1710-1712 E. Michigan Avenue, Lansing, MI 48912 womenscentergl@gmail.com (517) 372-9163

Monica’s story: “I can flourish”

I came to my appointment with Manuela one Saturday afternoon mid-winter for help with my resume.

Having recently received multiple rejections, I was a real a nervous Nellie. To start off the appointment she suggested I relax. Then she asked me to talk about my current job. After listening compassionately, she offered some suggestions for how to remedy my problems at my workplace. Then she turned to my resume and confirming my fears (and the reason I was there), said “It needs some work.” She asked a few clarifying questions about my experiences and shared with me what she saw as my strengths.

At that moment, 40 minutes into our appointment I started to cry. I was crying because she was providing validation of who I am and what I have to offer that I didn’t believe mattered. I left her office that day with a clear understanding about what I needed to do to properly sell myself with my resume and the support to follow through with it.

Looking back, I see that I was suffering from a fear of asserting myself as the valuable employee that I am. Without the ability to sell myself I was languishing on just the hopes that someone might discover me someday and offer me a position. Manuela at the Women’s Center helped me take my future into my own hands and succeed. This is not trivial assistance. It is life changing. This week I accepted a position at MSU that really suits me. I’m thrilled to once again be working among peers in an environment where I’ll be challenged and where I can flourish. I have an opportunity that will open so many doors and where I am back on my rightful course. I am a highly educated professional who has a formidable network of supportive friends and family. But I was languishing and I needed help. The help I got from the Women’s Center with my job search was completely unlike help I’ve gotten before. It was much, much better.

Originally posted Spring 2008.

Teresa’s story: “A soft place to land”

Greetings, my name is Teresa. I would like to share a little bit about myself and how the Women’s Center was there for me when I needed a soft place to land. First, a little bit about me and how I came to this place in my life. I am fast approaching 50 years on this planet. I am a mother of two grown children and at this writing I am now a grand mother. I left an OK, although emotionally, spiritually, and physically draining marriage of 27 years. That included the house, most of my belongings, my grown children, and a marital income almost in the $100 thousands. I left because despite years of therapy and failed efforts to include my ex in the healing process, I was dying inside. Fear kept me in an unhealthy relationship for decades. I took those fears and measured them against a bigger fear, that this was how my life was going to be until death. I chose to fight for me.

I moved back to Lansing with no friends and no social network, except for my mother and siblings. I had no job and only the money in my check book. Luckily, I could live with my mom. I applied for every job I could think of using the classifieds and Michigan Works. I continuously fought feelings of desperation, hopelessness, and loneliness. I was overwhelmed. I needed support, something or someone to lend a listening ear and time to gather my wits about me. I am not sure how I found the Women’s Center, but I called and explained my situation. They gave me a list of services they offered including Job Seekers, private counseling, and support groups…It definitely sounded like what I needed. I received help updating my resume through one on one time and in the job seekers group. Other members and staff gave insight into resources I had not thought of or were hesitant to try. Finally, with a good resume in hand and contacts at Sparrow I am now gainfully employed and buying my first house. Weekend workshops, geared to aid body, mind, and spirit allowed me a chance to feel good about myself and take care of me. Additionally, the speakers that were brought in helped with self-esteem.

Beyond the financial concerns I came in with, the center offered access to a supportive therapist at a price I could afford. These private sessions were immeasurable in my journey back to wellness and empowerment. The Not So Happy Endings support group gave me a safe place to vent, heal, hear other’s stories and gain wisdom from their experiences. We supported each other when times got rough or a new hurdle presented itself. It became for me a social bond that helped fill the void of loneliness. It is so important to know and feel that you are not alone. That it is not just you out there alone in the chaos of life.

In closing, the Women’s Center offered me a place where I did not have to explain or defend how I got myself into such a difficult place. They focused on what I wanted, what I felt I needed in a way that helped to empower me. I did not feel judged or helpless. I truly knew that they are there for their clients not just as a business income. Payment for services rendered was never mentioned. Thank you to everyone who touched my life. Blessings.

Originally posted Summer 2008.

Janet K’s story: “The lives of my family and I are forever changed”

I‘m writing to express a heartfelt thank you for your help during my job search. WOW, I remember about a year and 1/2 ago when I walked into the Women’s Center and you totally blew my socks off when you gave me a glimpse at my potential. Funny, for better or worse that feels like a life time ago. The truth of the matter is that all of the resumé and letter revisions, serving as a reference, feeding me leads and, most importantly, your kind words of support and guidance made all the difference in the world. During what was a difficult and sometimes painful experience I had hope. The lives of my family and I are forever changed because of your kindness. Words can’t express how blessed I felt to have had you on my side. Thank you again. Take care, have a happy new year, and may God bless you and yours.

Janet K.

Originally posted Winter 2009.

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