Groups and Social Support

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

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  • 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, 12-1:30 pm
    July 31-September 18

  • WHERE: Main Office

  • REGISTRATION: Please register by July 8

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

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

Relationship Recovery Group

  • WHEN: Tuesdays, 5:30-7 pm
    September 10-October 15

  • WHERE: Main Office

  • REGISTRATION: Please register by Aug. 30

  • Facilitated by Shell Stern, MSW, Kelley Hunt, LCSW, and Anne Perkins, MSW

A group for women trying to make sense of difficult relationship experiences. Group members will have the chance to share their stories and support each other in learning from painful events and arriving at a deeper understanding of themselves in the context of partnership.


Workshops

Trauma Healing Basics

  • WHEN: Tuesdays, 5:30-7 pm, October 22-November 26

  • WHERE: Main Office

  • REGISTRATION: Please register by October 17

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

Join with others in taking a step toward healing and resilience. In this six-week trauma-informed psychoeducational workshop, participants will gain knowledge and practice to heal from traumatic experiences. Participants can expect to:

  • Understand trauma and its impact on the mind and body

  • Distinguish between stress and trauma

  • Review the stages of trauma healing and how to feel emotionally safe

  • Learn what contributes to trauma healing

  • Practice mindfulness skills to feel balanced

  • Build and boost emotional health using resilience skills

  • Look at the ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Study within the context of intergenerational and historical trauma

Mind-Body Skills Group

  • WHEN: Wednesdays, 12-1:45 pm, Oct. 16-Dec. 11 (No session Nov. 27)

  • WHERE: Main Office

  • REGISTRATION: Please register by Monday, Oct. 14

  • Facilitated by Leslie Edsall-Pont

Gain unique mind-body tools for stress management and self-care in a safe, supportive setting. In this eight-session workshop, participants will explore a variety of mind-body techniques including guided meditation, biofeedback, writing, drawing, and movement. No previous experience necessary.

Marketing Yourself for the Job You Want

  • WHEN: Thursday, October 3, 5:30-7:30 pm

  • WHERE: Main Office

  • Facilitated by Wendy M. Miller, SHRM-SCP

Join us for a workshop that will provide tools on how to market your skills and experience in order to start a new career, obtain a new job, and to develop and succeed within your organization. Participants will also have the opportunity for a separate one-on-one consultation with Wendy M. Miller, SHRM-SCP.


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 10-December 12

  • WHERE: Main Office

  • REGISTRATION: Please register 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, begins Sept. 25

  • 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.

Yoga for People 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 people 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

Mind-Body Skills Group

  • WHEN: Wednesdays, 12-1:45 pm, Oct. 16-Dec. 11 (No session Nov. 27)

  • WHERE: Main Office

  • REGISTRATION: Please register by Monday, Oct. 14

  • Facilitated by Leslie Edsall-Pont

Gain unique mind-body tools for stress management and self-care in a safe, supportive setting. In this eight-session workshop, participants will explore a variety of mind-body techniques including guided meditation, biofeedback, writing, drawing, and movement. No previous experience necessary.

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. 

Gentle Chair and Mat Yoga

  • WHEN: Tuesdays, 9:30-10:30 am, November 5-December 17

  • WHERE: Main Office

  • NO REGISTRATION REQUIRED

  • Facilitated by Katharine Scott Gilliam

“Tend and befriend” your body in this gentle yoga practice that includes both mat and chair postures. Participants will use slow, mindful yoga to support physical and mental health. All are welcome to stay on for Chair Yoga, which begins immediately following this class.

Chair Yoga

  • WHEN: Tuesdays, 10:45-11:30 am, November 5-December 17

  • 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.

Yoga for People 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 people 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.

Singing Bowl Sound Bath

  • WHEN: Tuesdays, 2:15-3:15 pm
    October 15 and November 19

  • WHERE: Main Office

  • REGISTRATION: Not required.

  • Facilitated by Ai’ia Saul-Wolman

Immersion in tones and sonic vibrations from singing bowls to help release tension, increase awareness and promote relaxation.

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 practitioner 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.


Creative Arts

Knitting Circle

  • WHEN: Thursdays, 5:30–7 pm.

  • WHERE: Main Office

  • NO REGISTRATION REQUIRED.

  • Facilitated by Gail Smith

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

Challenge into Change

  • WHEN: Deadline for entries is December 12, 2019

  • WHERE: Submit online or at one of our offices

Submit your essay or poem about a woman in your life (you or someone you know) transforming a challenge into an opportunity for growth and healing.

Cash prizes; all eligible entries published in our Challenge into Change book. Details TBA.


Ecotherapy

Nature Nurture Retreat at Wildrock

  • WHEN: Saturday, September 28, 9:45 am-4 pm

  • WHERE: Wildrock is a nature park and barn center tucked away in the Blue Ridge foothills 40 minutes from Charlottesville. Transportation to Wildrock will be provided from TWI Main Office, 1101 East High St.

  • REGISTRATION: sstern@thewomensinitiative.org or (434) 872-0047 x114

  • 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 and reduce stress.


Trauma-Informed Cross-Cultural Psychoeducation

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