We all know it’s good to be a giver…it’s ingrained in us from the moment our feet met the earth. All too often though, more often than we’d like to admit, our giving is out of guilt, done only with credit card swipes, seemingly abstract and sterile. Our giving has become dollars and cents: our real “eye on the prize” is the tax write off we receive in return, not the full heart and peace of mind, knowing we made the world slightly better for someone. Think back, when was the last time you felt so compelled to help, so drawn to volunteer, so moved that you couldn’t help but try to make a difference?
For us, it was WEN.
For 25 years, the Women’s Employment Network in Kansas City has been helping women get their careers back and thus regain their self worth, while gaining independence and falling back in love with who they are. From burned-out business owners looking for change, to battered and abused single mothers who have nothing more than a G.E.D., every woman that passes through WEN’s doors has a moving and almost eerily relatable story. One recent graduate’s story sent chills down the collective spines of the packed banquet hall filled with CEO’s, socialites, and public servants at WEN’s annual luncheon this spring.
The well dressed and completely confident woman, took her place behind the podium in front of over 1,000 attendees and began her story…
She was a single mother dependent on her very loving and long-term boyfriend. One day, however, her love, her life, and her will were shattered: her once doting partner shot her repeatedly during a domestic dispute. She was left with no home, no way to support herself or her daughter, enormous medical bills, and more than a year of very dark recovery. A friend directed her to the Women’s Employment Network and after much soul searching, she began the journey to a happier her.
Through WEN’s program, she relearned life skills: how to take back control of her finances, how to rework her resume so she could secure interviews, and how to properly interview to land a full time job. She worked closely with the WEN social worker who helped her with housing, and issues with her daughter. WEN even helped her dress the part, giving her not only tips for proper career wear, but actually providing her with suits for her interviews. At the end of the 5 week program, she indeed found a job that would help her get back on her feet. More importantly, she learned loving herself might be hard at times, but when you love yourself you can take over the world.
This is just one story, but it could really be anyone’s story. The work that WEN does builds women like you and me, and that is what compels us to give back. We see ourselves in every woman that embarks on her journey with WEN, and no matter if the gift is monetary, time spent working with women on interview skills, teaching women how to wear their hair, or helping them get back on track with a financial budget, each act of giving directly impacts a woman, and really does make their life that much more worthwhile.
Learn more about how to help Kansas City women get back on track at kcwen.org