Cindy Rose (L), Executive Director of Women’s Resource Center, spoke to Hickory Rotary today. Sue Bumgarner (R), wife of Rotarian Stan Bumgarner and Counselor Intern at WRC, introduced the speaker. The Woman’s Resource Center is celebrating their 27th year in the community. The WRC works to improve lives and empower women through workforce development, advocacy, enrichment programs, and community partnerships.
Women’s Resource Center is a nonprofit agency that offers enrichment programs, life transition services, counseling services, Women2Work programs, and crisis assistance. The mission of Women’s Resource Center is to improve the lives of women and empower them to achieve their fullest potential.
The idea for a women’s center was born in the fall of 1986 when three women who were working on the Woman’s Day Celebration at Catawba Valley Community College discovered that they had a common dream of such a facility. One was an educator; the other two were nurses at Frye Regional Medical Center.
These three women approached the administrator for Frye Regional Medical Center in the hopes of persuading the hospital to fund this center. Funding was given for a period of one year only. The hospital provided an old house that it owned, and made the necessary renovations for the center to move in. In August of 2004, the Center was able to move into a beautiful historical home owned by the Hickory Landmark Society. This building, formerly known as the Parsonage, is located at 125 3rd Street NE in Hickory, NC. The new, larger space has enabled the center to increase its programs, support group meetings, and life transition services including counseling.
Funding for the center has come from the Service League of Hickory, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, the Beaver Family Foundation, the Unifour Foundation, and through other private foundations. WRC also relies on contributions from the community; including area faith based organizations, civic groups, businesses, and individuals, as well as donations provided by various support groups that meet at the center.
The program and services at the Women’s Resource Center continue to expand, as do the varied needs of the clients they serve. The center staffs, board of directors and volunteers, are committed to its mission and vision to improve women’s lives and to serve the needs of women and families in our community.
Cindy said that “one size does not fit all” when it comes to working with women in transition. There are no set criteria or guidelines that work in every situation. She feels that the greatest asset of Women’s Resource Center is flexibility and innovation to address the ever changing demands the center faces.
“At the present time, the biggest challenge for our agency is the high unemployment that continues to plague our region. We are seeing many women, sole breadwinners for their families, who are losing their jobs. These women have long-term employment histories with great work records. Some do not have high school diplomas, and many do not have any secondary education. When they lose their jobs, they find it very difficult to obtain work. They are using up all of their benefits from their previous employment just to live. When the money runs out, they have no place to turn.”
WRC’s Women2Work Workforce Development Program provides support, coaching, mentoring, counseling and employment opportunities through collaboration with other agencies and corporations. “We help women to secure self-sustaining employment, thereby restoring them to active and flourishing members of the community. We provide professional clothing, shoes, make-up, accessories, and other items to women entering or reentering the workforce. Also provided are bus passes, gas cards, and phone cards. Women will also meet with our Support Services Coordinator and may be referred to another WRC program or to other agencies.”