How are you feeling? It makes sense that conversations about mental health seem to be everywhere these days. Undoubtedly the stress and isolation of the past two years has taken a toll on everyone. Those already stressed are really feeling it. For many folks HIPS is the last (or only) resource they can tap into for care and community. Knowing that is what keeps us going - and probably why you care about HIPS too.
AND - love is abundant and (sometimes) free so we intend to spread that all over the place. All of HIPS’ work is non-judgmental and based in love and respect, so let’s really turn that up this month. Join us in spreading the love by sending a HIPS Valentine to your beloved! Read on for details…
Love & lube,
PS Also, frustratingly we’re underfunded as we start this year. In some cases, the once abundant government grants we’ve relied on have dried up. Not a great way to start 2022. If you can give a donation now it would be a great time to do it.
Women's Wellness Program
In the summer of 2020, because HIPS has a vision to care for everybody (sometimes taking on a lot!), we created the Women’s Wellness Program, thanks to a grant from HAHSTA at the Department of Health. The program seeks to boost self-esteem, provide a safe community, and support cis women of color experiencing homelessness, partner violence, or a range of health related issues.
Pictured: Clients create affirming and empowering Valentine’s Day cards for themselves in 2021.
HIPS staff outreach to women in need of support by tabling on H Street, visiting shelters, or just meeting women in the streets. They have a variety of individual needs. For folks experiencing homelessness or living in an abusive home very often don’t feel they have a safe space to share or even be. To ease some of these feelings of vulnerability weekly meetings are offered to talk and address mental health issues clients might be experiencing. Basic needs are addressed with hygiene kits containing toothpaste, tampons, new socks and other necessary items. Coping skills for grief and loss are discussed as well as various useful topics like job readiness training, job interview prep, and information on getting a GED. HIPS’ own take on art therapy is also offered. Painting supplies and freshly made smoothies offer a safe space where clients can feel a part of something and discuss their work when their art pieces are finished. Imagine how normal that feels?
Boosting confidence is also important. By creating a buddy system, where clients are paired up with one another, women have someone to go with them to appointments or to offer support during childcare exchanges with former partners that may have been abusive. Peer to peer support is something HIPS is all about. Who better to understand the situation than a person with lived experience?
Holidays aren’t forgotten either. Valentine’s Day in particular is celebrated wholeheartedly. Teddy bears, balloons, chocolate covered strawberries, and cupcakes are part of the fun, but maybe even more meaningful are the valentines. The women write encouraging love notes to themselves, cultivating self-love and encouragement from within. And yes, this year we will celebrate again on February 14th.
There are 215 women participating in the Women’s Wellness Program. The only requirement to participate is a desire and need. As always, HIPS is about taking down barriers to care and human kindness, not creating them.
Send Some LOVE
This year why not send a Valentine that spreads love even further?
Just make a donation of $5 or more and HIPS will send an e-Valentine card to your valentine. We will let them know that this Valentine is in their honor and sent from you. You can customize and even add a personalized comment if you like.
More Amazing Community Support
Jonathan Zucker, Esq. (He/Him/His)
Recently Jonathan raised an amazing $10,000 for HIPS with a birthday fundraiser on Facebook. We thought his goal was ambitious - and it was, but he and his generous network made it happen.
Jonathan is more than a local hero - he also sits on the board of directors at HIPS serving as the treasurer.
HIPS is always so grateful for the varied and creative ways our supporters help sustain our work. Thank you!
Meet Our Board Members
HIPStar Johnny Bailey
Johnny is a Community Outreach Coordinator and a lifelong Washingtonian with a BSW from the UDC where he worked to combine his background of lived experience with academic training in addiction and alternative recovery and harm reduction methods for those who are struggling with Substance Abuse Disorders.