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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Women's Educational Center

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Rights, Counseling, Human Service Organizations, Human Services, Mental Health, Unknown, Women, Womens Rights

Mission: Our vital programs serve over 2,000 underserved and at-risk women annually from Greater Boston and across New England. Our programs target women with the least access to resources and support services, with particular emphasis on low-income women, immigrant women, and women of color. Located in our supportive and encouraging women's space, our vital programs go far beyond direct service - building women's self-esteem, breaking through isolation and hopelessness and teaching skills that foster personal growth and community change. Most of the women served by the Women's Center have histories of child sexual abuse or domestic violence, and are low-income. We provide direct services (a safe space, support groups, informational workshops, counseling, etc.), educational resources, and advocacy projects to women free of charge. Using our services, victims of violence and oppression become survivors - healing and rebuilding their lives.Founded in 1971, The Women's Center has led the way for groundbreaking community projects serving thousands of people in need. In 1973, the Women's Center developed the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC), which has grown into its own independent organization. The Women's Center was intricately involved in the founding of Transition House - the first battered women's shelter in MA, and to this day provides free services to Transition House to keep their clients safe from their batterers. The Women's Center was also instrumental in the founding of Finex House (the first wheelchair-accessible shelter in MA) and the Elizabeth Stone House (a shelter for battered women and women withaddiction and/or mental health issues). In 1980 Incest Resources, the first organization for survivors of child sexual abuse, started at the Center, and is still providing a facilitated support group and many other resources to survivors of child sxual abuse. The Women's Center is the only organization in the area with such an extensive array of FREE services, including a 55-hour per week helpline and drop-in space, where homeless women and others can use the kitchen, computer lab or sit or rest in a comfortable room.

Programs: Educational and support programming, 3410 women attended over 200 free groups, workshops and trainings in 2014

drop-in resource and support center, 5900 logged visits in 2014

information and crisis helpline, 3800 logged calls in 2014

Community Stories

38 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I like this place, it is a wonderful place. I like to go here on Tuesdays.

Melinda T.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I love the lesbian chats here and the fact that I can use the computers and eat there as well as meet other queer women.

Previous Stories
1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I love the Cambridge Women's Center. It is one of the best free places that I have found which offers great services to its community. Women have free access to borrowed books on a variety of topics, a kitchen where they can cook and eat, free computer with internet access and cheap printing, and a meeting room where they can many types of meetings that benefit those who attend them. The staff is friendly, never ask for anything, and professional. I have used the center for years ever since I got divorced, realized my attraction for women, and attended lesbian groups there where I made acquaintances and friends, learn and have a great time. I can't say enough good things about this place. Please help it open because we women truly need and love it including me!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Cambridge Women Center provides a vital role in Massachusetts !!! Women from many different cities and town use the Women's center in Cambridge. It has allowed me to connect and be supported by the Lesbian Community. I've attend free groups at the center and everyone has always been very welcoming and nonjudgmental.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Three years ago when I went to the Incest Resources monthly drop-in discussion group at the Women's Center, I was scared. Even if I didn't talk, just walking into a room that was only for female survivors of childhood sexual abuse was a huge step. I was declaring publicly that I had been sexually abused. Breaking the silence. Discussing the taboo. I couldn't believe I was going to do this. I felt like a freak. Like I didn't deserve to be there. But I went anyway. A room full of twenty women that society wouldn't expect to be together. Different educational and socio-economic backgrounds, ages, and beliefs. All of us sexually abused as children. But it was more than our traumas that connected us. It was a desire to heal. To help others. To break silence and speak truth. After being traumatized, abused and ignored for decades, I was finally seen and heard. It was the first time I felt my authentic self emerge from the ashes of my trauma. If that space hadn't been there, I wonder how much more time I would have lost in my healing.

Beth40

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Women's Center gives its space for a woman's group I am attending that has been a great source of support.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Cambridge Women's Center is amazing. When I graduated from college in 1998, I found I was having a hard time meeting people who did activities other than drink. I was very discouraged and in 2002, I went to a social group at the Women's Center. it was there that I met some of my best friends in the world. I don't know what I would have done without The Center. It truly changed my life!

Maribel R.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

It is an amazing place to meet other women and get a chance to talk and learn about each others. As a Latina Lesbian, I've always found the CWC to be a very welcoming place, safe and full of women who want to give to the community and improve their lives. We do better because of the CWC. Thanks, Maribel

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Last fall I attended a workshop on Healing Through Herbal Medicine that was hosted at the Cambridge Women's Center. The presenter was thoughtful and knowledgeable, the staff and space were warm and welcoming, and the clients/community members at the Center seemed very happy to be there. I believe the Center does wonderful, life-changing work!

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Cambridge Women's Center hosts Lesbian Conversation and Lesbian Chat at no charge to the Boston Lesbian Women's Group. Those are in-depth conversations that have profound impact on our lives. The Center is always welcoming and has worm inclusive atmosphere. I am thankful for being able to come to these events.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am part of a conversation group that meets monthly at the Center. The Center does not charge for the use of their facility, which is clean and well maintained. The facility is also centrally located and easily accessible by car or public transportation. Many of the participants in our group are new to the state and this is a fabulous resource for them to meet other people.

Amanda24

Client Served

Rating: 5

I love the Women's Center in Cambridge, MA. I love the staff, the volunteers and the community it serves. It is a great resource for women in general. In particular, I have gone to the Friday night chats quite a bit here. Mairic, the volunteer organizer for this is such an amazing role model.

trinityjpb

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've attended the Cambridge Women's Center's Lesbian Chat nights. It's great that they make the space available to our group and they have so many other support groups and ways that they offer support with very little staff and resources.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Welcoming and warm environment that's very accessible

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Women's Center is an amazing community center founded in 1971 and empowering women since! I have been a volunteer at the Center since 1980 when they provided a home to Incest Resources, the first organization for survivors of childhood sexual abuse in the country. The Women's Center offered us a radical model to follow on our path to empowerment, great mentors, a belief in survivor self-help and activism, and strength facing a difficult climate at the time. Without their support and encouragement, the national and international survivor movement would never have happened and survivors would have continued to live in isolation and silence. For the past 32 years the Center has provided countless survivors with a safe space to gather, growth-producing groups and workshops, healing and empowerment through the arts, and the inspiration and confidence to create educational and activist projects like the survivor newsletter "For Crying Out Loud," the Survivor Quilt Project, and the Survivor Theatre Project. Everything the Women's Center offers is free and opportunities for survivors are just part of what this extraordinary non-profit provides! After 32 years, I remain a devoted volunteer at the Women's Center.

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I needed supportive resources to help me rebuild my life in the aftermath of years of violence, the Women's Center answered that need in extraordinary ways.  The Women's Center helped me to find a skilled and sensative therapist who steadfastly walked with me throughout my process of recovery.  The Women's Cente also gave me access to three high-quality support groups where I met others navigating the road to recovery in the wake of sexual violence.  These support groups are sacred places where women come to share, to grieve, to celebrate living and to empower one another in the wake of violence.  These groups and the safe space the Women's Center provides helped me to develop into the healthy, empowered, life-loving person I am today.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have attended many groups at the Women's Center and I have also facilitated groups there. It is a very welcoming, accepting place and is a vital resource to the community. Furthermore the management of the Women's Center is stellar!! This organization provides a homey atmosphere to many underserved and disenfranchised women - and to all women seeking support and crucial information on all kinds of local services.

Jeny K.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I attend a meeting once or twice a month in the facility. The volunteers are always friendly and ready to assist you. Without the women's center many groups would have to look elsewhere for a place to meet.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer at the Women's Center for 4 years now. The women's center is such a special place to me. I have answered the emotional support line as well as provided a weekly yoga class to women. The Womens Center provides resources to women from all walks of life. From the battered women's support group, to the healing through art class, it is such a rich environment. To me, the women's center has been a place of refuge where I can be myself around other women and not feel judged or inadequate in any way. There is a strong sense of community and Ming, the director, is an absolute saint. I plan to continue vollunteering there and hope to bring my own children there someday.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

The Women' s Center is a wonderful place for helping women discover who they are. I first came here many years ago to help me sort out that I was in fact a lesbian. The supportive groups enabled me to come out to myself and to family and friends. I am extremely grateful this organization exists. I donate money and things on their wish list to give back to help the next person.

Shirley C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had a great experience helping women with their needs. It was good to know that there was some place that women could go to despite whatever problems that they had or if they just wanted to hang out. I saw people using art as a way to heal, which I felt was empowering.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Cambridge Women's Center is an amazing resource in this community, with a variety of classes, workshops, groups, as well as the resources that are always there for drop-ins (computers, the full kitchen where there's always something to snack on, and the kick-ass volunteers). I can honestly say that without the support I've received there, my life would look very different, and I'm grateful every day to just know that they're there.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The cambridge women's center has been an amazing resource for me year after year and now decade after decade. I have gone there to connect with darius support group over the years. Whenever needed they have been a fabulous resource for housing jobs and even legal services . They have always kept extensive updated resource manuals on just about any subject imaginable that you might need to find. It has been a place for support, for socializing, for learning etc. Their technology resource center is invaluable. The staff of volunteers is always immensely helpful and friendly. I have been considering a move to a warmer state for health reasons And 1 of the first things I look for is a womens center in that area. They don't seem to be many and the few I've found don't seem to be of the same caliber and I may not be able to leave boston just for that reason. Knowing that the resource of the cambridge women's center is always that Caring supportive home 1 always hopes to find.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The center was there for me when i needed to feel a part of a group and in need of guidance.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering at the Women's Center for 3 weeks now and it feels so good to be part of this amazing place. So many women walk through the door every day and make use of the computers, the kitchen, the quiet living room, or the long list of volunteer-run programs or groups that take place every day. I'm just so impressed by how, no matter what's going on, there's this fundamental feeling of calm in this place. The staff and volunteer team at the center have really managed the toughest thing in running a space like this, which is to keep the atmosphere grounded and welcoming. Whether the role of the moment is welcoming new faces, or coming up with new ways to fix the faulty toilet handle, the whole community in this place are incredibly dedicated to making it a place where women can connect with one another, track down resources, or just relax and make a cup of coffee.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Open 6 days a week, women can find loads of supportive activities, including support groups, workshops, a helpline, computer labs and training. Everything is free! There is a library, children's room, a library, kitchen. Volunteers, including college interns and professions, answer the helpline, lead groups, and offer caring support and resource information. It's a great place for any woman, and is used by a great mixture, including many homeless women, women who have been abused, low-income women. Having a supportive place that is open weekday days and evenings and Saturdays is huge to many of those who come. Women's lives are improved as they give and receive support, find friendship, and learn and grow. It's amazing!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

An amazing asset to the community! An opportunity to meet with great women.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

wonderful place for people to connect, warm and friendly staff, and at a point in my life when I needed it most! thank you

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Women's Center is a warm place to stay! Center offers opportunities for every women to become a person who can advocates yourself and others :)

Alex13

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I moved to Massachusetts in Jan 2011. I am used to moving, but this move was especially hard for me. I found a social group that was held at the Cambridge Women's Center. The Center allows groups from the community to use their space. I was so grateful to find a place where I could meet other people, since being new in a large city can be very lonely and somewhat depressing. I learned more about the Center and realized how they have helped so many women. The director, staff and the volunteers are so amazing at their commitment to help any and all women who want and need a better life. I have been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker for 22 years and I understand the need to be an advocate for those individuals that are struggling with the hurdles that life brings to each of us. When someone feels lost and/or hopeless, all it takes is a kind smile, a person who will listen and/or a safe place, to help ease the pain and fear experienced by many . This is how I see the Cambridge Women's Center! A hand, actually many hands, that help women gain their confidence back and their lives! What amazes me is looking at their website. "Assisted in forming the first battered women's shelter in the state, Transition House, in 1973." That was almost 40 years ago! Again from their website: "Developed and nurtured the Rape Crisis Center starting in 1973 through its evolution into an independent organization, the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, (BARCC) in 1987." This non-profit organization has lasted over 41 years, enduring the best and worst of the economic eras, and yet , they are still here, helping every woman that seeks help. This is an organization that needs to be recognized! Sincerely, Alex Rossman, LICSW

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Women's Center provided a safe place for me to slowly come to terms with my sexuality by providing a space for a group of women with similar situations as me (in a straight marriage, questioning our sexuality) to come together and share our stories, struggles, and celebrations. All of us felt like we were the only one in that situation, until we walked into that meeting group. Since that time and still currently, I occasionally use the Center to meet and discuss with other queer women for a sense of community. I've also used it's library resource and it's computer center resource. Thank you, Women's Center!

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Cambridge Women's Center was/is a warm and welcoming space. It became part of my introduction to a variety of social and exciting women engaged in interesting, meaningful and FUN activities. I'm not sure I would be the person I am today without having such a supportive place to go to.

Candace E.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am very proud to share my experiences and association as a volunteer at The Women's Center in Cambridge, MA. With a paid staff of one, and a crew of volunteers, this organization serves hundreds of women in the area, providing resources such as outreach, information, free groups, computer access, a variety of rooms that feel like home, a kitchen that is stocked with donations from generous people in the area and a helpline staffed by volunteers. There are also clothes available, flyers and information regarding insurance, activities, employment and did I mention a variety of free groups that can range from anything from Issues in the Media to Support for Trauma Survivors and everything in between (it is constantly changing, thanks to the generous volunteers who donate their time and expertise). The Women's Center has a wonderful director and dedicated volunteers, which somehow or other works on a very limited budget

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've been regularly attending lesbian discussion groups at the CWC for about 3 years. The CWC is a great space for such discussions, the living room is spacious yet cozy. It's a welcoming place, and we are able to hold our discussion group there free of cost to us, which speaks to how much the CWC seeks to provide a space for women of all means to gather. The CWC and the discussion groups I've attended there have had an enormous impact on my life... in fact, I met my partner there about 2 years ago and we are getting married in October! So, we love the CWC!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a member of Mairic's Lesbian Chat. She is an awesome person and chat is a great event. I have always felt at home at the center.

Kari7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Cambridge Women's Center is home to many different political,healing,social groups for women. Though humble in appearance it's impact on women in the area has been monumental for the past 3 decades.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at the Cambridge Women's Center for over 4 years. It's an amazing place that helped me feel at home when I moved to Boston. It serves so many diverse women with different needs! And it has a remarkable feminist herstory, roots that can potentially ground every woman who walks through the Center's door. I make a month donation and can't say enough about the CWC -- it has enriched me life, giving me a place to explore, discuss, grow and participate in community. The CWC rocks!

Michele24

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Women's Educational Center has been an invaluable resource for myself and countless other women. I started going there in the 1970's as a young woman trying to make my way in the world, and the classes, 12-step meetings, networking, and resources provided by the Center were integral in shaping the woman I am today. I'm so grateful for the fact that it's still there and is constantly expanding its programs to meet the needs of young women today. There are so few places like it, and such a need for it! I love the Center with all my heart and hope it continues to provide support and services for many years to come.