A few years ago, I had the pleasure of attending a graduation ceremony of young women and their mother's and/or grandmother's who had completed an HIV prevention education program. The spirit of unity, love, and pride were palpable in the room. I could immediately tell that the women had learned much more than HIV prevention. They had also learned important lessons about themselves and their connections to their families and communities. It was a celebration that unified women across generations, and illustrated the importance of women coming together as a collective not only to battle a life-threatening condition, but to make the bonds between women stronger and more meaninful, which is the most important step in creating people who love and respect themselves so much, they will not engage in risky behavior that could expose them to HIV.
I know members of the collective, and their dedication--based on their lived experience--and advocacy has strengthened their community and made significant strides in helping womenlive healthier and more meaningful lives.
The Womens Collective is a wonderful HIV service organization that meets its mission of engaging women living with HIV and those at-risk. I have been affiliated with the Women's Collective and the staff for many years and can attest to their longstanding commitment to raising awareness about women's risk and dedication to serving women and meeting women at the point of their need. I am especially impressed with how the staff of the Womens Collective have the necessary insight and understanding of the unique challenges women face in modern society and their roles in their families. It is important to approach community health issues with complete understanding of the perceptions of the population you are trying to reach. The Womens Collective understands the complex roles of women as child-bearers, as caregiver, as heads-of-households, wives, sisters, daughters, friends. The staff understands how roles and positions impacts health risk. And more than this - the staff appreciates the gifts of women and how women can facilitate solutions from their life experience and their personal strengths. The staff members are warm, supportive, approachable people who are committed to providing service and care to their clients and to the larger community.
The Women's Collective is really and truly a gem in Washington, DC. What makes it so unique and necessary is that it is the only organization in the District of Columbia solely focused on women (and their families) living with HIV. When women are not at their healthiest and without a safe haven or refuge, families and whole communities suffer.
In my experience with the Women's Collective, both as a volunteer and at one time, a board member, I always immediately felt the nurturing nature and spirit in the air, and truly admire and respect the dedicated team that serves their clients everyday.
The Women's Collective recognizes that women's lives are important to sustaining healthy communities. This agency provides excellent services to promote the health and well-being of women and girls living with HIV in the greater metropolitan DC area. I am privileged to work alongside an outstanding staff that gives all they can to reach this goal each and every day. I plan to continue supporting their efforts for many years to come!
The Womens Collective (TWC) will always have a place in my heart. As the only organization in DC dedicated to the needs of women and girls infected or affected with HIV, I have watched TWC become a leading advocate and staunch supporter of the needs of women across the lifespan. Specifically, TWC has three arms to the agency: a policy division, a care team for women who are positive, and a prevention side which works for high risk negative women. I wholeheartedly support the endeavors of TWC and I know that they will continue to push the standards of excellence in the nonprofit world as they relate to the needs of women and girls both in DC and around the world.
I am honored to serve the girls and women of The Women's Collective! It is the only organization in DC that focuses on girls and women affected by, or at risk for, HIV/AIDS. Each time I walk in the doors of the organization I feel the warmth, the unconditional and nonjudgmental embrace, welcome, and acceptance as the many girls and women seeking a safe space find. Girls and women often face the huge burdens of not only an HIV diagnosis but all the other burdens of trying to live a safe and dignified life that depends on emotional and mental support; resources for housing, child care, substance abuse, domestic violence, food, etc The agency is full of color, of energy, of hope, and material resources to address these needs. The intergenerational and peer-based support ensures that the girls and women and their self identified families can learn, share, heal, and thrive together. The programs that support the agency's mission are exciting. The staff and Board are proactive and strategic to make sure that there is a solid and growing funding base. They are great stewards of the support received and are always striving for sustained excellence. I feel blessed to be a witness to, participant in, and even a recipient of, all these wonderful qualities of this truly GREAT nonprofit!
I have had the great pleasure and honor to be a supporter of The Women's Collective for nearly 7 years now. I carefully selected this nonprofit as my place of service and focus upon my retirement from a very fulfilling career in another nonprofit where I became familiar with the organization. Beginning as a volunteer and now serving as the Chair of the Board of Directors, I can say without hesitation that I feel extraordinarily blessed to have landed in an organization that so effectively serves the needs of girls and women affected by, or at risk for HIV/AIDS in the DC area. I have seen up close and very personal the difference that TWC makes in the lives of countless girls, women, and their families. Indeed, I have seen their impact on me and my own family! I have had the great fortune to see women come, grow, and strive with dignity even as they face what can be a devastating diagnosis with an impact on the individual and also on her family and community. They walk through the doors and are openly and lovingly embraced and supported by their peers without judgement. They are compassionately led to services, they learn to protect themselves and their families better with prevention and empowerment tools. They also learn to advocate for themselves and their sisters at the various policy tables at every level in the society. It's a humbling thing to witness each and every day. And as a Board Member, I can say that they are great stewards of the public and individual contributions. They have been recognized many times over for the unique services that they provide and for the courageous and inspiring leadership of the Founder and Executive Director, Patricia Nalls. Just the other day at the annual Xmas Party for our families, I smiled as I saw some of the now older children who were babies even when I joined the organization. Their mothers spoke of their pride in the healthy manner in which they were growing and basking in their own ability to see their own stories take on new, exciting turns to health, achievement, and the ability to come back after any setback. This is one of the reasons I believe strongly in the organization, its mission, and its years of growth and accomplishments. The proof lies in the lives of the people touched each and every day. The Women's Collective addresses a critical need in our community. I, for one, am so grateful to have the opportunity to serve them.
Washington has the highest AIDS rate of any city in the country and the highest rate of newly reported cases among women. For nearly 20 years, The Women’s Collective has provided women-specific services focused on care management, prevention, and policy and advocacy. In a warm and welcoming space, HIV-positive women and their families find acceptance, counseling and peer support, and daily living assistance. It is a safe, stigma-free place that reflects the founder's understanding of each person who enters as an individual with unique experiences and needs. The Collective serves the whole person, the whole family, the whole community. In mid-2011, the founder graciously allowed me to spend time at the Collective and to co-produce a short film on the organization, its clients, and celebration of life that pervades all things done at or connected with the Collective. The film is titled "The Women's Collective: Where Hope Reigns," which so aptly describes this peerless organization.
The services provided to the girls and women in the Washington, DC area by the Women's Collective is invaluable. It is this dedication to the health and well being of girls and women living with HIV/AIDS that compels me to support this organization. I am a donor not because I have personally needed their services but because I believe in their humanitarian mission. The Women's Collective provides a voice to those who are often over looked in the discussion of policy and prevention. The Women's Collective is truly committed to giving "life" to the lives of the clients they serve by building self esteem, providing medical assistance, education and support. Continue your wonderful work!
The Women's Collective has been a long standing community partner, advocating on behalf of, and providing services for women with/or at risk for HIV/AIDS and other STDs. The staff of The Women's Collective were the go to experts for the Danya Institute's Keeping It Real conference around these issues. They were always willing to participate and share their expertise through training and speaking at the conference.