May Days

Here's what we have been up to in May!

  • We've started to have a national and international influence! 10 women in Scotland, one an actual Scot, went through the Libera model. We also taught the Libera model to a Russian exchange student. Our former President, Nnenna Minimah, who took a new job in Louisiana, plans to implement Libera groups there. And finally, a Native American woman from New York is coming to shadow our Executive Director in June for two weeks, to possibly take the model to NY and potentially her reservation in Florida.
  • Through the tremendous generosity of Premier Chevrolet Buick GMC, http://www.premiergmofwv.com we have purchased a second Libera bus, which will double our Libera meeting space and help us to cover the state more easily and quickly!! 
  • We started a third new teen Libera group
  • We started a group at the Bartlett House Nitor apartments
  • We have scheduled a Martinsburg one day workshop for June 18
  • We organized and are hosting a Mental Health First Aid training for 11 Libera Listeners
  • We added a new Listener
  • We have finished up traveling to all 55 counties of West Virginia at least twice!
  • We have done private counseling for teens
  • We have helped two women transition out of physically abusive living situations
  • We have helped a homeless woman get financial help, food, and resources
  • We are working on a training manual for Libera Listeners
  • We have created a Libera Board Onboarding Manual

 

What's Been Happening Through Libera?

Here are some ways Libera has had an impact recently:

  • We connected with multiple Girl Scout troops around the state of West Virginia at the WV Annual Meeting in Vienna, and handed out resources and discussed ways we can lead them through the Libera model
  • We handed out resources and did a presentation on human trafficking for a local church
  • We started a Libera group in Taylor County
  • We led a Libera group for young mothers
  • We made connections with the Latino community in Martinsburg and laid groundwork for a potential group with them in the future
  • We received the go ahead to start a Libera group at Bartlett House Nitor Suites in Morgantown 
  • We finalized plans to start a new Libera Teen Group on May 6
  • Libera received a $660 Grant from the 2018 Corporate Social Responsibility class at WVU
  • We attended a sentencing hearing to support some of our clients who are survivors of sexual assault
  • We provided private counseling for teens and college students
  • We met one on one with women who are in domestic situations, struggling with shame, anxiety, and other barriers; we even met with a woman from Russia and a woman from New York who are interested in learning the Libera model!
  • Finally, we worked with students from Dr. Geah Pressgrove's class at the WVU Creatathon. These students created a very moving video of women's stories from Libera, and also overhauled the website and created print and social media materials that will move us forward by leaps and bounds. Plus, they won the Creatathon competition, which won us free print materials from Morgantown Printing and Binding. Thanks, students, and thank you, Morgantown Printing and Binding! http://www.createathonwvu.org/ .   http://morgantownprintingandbinding.com/

 

 

 

OPEN LETTER: Free Your Mind

Recently, several people have voiced misconceptions about the mission of LIBERA.  One queried whether or not they had to be “abused” to participate in a group. Another expressed renewed interest in the organization after they realized that LIBERA is not “JUST” about domestic violence.

The mission of LIBERA is to “......enable women and teen girls in West Virginia to find their identity, their voice, their strength, their purpose, and their freedom.”  

Is it possible that you are successful relationally, professionally, but still have an underlying sense of failure, discontent, or unhappiness?  Are you struggling with feelings of inadequacy, suffering from a series of failed relationships, and disconnects from family? Or is every accomplishment overshadowed by an overwhelming, but indeterminate cloud of sadness?  These are barriers to your personal freedom and exactly the types of issues LIBERA addresses in a non- judgmental environment.

Although abuse may be one of the obstacles to individual freedom we encounter there are many others.  But can we stop and examine the term abuse. Abuse is defined by Merriam Webster as:

      "use (something) to bad effect or for a bad purpose; misuse.”   

This term is an umbrella for the many indignities visited upon women, by family, friend, strangers, and even the laws and legislators who fail to protect them.

Many of us don't have a frame of reference for abuse, and even feel that the unfortunate women who allow themselves to be victims of abuse are not intelligent or resourceful.  Some may blame them for being unable to protect or extricate themselves from these situations. The reality is that abuse affects women from all stations of life and socioeconomic status, every generation and ethnicity.  Like it or not abuse underscores our failures as a society and is therefore a problem that belongs to all of us. And still this is but one group of women LIBERA encounters seeking liberation and freedom.

Libera has helped women who struggle with shame, people pleasing, addiction, abuse, assault, lack of finances, lack of direction and purpose, lack of education, and so much more. Our clients say LIBERA is for EVERY woman!  

Don't exclude yourself from the ultimate satisfaction of beginning your journey to freedom. LIBERA doesn't!

Be the author of your own story!

 

Another "Week in the Life of Libera"

We wanted to give you an update on what we've been doing, and sometimes a snapshot of our week is the very best way to do that!

Our groups and workshops help women and teens find wholistic freedom, overcoming all kinds of barriers and lies to live a more free and healthy life! As women who have been through the groups say, Libera is for EVERY woman! No matter how large or small your barriers may be.

Over the past week we have:

  • held a Libera workshop with college students and young adults
  • held a teen Libera group with 8th grade girls [and we must say, we are very impressed by the insight of these teen girls! they are learning and growing]
  • held a "Listener" [volunteer] led group in Marion County [this Listener had a great time leading this group, and is urging every Listener/mentor to lead a Libera group!]
  • held a S.O.A.P. outreach to 10 Monongalia County hotels, distributing hotel bar soaps with the human trafficking hotline, warning signs and red flags to the hotel desk and housekeeping staff, and various other educational materials [THANK YOU Mtec students who partenered with us!]
  • finished up plans for a WOW [Women on Wellness] retreat, a one day wholistic women's health day cosponsored by Libera, RDVIC, and the National Center of Excellence in Women's Health at WVU: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wow-womens-health-day-tickets-40964450775?aff=es2
  • set in motion plans for an Eastern panhandle Libera group at the end of March
  • planned a new Monongalia County group for March 14 which will be co-led by a Listener
  • visited Mason, Putnam, and Jackson counties and distributed hundreds of rack cards with the human trafficking, domestic violence, and sexual assault hotlines, as well as postcards with the Help4WV drug addiction hotline
  • networked with a regional staff person with Help4WV in order to understand state resources better and know how to work together and refer women
  • resourced and encouraged some women caught in abusive relationships
  • encouraged a woman who we helped inspire to go back to college
  • counseled several teens and college students individually

 

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Job Opening

Libera Part Time Program Director

Libera is currently accepting applications for a Part Time Program Director. We will be reviewing applications and interviewing with hopes to hire this staff person in January, 2018. 

The ideal applicant should have excellent people skills, preferably work experience with a nonprofit, and a strong ability to network. The ability to lead small groups of women through the Libera model, and meet with women one on one to discuss their stories, identify barriers, and connect them to resources is a must.

A degree in counseling, social work, or psychology is a strong preference, but not a necessity. The main role of this staff person will be to network around the state of West Virginia to help us start groups in all regions of the state, and eventually, all counties [we have currently done groups in 6 counties of West Virginia]. This may require some travel to other regions of the state on some days of the week, but the schedule is actually very flexible.

Click the button below to read the job description. Please email karen@liberawv.com to express interest.

 

 

Horcrux Scavenger Hunt!

Our First Ever Horcrux Scavenger Hunt was a smashing success! We had a good turnout, people had a blast, and we raised money to help empower teens and women around the state of West Virginia. We want to thank our sponsors: Flour and Feed, Oliverio's, Mt. State Brewing Company, BlissBlissBliss, and The Grind. We also want to thank all who generously donated to the event, and also all participants! We hope to hold the Hunt again next year.

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Libera News!

Lots has been happening over the last month in Libera. Here are some highlights:

  • Our two new employees, Counselor Jessie Haring and Program Director Vannessa Short, have been hard at work during their first month on the job
  • We have begun seeing individual clients for counseling with Libera. Contact us if you or someone you know is interested.
  • We've started new Libera groups in Mon, Taylor and Wood Counties
  • We have our first ever teen groups ready to start in Mon and Barbour Counties!
  • Groups are starting soon in Upshur, Kanawha, Barbour, and Doddridge Counties
  • The Libera model is being used in a class at Fairmont State
  • The Libera model is going across the pond! It will be used as part of a women's trip to Scotland
  • We are doing an exciting new type of fundraiser and community outreach, our "Horcrux Scavenger Hunt" on Saturday, Oct. 21: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/horcrux-scavenger-hunt-tickets-36379864153?aff=es2

We will keep you posted as we start these new groups. You can watch here, or find us on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Life Transformation

Libera is about transformation: listening to women's and teen girls' stories, helping them identify the barriers they face and the lies they believe about themselves, and giving them resources to overcome those barriers. 

Here are some words from one of the women that has experienced that transformation:

"Reaching out to you was a bit intimidating but you quelled that fear immediately. Your listening ear and affirmation started me on a path to actually do the work required to dig out of the misery I was experiencing.It really did take the whole calendar year, but I can honestly say I ended the year feeling strong and cared for. The bitterness, resentment, cynicism, pain, hurt, anger, and hopelessness I felt have dissipated drastically. I can actually practice gratitude willingly and easily without it feeling like a lead weight of what I “should” do.Thank you for the role you played in my journey over the last year. I truly appreciate your kindness, care, and attention.

As you continue to pour out into others, I just wanted to write the words THANK YOU to encourage you. You have blessed my life and I will repay it by pouring out of my health into others.Blessings!"- Megan

A Freedom Story

From a Libera group member:

In January of 2017, I was invited to a book club by a parent of one of my favorite students.  I have NEVER socialized with a student’s parent but there were 2 other women from the school system attending and I was curious about the concept. 

Rarely have I seen anything come through that is free, valuable, and truly without strings attached (come to my church, buy my book, etc.)  I thought it was a little too good to be true so when life interfered and I missed the first two meetings, I assumed I was too late.  However, I wasn’t.  One of the ladies at work loaned me her book.  I read the first chapter and I was hooked.  The leaders met with me on their own time to catch me up and give me my own book/journal.

My story, mine—possessive, was something I had never thought about.  My freedom was certainly something I had never considered.  I am an American.  I am pretty free. However, what I discovered was that I was fighting so hard to live a life I was slave to.  Built on beliefs I did not chose for myself.  My whole life, I have been happy to hand the pen to someone else and offer them their take on a chapter in my life. 

Libera allowed me, for the first time, to look at myself and other women with-out judgement.  Libera allowed me the space and the sisterhood to sit with my pain, recognize my hurt and strength, hear my struggle acknowledged, and courage to let it go. 

Libera means freedom.  And that is exactly what it has introduced me to.