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UW-Parkside's Professor Penny Lyter and her HESM 321 Women's Health students partnered with the Women's Resource Center in Racine (WRC) in a community-based learning project in the fall 2016 semester. Projects such as these make the curriculum more relevant and aid learning for students while helping a community organization address a critical issue.
During the course of the semester, the students presented multiple workshops for clients and staff at WRC. In addition to providing a healthy meal, these workshops focused on self-care, and encouraging clients and staff remember to take care of themselves during stressful situations to stay healthy and to avoid "burnout". Parkside students demonstrated relaxation techniques, shared tips on making healthy food choices, and modeled simple exercise routines. In addition to these workshops, Parkside students also organized a drive to collect new undergarments for WRC clients, who often come to the shelter with only the clothes on their back. (While WRC does receive gently-used clothes donations from the community, used undergarment donations are not accepted.)
Knowing that it takes much more than simple donations to keep a domestic violence shelter running, the HESM 321 class successfully petitioned the Webb Foundation for a $12,000 donation to Women's Resource Center. The check was presented to WRC staff at an event on December 13, 2016. The event included UW-Parkside alum who work as staff members or volunteers with WRC: Nicole Hunt (Board President), Olivia Osbourne (Safe Start Program Director) and Darlene Upchurch.
Founded in September of 1977, the mission of the Women's Resource Center is to provide crisis intervention, advocacy, education and prevention services for a diverse population of victims or individuals at risk of domestic abuse and/or sexual assault, by promoting positive changes for individuals served and the broader community in Racine County. Over the past 35 years it has grown to provide a continuum of safety services, emergency shelter and a small permanent housing project in rural Racine County. WRC provides a place in the community where victims, day and night, can confidently turn when facing a crisis specific to abuse and/or assault. As the only domestic abuse shelter serving the entire Racine County area, WRC has provided refuge to thousands of women and children with potentially life-saving programs since 1977.