Every year, Odyssey House commemorates Women’s History Month with events that are aimed at boosting self-esteem and encouraging female bonding. It’s an important event here as many of the women in our programs are coping with low self-esteem and a history of domestic violence or sexual abuse. This year, the Haven celebrated the achievements of women in recovery with a special event for staff, residents and their families. The program included musical performances, two inspirational guest speakers – Adrianne Walker and Betty Jean Robinson – and poetry readings from Haven residents.
At the end of the program, the “Woman of the Year” award was presented to Cynthia S., a resident who is “leading by example” and has made significant strides in her life since moving into the Haven, including reconnecting with her family and encouraging her neighbors to maintain their sobriety. Accepting the award, Cynthia said, “I have the greatest support right here in this building to help me through. Thank you so much.”
Cynthia & the Haven staff
Women’s History Month traces its beginnings to the first International Women’s Day in 1911. The idea was first put forward at the turn of the 20th century amid rapid world industrialization and economic expansion that lead to protests over working conditions. In the US, International Women’s Day came to commemorate the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. In 1981, responding to the growing popularity of the event, Congress passed a resolution recognizing Women’s History Week and in 1987, Congress expanded the focus to an entire month.