We are looking forward to our upcoming benefit for REST which provides direct services to some of the hundreds of women and girls who are sold for sex each night in our area. REST is also interested in working with men to reduce the demand for sex workers.
REST is an official partner in the City of Seattle's Coordinated Effort Against Sexual Exploitation (CEASE) response network. Our speaker will be Carolyn Eller who joined REST earlier this year, after working to raise awareness of sex trafficking in Bulgaria and in Greece.
In Advocates for Women the plight of girls and women forced into sex work has been an issue that has been high on our radar since our group started.
After seeing the images and reading about the devestating loses of people caught in the crossfire of the Syrian civil war, we wanted to help the refugees fleeing their homeland.
We were excited to find that an enterpreneral Jordanian woman, Rita Zawaideh, in Seattle started an aid organization called the Salaam Cultural Museum. Primarily, they provide medical aid, but over the years, they have added other smaller projects as they witnessed desperate needs. We have chosen to support their Women's Sewing Project which is at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan.
The women in the program lived middle class lives in Syria, and now find that they need new skills to earn money. The Women's Sewing Project teaches them to sew and to market their finished pieces in the camp, which is as large as a small city. A large percentage of Syrian refugee households are headed by women — for them, this new income source is vital for their families.
When the months long training program ends, each woman gets to keep the sewing machine, table, threads, cloth, and other sewing supplies that she has been using. This enables her to begin her own home based business.
Rita Zawaideh, the President of Salaam Cultural Museum, will tell us more about the project and the situation for the refugees. As usual, Advocates for Women will serve a delicious meal for your enjoyment – the dinner will feature cuisine of the area around Syria.
Advocates for Women raised $2,400 at their benefit dinner for the Child Development Center at Tomorrow's Hope, which serves the very critical needs of homeless and low-income children in Snohomish County.
A full 90% of their children qualify for free and reduced price lunches when they enter public schools. This means that many of their families struggle to find the necessary money for participating in this program.
Over 100 children, from infants to school age, come to Tomorrow's Hope from Housing Hope's emergency and transitional housing programs and other local affordable housing partners in the community. Tomorrow’s Hope serves children from infants through a Head Start preschool and follows up with before and after school care for children up to age 12.
Several members of Advocates for Women visited the center and enthusiastically reported back about how Sonja and her staff are helping children build vocabularies and learn in many ways while also teaching and guiding the parents toward success.
In every room the children eagerly came up to Alex and Sonia for hugs and greetings, so clearly the children feel loved and at home at Tomorrow's Hope. In a room of 2- or 3-year-olds the children sat in a circle learning the sounds that letters make. The children were eager, engaged learners. The kitchen was temporarily quiet, but throughout the day healthy breakfasts, lunches, and snacks are prepared. In back of the building is a fenced and covered playground where all the children spend time building muscles and enjoying the fresh air.
One of our favorite stops on the tour was the natural wooded creek winding its way through the Housing Hope campus. Tomorrow's Hope is one of the many projects of the parent organization, Housing Hope. Sonia occasionally enjoys a quiet walk along the wooded path with a child who is having a difficult day. The natural setting is calming and peaceful.
In their thank you note, Tomorrow's Hope thanks Advocates for Women and the many donors from the EUUC community:
Never for a minute doubt that your gift has made a difference. Because of your gift, we have been able to create a reading corner in two classrooms with soft chairs where children can read and dream. Because of your gift we were able to purchase some soft multicultural babies that reflect our child population.
Because of your gift we now have soft multicultural career figures. Instead of children imagining themselves as princesses they can now hopefully see themselves as plumbers, astronauts, firefighters, doctors, and carpenters. You have helped them dream of a bigger future. Because of your gift, the infant teachers now have a rocking chair.
Advocates for Women hosted a benefit dinner and program for Landesa's Girls Project. This video shows us some of the girls they have helped.
Melany Grout, Attorney and Land Tenure Specialist, of Landesa spoke about the challenges facing young women in West Bengal, India, and how Landesa is helping them build secure and promising futures. The money donated at this benefit was sent to the Landesa Girls Project which works to help girls from landless families become owners of micro-plots when they become women. Enjoy a photo essay about 5 Girls Who Said NO to Child Marriage in West Bengal.
In the Cooch Behar district of West Bengal, India Landesa provides micrro-plots to girls and teaches them about farming, nutrition, and their legal property rights. By beginning to grow vegetables and fruit they provide both income to pay for schooling and improved nutrition for their families. The Girls Project seeks to build more promising futures with improved economic and social prospects while diminishing the liklihood of adversities from child marriage, lack of education, and malnutrition.
Advocates for Women hosted the benefit featuring a free dinner of West Bengali cuisine and a short program by Niketa KulKarm.
Young Women Empowered works with teen women who are from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds. The programs help the young women build the confidence, resiliency, and leadership skills they need to achieve their goals and to become leaders in their schools, communities, and the world.
Teens from middle class backgrounds learn beside teens from less advantaged families. Half of the youth are immigrants and 85% are young women of color. The participants represent a spectrum of family, sexual orientation, religious, political, and educational backgrounds. Families who can pay for the programs enroll their youth and pay the cost. Scholarships are available for those who cannot afford the tuition. That's where you become an important piece of their work.
Advocates for Women hosted a benefit featuring a free international dinner and a program by Young Women Empowered and eleven of their young women.
The cost of the food and all other expenses are personally paid for by the members of Advocates for Women. No money from the Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Church Social Justice fund was used to fund this benefit.
Marty Hartman, Executive Director of Mary's Place in Seattle, told us about their consistent need for several personal care items which are in short supply. Advocates for Women decided to hold a paper drive to collect these necessities for the homeless women at Mary's Place. As the weeks went by our pile of paper goods grew to become a small hill. We asked members of the congregation to donate toilet paper, pocket packages of tissue, tampons, feminine pads, large diapers (size 4 - 6), Pull Ups, and Depends.
Advocates for Women raised $2452 for Mujeres de Maiz Opportunity Foundation at their benefit in March. We matched the largest individual donation —$300— from funds generously provided by people who Pledged to the Social Justice fund at Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Congregation.
Mujeres de Maiz kindly donated six lovely hand woven and embroidered textiles for a silent auction. The money from the silent auction is included in the total amount raised on the night of the benefit: $2452.
By supporting Mujeres de Maiz Opportunity Foundation you help them open educational opportunities for the women in a seamstress cooperative in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. Benefits offered by this charity include
At the March 16 benefit Judith Pasco, Board Chair of Mujeres de Maiz Opportunity Foundation, told about the lives of women who are furthering their education and reducing their families' poverty. Download the poster.
On December 5, 2013 a group from Advocates for Women attended a film showing Girl Rising at Kane Hall, University of Washington. This powerful film illustrates how education can empower girls and communities. Nine girls from different countries told their compelling stories.
At the benefit dinner Marty Hartman, Executive Director of Mary's Place, spoke of the complexity of services needed by homeless women and their children. Many of the 80 attendees at this benefit dinner had never considered that people on kidney dialysis and chemo therapy for cancer treatment might be homeless. Mary's Place offers a dark resting room where ill women and children may rest during the day.
We hadn't realized that when a homeless woman gets back on her feet with a job and apartment, she might once again feel isolated away from her friends who understand what she has survived. So, Mary's Place offers a warm community of women supporting women during and after homelessness. Those who succeed in obtaining jobs and homes, may still remain active members of Mary's Place.
Before hosting the benefit dinner, Advocates for Women toured Mary's Place and were treated to lunch with their community of women. The fresh green beans, carrots, green salad, and fruit dispelled our preconceived ideas of the quality of food available to the homeless. Every day, three or four women volunteer to serve lunch for the 140 women in the community. What amazed us was these volunteers would show up in the morning, look in the fridge and pantry for what ingredients were available, and come up with a menu. By 12:30 lunch is in serving bowls and being carried to the tables!
Mary's Place helps homeless women rebuild their lives. They began well over a decade ago by asking homeless women what services would help them the most as they navigate through life. Women asked for help with jobs, finding housing, food, child care, safety, laundry, and providing a community in which they feel welcome, safe, and accepted. Today, Mary's Place serves women and their children with myriad services.
Advocates for Women warmly appreciate the generosity of the 80 attendees at the benefit. That night people donated $3612!
The women and children at Mary's Place need warm outer wear to keep themselves warm this winter. They also need personal care products to keep themselves clean and to feel good about themselves. They work around Mary's Place to earn points which they spend in Bon Mary's, a store for the Mary's Place community. This enables the women to purchase gifts for friends and family this holiday season. As we all know, giving makes us feel good inside.
In addition to serving homeless women, Mary's Place continues to serve clients who have landed on their feet and have jobs and apartments—often these women need the support of their community at Mary's Place as they slowly integrate into communities elsewhere. These women purchase things that bring them joy in their new homes.
Can you donate something that homeless women and their children might need or want to purchase from Bon Mary's? Please drop off your donations at the Advocates for Women table in the Narthex. Here is a list of items that the women enjoy having available:
|winter coats, hats||reading glasses|
|raincoats, umbrellas||bottled water|
|back packs, tote bags, especially water resistant||bus tickets|
blankets, sheets, towels
|Gift cards for coffee shops|
|personal care: tooth brushes, shampoo, soap, deoderant, razors, lotion, hair brushes, feminine hygine||Gift cards for grocery and drug stores|
|vitamins, pain relievers, cold and allergy medicine, first aid items||books and toys for children|
|socks, bras, and underwear||pull-ups and size 4 - 6 diapers|
Ayni Education International provides educational opportunities for Afghan children. Ayni empowers and inspires those children and their families to strengthen their communities with peacefulness and fairness. Ayni seeks to build connections between Afghans and Americans.
Advocates for Women are hosting another delicious ethnic meal featuring lamb rezala, beef kebabs, vegetarian chapli kebabs, saffron rice, salad, naan, and two desserts (menu and recipes). Enjoy the flavors of Afghanistan while learning about the impressive work of Ayni Education International which has been bringing educational opportunities to poor regions of Afghanistan since the Taliban was pushed out in 2001.
You will have an opportunity to donate to Ayni, and all proceeds will be passed on to that worthy organization. The members of Advocates for Women are donating the food and all other expenses of this event. Please check out the Ayni website where you will find much more information about how they are bringing peace and empowering girls and their families.
The Edmonds Police Department is holding a Candlelight vigil which will bring our attention to this problem. We can all make a difference in stopping domestic violence.Poster
Speakers from YouthCare will inform us about the challenges of helping youth victims of sex trafficking. Following their presentation the panelists will answer questions.
A free dinner follows the presentation, but we encourage you to bring your checkbook and make a donation which will be payed forward to YouthCare for their Bridge shelter which provides beds and services to youth who have been trafficked. We invite everyone who is concerned about the exploitation of youth to attend.
Refugee Women's Alliance (ReWA) will have a group of women graduate from a domestic violence class in December.
We have been making gift bags for the graduates since we began as a social justice committee at EUUC. We are beginning to sew tote bags and to plan which small gifts will bring smiles and joy to the graduates.
Anne Munch discussed commonly held beliefs about rape victims, offenders, and the meaning of consent, and the important roles these beliefs play in how rape cases are perceived and handled.
Some of us met with the Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Church Women's Circle in watching Dale Allen's DVD about the place of women in our society. Download a poster.
In May 2012 we hosted a panel discussion with three speakers who informed us about the prevalence and problem of domestic violence in Snohomish and King counties.
Domestic violence pervades all neighborhoods, economic levels, races, and religions. A panel of four speakers representing police and social assistance workers will speak followed by a question and discussion period.
In 2011 we invited a panel of speakers from Refugee Women's Alliance to inform us of the challenges faced by refugees in Puget Sound. Seven refugees told us their stories, forming the basis for us to understand what they left behind and what makes their lives difficult here. The refugees brought delicious food, providing a feast for all to share.
In March 2011 we held a forum to support Women for Women International. We served dinner to the attendees featuring dishes from Iran, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo.
"It was wonderful to receive your gift of $1698...Your gift brings hope to a determined woman who is immediately grateful for the help you're willing to give her and her family."
President and COO
Women for Women International
Women for Women International provides women survivors of war and civil strife with the tools and resources to move from crisis and poverty to stability and self-sufficiency. Their motto, “changing the world one woman at a time,” reflects A4W’s philosophy that far-reaching change is possible through steady, incremental effort.
During the program two speakers informed us about violence against women in countries at war:
"You are amongst One by One's most committed donors and we cannot thank you enough for choosing to act on your convictions to help end obstetric fistula."
One by One
In November 2011 we held a forum to inform people about obstetric fistula and to raise money to help those afflicted with this condition. We were extremely pleased to raise enough to pay for five women to be treated and hopefully cured of this debilitating condition.
We are grateful to our two speakers, Bob Mazelow and Carolyn Anderman, who educated us and inspired us to give generously.
Lakeside School teacher, Bob Mazelow, who has visited and contributed to fistula hospitals in Africa, shared his knowledge and experiences about people working to reduce the incidence of obstetric fistua and to surgically repair fistulas.
Carolyn Anderman from the One by One organization spoke about her organization's support of fistula prevention and treatment programs. All donations from the evening were given to One by One.
Contact: Advocates for Women