Groups and Social Support

The Women’s Initiative provides therapeutic support groups and social support opportunities in a safe, welcoming environment for groups that empower women and work to eliminate gender-based oppression. Current groups are listed below. If you have an idea for a group that you would like to facilitate or that you would like to see offered at TWI, please contact us.

women's support group

  • TIME: Tuesday evenings, 5:307 pm. There will be no session May 2.
  • LOCATION: TWI Main Office, 1101 E High St, Suite A
  • FACILITATOR: Donna Dean, LCSW

Women supporting one another through mutual sharing and validation. Each week we will focus on a different creative or physical activity to increase well-being. There will also be time to share and listen. Free and open to women—newcomers welcome each week. Please contact Donna Dean before your first meeting: email ddean@thewomensinitiative.org or call (434) 872-0047 ext. 101.

View the Women's Support Group flyer here.

Separation & Divorce Group

  • TIME: Six Wednesdays, 12-1:30 pm
  • DATE: May 10-June 14
  • LOCATION: TWI Main Office, 1101 E High St.
  • FACILITATORS: Nealy Johnston and Kelli Block

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. 

Newcomers welcome each week, but please register before attending your first session. To register, call (434) 872-0047.

KnitTing Circle

  • DAY AND TIME: **NEW DAY** Thursday evenings, 5:30–7 pm
  • LOCATION: TWI Main Office, 1101 E High St, Suite A, Living Room
  • FACILITATOR: George Worthington

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

hEALTHY rELATIONSHIPS sUPPORT gROUP

  • TIME: Six Mondays, 3:30–4:30 pm
  • DATES: March 27–May 1
  • LOCATION: TWI Main Office, 1101 E High St.
  • FACILITATORS: Aisha Hayat, LPC, and Shelly Wood, MSW

Relationships are an integral part of healing and growth, requiring care, compassion, and commitment. In this group, individuals will explore how to be their best selves when connecting with others. No preregistration necessary. Newcomers welcome each week.

View the flyer here.

Everyone Has a Story to Tell

Women's Writing Group

  • TIME: Thursdays, 6–7:15 pm
  • DATES: April 27–June 1
  • LOCATION: TWI Main Office, 1101 E High St
  • FACILITATOR: Katelyn Durkin

Explore writing as a practice in self-care and stress reduction. In this group, 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. Additionally, we will read short stories and personal narratives to help us practice writing skills. No writing experience necessary.

Space is limited. Call The Women’s Initiative at (434) 872-0047 to register by April 21.

View the flyer here.

Lean In: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support Group

  • TIME: Six Tuesday evenings, 6–7 pm
  • DATES: March 21–May 2 (No meeting April 4)
  • LOCATION: Sentara Starr Hill Health Center conference room, Jefferson School City Center, 233 4th St NW
  • REGISTER: To register, email Regine Despinasse-Merone, LCSW, at rd6ny@virginia.edu

Join with others who have been impacted by pregnancy and/or infant loss. This 6-week peer group will provide an opportunity to share experiences, give and receive support as well as promote healing and well-being after a loss. The group is open to anyone, no matter the timing of loss. Individuals and couples are welcome. Light refreshments provided; parking is free. Group offered in partnership with University of Virginia Health System.

View the flyer here

New Mothers’ Support Group

  • TIME: Mondays, 10:30–11:30 am
  • LOCATION: bend Yoga, 420 E Main St, Suite B             
  • FACILITATORS: Hilary Steinitz, MSW, and Holly Leyo, LPC

We will meet each Monday to support women as they navigate the changes in life following the birth of their children. This drop-in support group is for postpartum women who are experiencing stress, depression, anxiety or simply trying to navigate their new role as a mother. The group focuses on giving support, learning skills for coping, managing the stress related to the transition to motherhood. Having social support from a group of other mothers has been shown to help in the recovery of pregnancy and postpartum mood changes. Open to all women, whether they have had their first baby or their fifth, and of course babies are always welcome. Group is free to all. View the flyer here.

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.

JOY IS A RIGHT

Learn how to cultivate more joy in your life. This workshop is focused on emotional support and healing using open discussion, creative exercises and relaxation techniques. Please contact Eboni Bugg, LCSW if you would like a presentation for your group or agency.

Sister Circle

  • TIME: Thursday evenings, 5:307 pm
  • DATES: Begins April 20
  • LOCATION: Jefferson School City Center, JABA Activity Room, First Floor
  • FACILITATORS: Eboni Bugg, LCSW, and Shelly Wood, MSW

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. Childcare provided. 

Space is limited. Contact Eboni Bugg, LCSW, to register: 434.202.7692 or ebugg@thewomensinitiative.org.

View the Sister Circle flyer here.

Be the Architect of Your Career

Career Coaching Seminar

  • WHEN: Tuesday, May 16, 5:30-7:30 pm
  • LOCATION: TWI Main Office, 1101 East High St.
  • FACILITATOR: Wendy M. Miller, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

An architect sits down at her computer and draws the lines that will eventually form a solid, beautiful structure. In that same way, you can also sit down and begin to draw the lines that will eventually form the structure of the career you desire to pursue. Start with a foundation and build your own future by learning how to effectively search for a job to find and create your own career path.

Participants will also be able to sign up for a separate one-on-one session with Wendy Miller.

Space is limited. Call (434) 872-0047 to register.

This is the first of a series of career coaching seminars. Future seminars will explore how to build a resume that will be your marketing tool and how to become skilled at interviewing.

View the flyer here

Art as Therapy

  • TIME: Four Mondays, 1-2:30 pm
  • DATE: May 16-June 6
  • LOCATION: TWI Main Office, 1101 E High St.
  • FACILITATOR: Donna Kaiser, PhD, LPC

In this group we will explore using art materials therapeutically to help elevate mood and reduce anxiety.

A Taste of African Heritage

A Sister Circle Program

  • TIME: Six Tuesdays, 5:00–6:15 pm, April 18–May 23
  • LOCATION: JABA Mary Williams Center Kitchen, Jefferson School, 233 4th St NW

Diabetes is not a part of African heritage. Neither is heart disease. Together, we can claim health by reclaiming history.

Traditionally, African American ancestors ate a delicious, plant-based diet that was high in flavor and naturally low in cholesterol, saturated fat, sugars, and excess sodium. A Taste of African Heritage is a new cooking class series that brings this enjoyable, simple, healthy way of eating back to life. Please join us for this free six-class series, as we “meet” the major foods of African heritage and learn how to easily prepare them at home.

Space is limited. Call The Women’s Initiative at (434) 872-0047 to register by April 11.

View the flyer here

Yoga for Women of Color

A Sister Circle Program

  • TIME: 3rd Sundays, 2–3:15 pm
  • LOCATION: Common Ground Healing Arts at the Jefferson School City Center, 233 4th St NW, 2nd Floor
  • FACILITATOR: Eboni Bugg, LCSW

A monthly offering where women of color can gather and practice yoga in a safe and nurturing setting. Each class will include postures accessible to all levels as well as time for exploring ways to use breath and meditation for wellbeing. Women are invited to stay after class to connect with other participants, share yoga resources and build community. Each class is offered on a donation basis, but no one will be turned away for inability to pay. No pre-registration is necessary; this is a drop-in friendly class. View the flyer here.

West African dance

A Sister Circle Program

  • TIME: 6–7 pm, last Wednesday of each month, January–June
  • LOCATION: Chihamba Studio, McGuffey Art Center, 201 2nd St NW, C-ville
  • FACILITATOR: 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.

Free. No registration required—newcomers welcome each month. No prior dance experience necessary, and all activity levels and ages (children included!) are welcome.

View the flyer here.

Trans People of Color Support Group

The Trans People of Color Support Group provides support and offers a safe space for transgender people of color and their supportive family members. Meets the 2nd Saturday of each month, 5:30-7 pm, at 1101 East High St, Suite A, Charlottesville. Newcomers welcome, no registration necessary. For more information, email Charley at tpoccville@gmail.com

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 Leigh Freilich, LCSW.

Afghan Women's Tea Group

The Afghan Women's Tea Group provides women from Afghanistan with opportunities to meet, socialize and provide support to one another. The group is made possible through the support of community partners, including Jefferson Area CHIP and the International Rescue Committee. Transportation and childcare assistance are available by request. For more information, or to request transportation or childcare, please contact Leigh Freilich, LCSW at (434) 202-7692 x113.

LIVING WELL

Living Well is a support group for women seeking to make lifestyle changes in an effort to lose weight, gain energy, and improve their overall health. Participants will have the opportunity to create an integrated health plan to meet their fitness and nutrition goals, while receiving expert guidance and peer support. Please contact Eboni Bugg, LCSW if you would like to know more or would like to register for the next 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