This year, Libera has helped women and teens who were homeless, as well as executives of major corporations. We have helped teens and women with anxiety, abuse, bullying, shame, depression, lack of direction, self harm, and sexual assault, to name a few things. We like to say Libera is for every woman. We help women and teens tell their stories, uncover their barriers and lies [we ALL have them], and get connected to resources to overcome those barriers. See the infographic and quotes below for an overview:
Libera has accomplished a few “firsts” in the last couple of months, and they are significant for empowering teens and women across the state to break out of cycles of helplessness and hopelessness.
We have almost completed a teen group in a public high school! Preston County High has graciously allowed us to lead a group during the school day with at risk teens. All of the girls, when asked if they were listened to or felt understood or heard, said “no” individually and emphatically. Several also were very interested in learning more about how to love themselves and have a good relationship with themselves! This is only the beginning, as we are creating connections and pursuing possibilities in several other school systems at this time.
We have designed and implemented an official course of instruction and training to officially certify Libera Listeners. This is crucial, as it will help us raise up a corps of volunteer women around the state to listen to teen’s and women’s stories, lead groups, and help resource them. Our goal is to have a Listener in every county of West Virginia, in order to lead groups and workshops there. Interested? Write to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have led groups of 15 and 11 women through the Libera Listener training; we will soon have over 20 officially certified Listeners, and others who are on their way to becoming certified. These women live in and represent 8 counties of West Virginia.
In other news:
We hired a new Program Director, Barbara White, who has an extensive background in 12 Step Programs.
Our counselor is working with a number of teens and college students struggling with depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation, as well as abuse and sexual assault.
We finished a teen group with Girl Scouts in the northern panhandle.
We have connected 4 women in financial and physical need to food, clothing, furniture, holiday gifts for their children, and resources.
We are helping a few women get connected to higher education and employment.
We have supported and empowered women in abusive situations.
The Executive Director, Karen Haring, spoke on the #MeToo movement, domestic violence, and trafficking with a group of pastors and church leaders in Ohio, to help them learn about these issues, and how to listen and connect women and teens to resources. These leaders talked about setting up systems to help women and teens report abuse and have someone listen to their stories.
We did a very successful Listening event at the Mountain Lair on the WVU Campus
We held a Libera workshop in Beckley, a place we’ve never done a group.
We have a December 8 Libera workshop planned for Preston County, all welcome:
We have a new group starting in Harrison County in January, all welcome: https://www.facebook.com/events/193947854848038/
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
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/
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!
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
What happens in a typical week? Here is a taste [and this isn't everything!]:
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 email@example.com to express interest.
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.