July 15, 2005

Here at ASC, every week is women's wellness week, but in mid-May, we made it official with "Healthy Mind, Body, and Spirit," our second annual Women's Wellness Week program. The event drew women from ASC's client caseload, along with women from ASC's outreach and service venues, including residential drug treatment programs and single room occupancy (SRO) hotels in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. During this special program for women, workshops and discussion groups provided numerous opportunities for women to nurture themselves, explore new ideas, and create and expand community support systems.

One workshop, "The Power of Words," explored the role words can play in shaping women's attitudes, beliefs, and self-image in both positive and negative ways. ASC's Supportive Services Coordinator, Nefertiti Laurie, co-facilitated this workshop with Volunteer Associate Vanessa Sullivan. According to Ms. Laurie, "After this workshop, participants walked away with a stronger consciousness of how words affect their lives and their self-esteem. They learned that words truly do have power and that each of us has a choice about the words that are spoken into our lives—and whether to accept the negative or focus on internalizing the positive. It was a very powerful group."

Another highlight of Women's Wellness Week was "A Toast to Womanhood," during which participants discussed the importance of nourishment in ensuring women's ability to care for themselves and their children, boost their energy, and manage life's challenges. The connections between nutrition and the immune system were explored, and tasty recipes for healthy eating were shared. After "toasting to womanhood" together with delicious fruit smoothies donated by Jamba Juice, the participants concluded the workshop by reading quotations from writers and poets in celebration of womanhood.

Other highlights of the week included, "Love Shouldn't Hurt," a presentation from a representative of the New York City Police Department's Domestic Violence Unit; a workshop on overcoming the barriers to safer sex; and a yoga class in which participants learned breathing and movement techniques to reduce stress and enhance well-being.

As always, Women's Wellness Week was a big hit among the more than 50 women attending the various workshops and events. As Nefertiti Laurie observes, "The women who came to ASC for this event found new friendships, broadened their support system, and got a sense that they're not alone and that there are other people going through what they're going through. ASC has a family feel to it. We hope events like Women's Wellness Week will encourage women to come back and experience ASC's support groups, recreational activities, and other services."

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