February 6, 2013- Coldwater, Michigan- The Women’s Health Fest Committee recently donated $5,000 to the Branch County Coalition Against Domestic Violence (BCCADV) to support their Bridges Out of Poverty - Getting Ahead program. In addition to the donation another $500 was given to help support the BCCADV emergency fund.
The Getting Ahead program assists participants in understanding why they are in the economic turmoil they are in and how to get out by setting their own goals. The participants individualize their plan and the BCCADV helps them make contacts in the community to achieve their goals. Facilitators are Kim Hemker and Julia McIntyre from the Naomi Davis Shelterhouse. Participation is open to anyone who is motivated to learn and willing to work towards achieving their goals. The program is twelve weeks and a meal is provided as well as child care. Participants attending are eligible to receive a $25 gift card given at the end of each session.
The first Getting Ahead class of 2013, started on February 4. This is the sixth such class that has been offered. Without the support of the Women’s Health Fest, the classes would have had to wait until additional grant funding became available. Although the program is not directly related to domestic violence and sexual assault, some BCCADV clients are involved as well as community members. It is the goal of BCCADV to make an investment in the future of the community.
Women’s Health Fest will be held on Saturday, March 2, 2013, at the Branch Area Careers Center. Doors will open at 8:15 a.m. and the event will end at noon. This is a free event and offers eight different workshops along with exhibitors, door prizes, and childcare. Women of all ages can attend two of eight educational and fun sessions at no charge. Women with small children can take advantage of free childcare by preregistering at 279-5008.
Over 40 exhibitors will also be on hand to showcase their services and merchandise between sessions. Free on-site childcare, (preregistration required) will be provided, as will refreshments throughout the morning. Goody bags will be handed out to the first 250 participants to register on the day of the Health Fest. Women with small children can take advantage of free childcare by preregistering at 279-5008.
Women’s Health Fest is planned and staged by women from area businesses and organizations. The first event was held in 1998 and has been held annually ever since. Women’s Health Fest is one of the few free events of this kind inMichigan. Each year the Health Fest has attracted 250 - 350 women who have consistently rated it as excellent on participant surveys. The Women’s Health Fest committee members include Alicia Cole, Bobbie Gagnon, Mary Guthrie, Julie Hurley, Kelly Mapes, Amy Nowicki, Patty Parker, Lynn Paul, Heather Smead, Darlene Starr, Julie Stratos, and Sonya Wilkins.
For more information on the Getting Ahead program, please contact Kim or Julia at 517-278-7233. For more information about Women’s Health Fest, please contact 517-279-5282.