be in the room with them and engage with them directly in real time. Sheila Boyle and the administrative team at Safe Harbor are so great to work with, and we want to be a support to their service and their mission, because, like us, they are working toward a brighter future for women in Appalachia.”
The first day focused on sharing personal stories, balancing our needs with the needs of others, and building self-esteem.
Day two focused on healthcare and mindfulness. The group discussed the concept of the cairn, an ancient structure composed of rocks stacked by balance. With the cairn as a metaphor for our lives, the stones represent all the elements including work/life purpose, relationships, spirituality, creativity and others. If any stone is removed or out of balance, our wellbeing is compromised.
On day three, the women learned about SMART goals: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timebound. Using stones as a metaphor again, they talked about how breaking big goals (boulders) into smaller goals (rocks and pebbles) makes goals feel less overwhelming.
“It’s wonderful to be with others in an authentic way,” said Jimmie Lewis, NOSW recruitment, assessment and graduate engagement coordinator and co-facilitator. “Our focus on self-esteem and holistic health creates a shared space for self-reflection, disclosure and growth. The women at Safe Harbor were able to connect with us as women whose task it is to value ourselves by identifying both our strengths and vulnerabilities. One of the participants, Lisa, shared with us at lunch on day two that she felt like we were ‘on their level’… one of the best compliments you can get as a facilitator.”