The Wichita Women’s Initiative Network wants to make its facilities more welcoming to domestic abuse survivors.
The nonprofit organization provides support for women in transition from area crisis shelters.
WIN’s current space is similar to an office building or community center. Group therapy sessions are held in the same area as job and life-skill classes.
Executive Director Karen Schmidt said that making WIN’s environment feel more inviting and home-like will help survivors recover from emotional trauma.
“The dream would be that when women or anyone walk in, they would feel safe, warm, comfortable," Schmidt said. "Our environment here is very industrial, and that is totally different from what a trauma-informed care environment would look like.”
Schmidt said that WIN's fundraising goal for the renovation is $20,000. Adding comfortable living room furniture to the space is her top priority. Warm lighting, area rugs and artwork are also on her wish list.
“We want the women to feel safe when they’re here,” Schmidt said. “It’s the whole culture of our agency to serve women who have been through trauma, and a big part of that is the environment.”
WIN started 21 years ago. The one-year care program helps survivors reclaim their emotional and financial independence with a holistic approach to recovery.
“We look at the whole woman: her emotional needs, her financial needs, her educational needs, her family needs,” Schmidt said. “We look at the whole picture, not just a piece of the picture.”
About 25 women go through the program each year.
For more information on how to help, visit WIN's website.
Ascha Lee is a KMUW Engagement Assistant and News Lab intern. Follow her on Twitter @AschaLee.