Groups and Social Support

The Women’s Initiative provides therapeutic support groups, social support opportunities and mind-body offerings in a safe, welcoming environment.

  • All offerings are free unless otherwise noted

  • Most groups take place at our Main Office, 1101 East High St, but please note that a few are located off-site.

  • Some require registration; see individual listings for more information. TO REGISTER: call (434) 872-0047 or email info@thewomensinitiative.org.

Scroll down or use the links here to access different kinds of groups and offerings:

 

Support Groups

Emotional Empowerment Group

  • WHEN: Wednesdays, 12:30-1:45 pm, October 10-December 5 (no meeting Nov. 21)

  • WHERE: Main Office

  • REGISTRATION: Ongoing (new members welcome Oct. 10 and Nov. 7)

  • Facilitated by Ashley Barlow, LPC, and Elizabeth Cobb, LCSW

Learn mindfulness skills to stop racing thoughts, refocus attention and better navigate distress.

Healing & Growth Group

  • WHEN: Tuesdays, 5:15-6:30 pm, October 2-November 13

  • WHERE: Main Office

  • REGISTRATION: Required in advance.

  • Facilitated by Aisha Hayat, LPC, and Eileen Barnett

Participants will have an opportunity to express and process their feelings, concerns, ideas and reactions freely in a closed group setting. Our focus will be to promote deeper awareness in order to facilitate healing and growth.

Grupo para Madres: Familias Saludables (Moms Group: Healthy Families)

  • WHEN: Jueves de 10-11:30 am, Octubre 4-Noviembre 15

  • WHERE: Northside Library, 705 Rio Road.

  • Varinia Anderson, MEd and Diana Grigera

Hablaremos de: límites, tecnología, vida de hogar, vida en la escuela, disciplina efectiva y relaciones saludables

Moms with Babies Discussion Group

  • WHEN: Mondays, 10-11 am

  • WHERE: Main Office

  • NO REGISTRATION REQUIRED. Newcomers welcome to the group every week. Babies welcome in the group, child care for older children available on request.

  • Facilitated by Holly Kennedy, LPC, and Sarah Struckmann

A space for honest and real conversation about what it’s like to be the mother of a newborn to one-year-old. In this group, moms of babies will share experiences and give and receive support. Whether this is your first child or your second, third, fourth, fifth … join us to create a community of moms focused on caring for ourselves as we navigate this significant and sometimes challenging time. Each week we’ll focus on a different topic, including: self-care; transitioning into the role of mother; coping with feelings of isolation and worry; resources for postpartum depression and anxiety; managing a changing relationship with a partner; strategies for wellness during times of sleep deprivation; and adapting to a reality that’s different than expected.

 

Monthly Birth Circle

  • WHEN: TBD, 7-9pm

  • WHERE: Main Office

  • Facilitated by Hannah Shaughnessy-Mogill of Birth Matters Virginia

Monthly gathering for women and birthing persons. Share birth stories and discuss questions and concerns surrounding pregnancy, birth and beyond. All stories are welcome. 

 

Pregnancy/Infant Loss Support Group

  • WHEN: Wednesdays, 6-7pm, September 19-October 24 and November 7-December 19 (no meeting Nov. 21)

  • WHERE: Main Office

  • REGISTRATION: In advance of start date

  • Facilitated by Morgan Taylor, LCSW

An opportunity to share experiences, give and receive support, and promote healing and well-being after the loss of a pregnancy or infant. Individuals & couples welcome.

 

Separation & Divorce Support Group

  • WHEN: Wednesdays, 12-1:15 pm (no sessions in August)

  • WHERE: Main Office

  • REGISTRATION: Ongoing (register before attending your first session)

  • Facilitated by Kelli Block and Nealy Johnston

Separation and divorce can feel like a “roller coaster ride” of powerful emotions. This group provides a safe environment for women to tell their stories and be with others who understand their experience. The format will include group discussion and reflection activities and exercises. The group will include women at different phases in the separation/divorce continuum who can validate each other and share information and experience while navigating the transition.

Women’s Midlife Transitions

  • WHEN: Thursdays, 4-5:30 pm, October 4-November 29

  • WHERE: Main Office

  • REGISTRATION: Ongoing (register before attending your first session)

  • Facilitated by Judith Curry-El, PhD

Support group for women ages 55+ to discuss aging; build friendships; and share ideas about issues such as: changing caregiving roles; retirement; grief and loss; bodily changes; and mental health.


Sister Circle

Healing offerings for Black women and women of color. Learn more about our Sister Circle Program.

Sister Circle Support Group

  • WHEN: Thursdays, 5:30-7 pm, October 11-Dec. 20

  • WHERE: Main Office

  • REGISTRATION: Required in advance. Childcare provided upon request.

  • Facilitated by Shelly Wood, MSW, and Alyson Stewart, MFT

A support group for Black women to share experiences, build friendships, give and receive support. This is an opportunity for fellowship and to explore issues unique to the experiences of Black women.

West African Dance

  • WHEN: 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month, 5:45-7 pm. (Kickoff September 26)

  • WHERE: Chihamba Studio, McGuffey Art Center, 201 2nd St NW

  • NO REGISTRATION REQUIRED. Newcomers always welcome. No prior dance experience necessary, and all activity levels and ages (children included!) are welcome.

  • Facilitated by Lillie Williams

Join us for a West African dance and drumming class for women of color, in partnership with Charlottesville dance troupe Chihamba. In this fun and energetic hour, we will enjoy movement and rhythm, build community, and connect with our African ancestry as we explore the meanings and stories behind each dance.

Sister Circle Retreat at Wildrock

  • WHEN: Saturday-Sunday, October 6-7, 2 pm-10 am

  • WHERE: Wildrock in Crozet

  • REGISTRATION: Priority registration by Sept. 28. Transportation available on request.

Experience nature anew at this overnight camping retreat with your sisters. We will enjoy West African dance, yoga, meditation and writing outdoors as well as trail hiking and a campfire.

Cots and tents provided; plan to bring your own bedding, comfortable clothes/shoes, and bug spray. Indoor bathrooms available. Consider any medical conditions that may affect participation before registering.

Wildrock is a nature park and barn center tucked away in the Blue Ridge foothills 40 minutes from Charlottesville. 

Yoga for Women of Color

  • WHEN: 3rd Sunday of each month, 2-3:15pm

  • WHERE: Common Ground Healing Arts @ Jefferson School City Center, 233 4th St. NW, 2nd Fl.

  • Facilitated by Eboni Bugg, LCSW. Offered in partnership with Common Ground Healing Arts.

A gathering for women of color to practice yoga in a safe and nurturing setting. Includes yoga poses for all levels, as well as time for exploring ways to use breath and meditation for well-being. Offered on a donation basis; no one will be turned away for inability to pay. 


Mind-Body

Alexander Technique

  • WHEN: Last Friday of the month starting in October, 9am-12pm (October 26, November 30, December 28)

  • WHERE: Main Office

  • REGISTRATION: Sign up for a half-hour session in advance.

  • Facilitated by Jennifer Kelly

One-on-one lessons to help gain more ease and overall awareness in the body and release tension.

Chair Yoga

  • WHEN: Wednesdays, 11:15 am-12 pm, October 3-December 12

  • WHERE: Main Office

  • NO REGISTRATION REQUIRED.

  • Facilitated by Katharine Scott Gilliam

A gentle, therapeutic practice that promotes strength, flexibility, healing and mindful attention. Participants will have the support of chairs, both for seated postures and for optional standing postures. All bodies welcome; physical limitations accommodated.

CranioSacral Therapy

  • WHEN: Wednesdays, 2-5pm

  • WHERE: Main Office

  • REGISTRATION: Sign up for a half-hour session in advance..

  • Facilitated by Amina Elizabeth Stevens. Offered in partnership with Common Ground Healing Arts.

A gentle form of bodywork that can help relieve pain and stress. The practionner uses light touch on the head, along the spine, and on the sacrum to release compression. Many people experience deep relaxation and increased physical ease during and after a CranioSacral Therapy session. Sessions are done laying down on a massage table while fully clothed.

 

Wellness Tuesdays at the Jefferson School

  • WHEN: Tuesdays, 9am-12pm

  • WHERE: Jefferson School City Center Office

  • NO REGISTRATION REQUIRED.

  • Offered in partnership with Sentara Starr Hill Health Center and Common Ground Healing Arts

in addition to free walk-in appointments with a counselor from 9 am-noon each Tuesday at our Jefferson School office, you can come in for physical health testing and referral including: blood pressure checks, blood sugar testing, weight checks and quick wellness and nutrition advice, as well as a rotating slate of mind-body offerings including acupuncture, massage and mindfulness training. 


Creative Arts

The Art of Pause

  • WHEN: Mondays, 5:30-7 pm, October 15-November 19

  • WHERE: Main Office

  • REGISTRATION: Required in advance.

  • Facilitated by Charlotte James

Find relaxation and respite by tapping into your creative spirit through drawing, movement, sculpting and painting. We will generate new resources to creatively navigate challenges and nurture what matters most in our lives. No previous experience in movement and/or visual arts required. 

Everyone Has a Story to Tell Writing Group

  • WHEN: Tuesdays, 6:30-7:45pm, October 16-November 20

  • WHERE: Main Office

  • REGISTRATION: Required in advance.

  • Facilitated by Katelyn Durkin

Explore writing as a practice in self-care and stress reduction. Women will write stories about our personal histories, our everyday emotional experiences, and our loved ones. We will also share our stories in a supportive environment and read short stories and personal narratives to help us practice writing skills. No writing experience necessary.

Knitting Circle

  • WHEN: Thursday evenings, 5:30–7 pm.

  • WHERE: Main Office

  • NO REGISTRATION REQUIRED.

  • Facilitated by Elyse Smith

Join us for knitting! We welcome new and experienced knitters. Knitting help and supplies are available free of charge.

 

Ecotherapy

Introduction to Nature-Inspired Self-Care

  • WHEN: Thursday, September 20, 6-7:30 pm

  • WHERE: Main Office

  • NO REGISTRATION REQUIRED.

  • Facilitated by Carolyn Schuyler, LCSW

Join the founder of Wildrock, Carolyn Schuyler, LCSW, for a guide to creating a personalized plan for using nature connection for emotional well-being. Includes optional 30-day email program for self-guided experiences.

Mindfulness in Nature

  • WHEN: Thursdays, 5:15-6:30 pm, September 27-November 1

  • WHERE: Riverview Park, 298 Riverside Ave.

  • NO REGISTRATION REQUIRED.

  • Facilitated by Shell Stern, MSW and Hannah Trible

We will gather and connect around cultivating a relationship to nature for well-being, using ecotherapy activities in a small group setting.

Nature Nurture Retreat at Wildrock

  • WHEN: Saturday, November 10, 11am-4 pm

  • WHERE: Wildrock (transportation provided)

  • REGISTRATION: Required in advance.

  • Facilitated by Carolyn Schuyler, LCSW, Shell Stern, MSW and Hannah Trible

A day outside to learn how to use nature to deepen your self-care. Priority registration to women participating in “Mindfulness in Nature.”

 

Trauma-Informed Cross-Cultural Psychoeducation

Leadership Training for Trauma-Informed Care in Diverse Communities

  • WHEN: Tuesdays, 5:30-8:30 pm, October 2-November 6

  • WHERE: Main Office

  • REGISTRATION: Required in advance.

  • Facilitated by Joanna Ajex, MA, and Ingrid Ramos, LPC

In this series of interactive workshops for helping professionals, you will build your skills in raising awareness around the impact of trauma on mental health, enhancing your competency for mental health and support in the community, promoting resiliency in diverse communities, and building healing partnerships between professionals and diverse communities.

Cross-Cultural Community Healing Partnership

The Cross-Cultural Community Healing Partnership is a collaborative project comprised of refugee and immigrant community leaders, service providers and organizations committed to promoting healthy adjustment following emigration. The partnership offers a series of workshops focused on cross-cultural exchange, health, and well-being within Charlottesville's refugee and immigrant communities. Projects are currently underway with leaders within Charlottesville's Bhutanese-Nepali and Latino communities. For more information, please contact Ingrid Ramos, LPC.


Offered by Our Community Partners

TRANS PEER GROUP

The Charlottesville Trans* Peer Group offers support to transgender individuals of all ages and identities. Providing a welcoming and supportive atmosphere, this group meets the 3rd Saturday of each month, 5:30-7:00 p.m., at The Women's Initiative's main office at 1101 E. High Street, Suite A. For more information, visit www.pflagblueridge.org.

PFLAG Trans Families Group

This group focuses on transitioning families and the needs/experiences of parents of transgender and gender-variant youth and young adults. Supportive family members and transgender individuals of all ages are welcome and encouraged to attend. This group meets the 3rd Saturday of each month, 5:30-7:00 p.m., at 1101 E. High Street, Suite A. For more information, visit www.pflagblueridge.org.

Mothering Circle of Charlottesville

Connect with other mothers, support each other, and share your stories in a safe, nurturing environment. Open to all mothers and parenting styles. We meet the 4th Wednesday of every month from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the main office. More information available on the Facebook page for this group.


My life has been enriched by the women I have met while I have attended weekly support groups. Before, I had no friends and I was all alone. I had no hope and I was fragile....I am still learning how to find love and how to let it find me.
— TWI client