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Celebrating women of strength

Friendships between women are special. In their friendships, women tend to share feelings and problems more than men do with friends; and in times of stress or anxiety, women are more likely to turn to their friends and confidantes for emotional relief.

Many people struggling with substance use disorders, mental illness, or homeless find themselves isolated, and studies show that losing connections with others is a particularly devastating aspect of addiction for women.

That’s why every March, in honor of Women’s HistoryMonth, we host a special Women’s Day event. It’s often the first time the women across our housing programs have a chance to interact. “It’s about introducing the residents to each other, to encourage them to socialize and form a support network,” said Victor Genao, program director of Park Avenue.
This year’s theme was “Strong Women Rise,” reflected on a mural painted by several of the women. The celebration was organized by Harriet Turner, who said, ‘I believe ‘strong women do rise’ above all adversities and being a part of the women’s month event at Odyssey House gives me an opportunity to bring together the women we serve and provide a forum of hope and inspiration while sharing stories of encouragement through their own achievements and the stories of others.”

The program included a performance by gospel singer Arlethia, poetry readings, and a ceremony honoring a woman from each program. Many of the speakers took the opportunity to share words of inspiration with their fellow tenants and colleagues:

“Everyone sitting at this table, know that you are an inspiration to someone – you are someone’s mother, sister, aunt, niece, daughter. More importantly, you are somebody.”

“You have a purpose in life – be a positive role model, not just at Odyssey House but in the world.”

They even learned how to pamper themselves a little bit. Kelly Ahearn, wellness coordinator, showed the women how to make a simple facial mask at home. 

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