What Women Empowerment Means to WomenRising

For centuries women have been fighting their way to the top, fighting fearlessly and relentlessly to have the same rights as men and to share their possibilities and potential in life.

WomenRising (then Y.W.C.A.) was founded in 1905, five years after married women were granted “some” control over their properties and earnings and fifteen years before women were awarded the right to vote.

WomenRising was created by a group of women who worked at Colgate and Company in Jersey City to address their concerns about the welfare of young, single working women; women who had moved to urban areas for jobs and were in need of safe housing in a wholesome environment. WomenRising served as an outlet to Hudson County working and job-seeking women to feel united, independent, and empowered while providing them support and a safe place to live and work.

The organization increased by 400 members that year and has continued to grow rapidly throughout time, expanding community service and women empowerment efforts to meet the needs of the era, i.e. women facing poverty, homelessness, and unemployment. Flash forward 112 years, WomenRising is the foremost community-based organization for women in Hudson County.

Although a century has passed, the need for an organization such as WomenRising is still absolutely necessary.  The 112-year history has introduced many new programs and services, however, the theme of WomenRising has remained the same: empowering women to feel safe, united, heard and most importantly, self-sufficient.

As of 2017, WomenRising empowers women in the community through four core programs: Domestic Violence Services, Permanent Supportive Housing, Youth and Family Services, and Workforce Development. Each service is crucial to ensure women have the tools necessary to live life to their fullest potential, with a secure and safe environment to help them progress and grow.

Domestic Violence Services
If a woman does not feel safe and supported in her home, then she cannot be expected to feel safe and supported anywhere. WomenRising is the State of New Jersey’s designated provider for Hudson County’s domestic violence programming. For the past 30 years, WomenRising has provided direct, immediate and comprehensive access to services for women and children victimized by domestic violence. Services for victims of domestic violence include emergency shelter, crisis intervention, counseling, support groups, assistance with legal rights, restraining orders and court accompaniment as well as community outreach and education and assistance to help victims become personally and economically independent. Providing women with a supportive community has encouraged them to leave their abusers and progress with their life while simultaneously providing a safe and empowered environment for their children.

Permanent Supportive Housing
Long-term homelessness is traumatic for both parents and children, in order for women to feel empowered they need to have somewhere to call home. WomenRising’s Village of Families provides housing and case management to twenty chronically homeless families with physical or mental disabilities; disabilities can range from physical disabilities or handicaps to mental such as anxiety, depression, or addiction. VoF houses families while case managers support them in becoming self-sufficient and engaged members of their community.  

Workforce Development
From the core of WomenRising’s existence the organization has provided career-oriented services to women in Hudson County, 112 years later this has not changed. From career coaching and job training to general resume help and job-search assistance, WomenRising's Workforce Development program’s goal is to make sure that individuals leave our office with the tools necessary to get a job. For many of WomenRising’s clients, finding employment in the cornerstone to them gaining their confidence back and feeling empowered.

Youth and Family Services
One of the hardest and most important jobs a woman can hold is being a mother. Children require so much of a woman’s time, love, and attention. Many women don’t have access to individuals to help them or guide them through motherhood and all of its complications. WomenRising provides many services to women and their families to help them stabilize families in crisis situations. Our Youth and Family Services include Family Advocacy Program, Supervised Visitations, and Family Support Services.

Family Advocacy Program
FAP provides in-home services to stabilize families in crisis. Counselors and family members work to reduce out-of-home placements and facilitate out-of-home placement reunification, increase parent/child communication and coping skills, and decrease truancy rates and acting-out behaviors of children.

Supervised Visitations
The Supervised Visitation program promotes the reunification of the family, specifically with biological children who have been placed outside of the home.  This program provides observation and feedback on the family’s interactions during the visitation as well as role modeling to increase the positive interaction between family members, and transportation to reconnect children with the non-custodial parent.

Family Support Services
FSS is a short-term counseling program where counselors work with individuals and families setting goals and working together to review and adjust them.  When needed, individuals are referred to other social services or long-term counseling.

Empowering women in Hudson County has been WomenRising’s mission since 1905 - providing women with a voice before it was legally acceptable for them to have one. WomenRising has created numerous services for residents to guide them through crisis to self-sufficiency. As an anchor organization within the Hudson County Community, WomenRising is looking forward to serving women and their families for another 112 years.