As a new member of the LendOneHand Community I am very much impressed with what this community is all about and the social impact it has by validating and supporting worthy causes. Based on that I shared our story with Fresh Start Women’s Foundation first, before doing anything else. In sharing our story I talked about the philosophy, vision, goals and how everyone can help using the resources and references available to me within the community. The Fresh Start Women’s Foundation then shared their own impressive story and expressed their gratitude for being spotlighted as a worthy cause.
Introducing Fresh Start Women’s Foundation
Fresh Start in Phoenix, Arizona empowers women to transform their lives through education and engagement by focusing on three core values namely economic self-sufficiency, personal development and education. The foundation is dedicated to supporting women who want to thrive by offering them free and low cost services which include career services, child watch, educational workshops, family law support, mentoring, online learning, personal development and social work services. They also operate services from the Goodwill Career Center in Mesa.
The founders of Fresh Start are Pat Petznick and Beverly Stewart who in 1992 were in a position to personally and professionally reach out to women in need. The initial offering was a day of pampering at Rolf’s Salon which was co-owned by Pat and Beverly. Each month twenty women from shelters and social service agencies were invited to “A Fresh Start Day of Beauty at Rolf’s”. This core Fresh Start service remains in place today at the Foundation’s Women Resources Center.
Women served by Fresh Start come from a variety of backgrounds but they all have one thing in common, they are experiencing a life transition. The services are offered to them through one-on-one career coaching, on-site child care services, a variety of workshops and seminars, E-learning access, legal information sessions and training, mentoring by volunteer and successful women in the community, online access to resource center, and self-improvement classes and workshops.
Activities and Outcomes in 2014
- Visits by 23,300 women
- Services for 3,100 new women
- E-learning for 11, 250 women
- Career coaching for 478 women
- Child watch for 2,097 children
- Preparation of court documents for 291 women
- Law support services to 2,653 women
- Use of expertise of more than 620 volunteers
- Providing 2,649 hours of direct contact by social workers
Example of Success Stories
Married for forty years, Carol finally mustered the courage to leave a marriage that simply was not working. She was facing life independently for the first time and she had also lost her long-term job in the auto industry. Unsure of her future and the next steps, she reached out to Fresh Start for help and guidance.
Carol always felt that life was about everyone else but herself, the husband and the children came first and her own needs and goals trailed far behind. Fresh Start guided her down the road to healing, encouraging her to take classes and join support groups in an effort to make her see this new chapter as an exciting journey. Her mentor and what she had learned showed her that she was not alone and she was given the tools to focus on herself and to handle the toughest situations.