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women's day.

Tomorrow, women around the world will celebrate International Women’s Day. As they gather, Catholic Charities stands with them in solidarity: we affirm the dignity of every woman across the globe and every woman living in Eastern Washington.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day, “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change,” dovetails with the work of Catholic Charities. According to the United Nations, the theme “will focus on innovative ways in which we can advance gender equality and the empowerment of women.”

Catholic Charities’ Innovative Programs Empower Women

Similarly, Catholic Charities looks for creative ways to bring stability to women’s lives. At CAPA, new moms participate in cutting-edge programs like Circle of Security–Parenting that help them build stronger family relationships. Rising Strong offers women an innovative program with centralized services to help them heal from addiction, strengthen their families and launch independent lives. St. Margaret’s Shelter empowers women who are experiencing homelessness, fleeing domestic violence, or exiting drug treatment or incarceration by supporting them to take charge of the direction of their lives.

At St. Margaret’s Shelter, Jarica Takes Control of Her Journey

When Jarica arrived at St. Margaret’s, she and her boyfriend, Aaron, and their son, Shay, had been experiencing homelessness for 2 years. Shortly after Shay was born, the family lost housing, a job and a car in rapid succession.

Jarica tried hard to help her family get traction. They worked on a public housing application, but could never find enough time to complete the lengthy process. She found seasonal retail work, but she knew she needed to get her GED to move ahead.

Jarica’s biggest challenge was caring for Shay without the stability of a home or a schedule. Going from shelter to shelter, Shay never developed a routine. She and Aaron could have toughed it out, she remembered, but it was hard on Shay. “He wasn’t his normal, happy self that I know he is.”

Eventually, Jarica’s family was offered a spot in St. Margaret’s Shelter after completing a screening through the Homeless Family Coordinated Assessment (HFCA). Jarica was thrilled to have somewhere to go where she and Aaron could be together. “It’s important to show [Shay] that through the hard times, he sees that we can stay together,” Jarica said.

St. Margaret’s provided Jarica the stability her family needed to move in to permanent housing. The family finally completed their Section 8 application and found out this month it was accepted. With housing in place, Jarica is looking to her education. She hopes to enroll in the Next generation Zone, where she can earn her GED while getting work experience.

On International Women’s Day, please join us in celebrating women like Jarica who are becoming empowered to take control of their lives. Please connect with us to hear more stories of women’s empowerment at Catholic Charities.

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