Jeanie’s Inspirational Page, featuring The Women’s Bureau

| September 9, 2013

The Women's BureauBy Jeanie Summerville

Whatz up, babies?

The time has come once again to replace my column, Up Close with Jeanie, so we can bring to you another inspirational page—yay!—In hope of inspiring and encouraging you to feel the beauty that life has to offer. Why? Simply because each and every last one of you deserve it. And, you know I understand that in this thing called life, things that are not pleasant happens sometimes and we must live with our realities. So as always, I want to bring you some more joy, beauty, happiness and some form of peace of mind, on our journey of love to comfort your hearts, if you or someone you may know has been a victim.

So in turn, your inspirational page consists of some advertisers because they want everyone to know that they’re there for all of you and they’ll take good care of you while you’re in their presence. Because, like me, they know that you’re important too. On that note, here and now, I felt the need to reach out to all of the parents of children who have been abused by being molested and to the people that have been raped due to no fault of your own. For, my heart is saddened by your hearts because that should not have happened to you or to anybody else, but it did. But no matter what, I need you to know that you are loved, wanted, needed and appreciated because I don’t want you to suffer needlessly, if I can help it. The information below that is brought to you this week is provided by the Women’s Bureau, located right here in Fort Wayne, because there is hope for your brighter tomorrow. So now, I introduce to you the executive director of the Women’s Bureau who’s going to share some vital information that you need to know about.

“Hello, my name Kathleen Alter and I’m the executive director of the Women’s Bureau. We’re located at 2417 Fairfield Ave. in Fort Wayne, and since 1975 the Women’s Bureau (WB) has served as a unique voice advocating for women’s issues and providing services for women and their families, sometimes in collaboration with other agencies and sometimes as the sole agency filling an unmet need in the community. Our program and services have changed over the years to meet the ever-changing needs of the women and children in our area. Through 2012, the WB provided services to more than 350,000 people in northeastern Indiana and the number of women and children who need our services continues to grow. And, if you need us just call us at (260) 424-7977.”


“Transitions—A gender-sensitive residential treatment program for pregnant women and women with children through age five and we rebuild families by helping women maintain a life of recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. WB recognizes that addiction is a multi-faceted issue for women and recovery is a long-term process. As such, the program focuses on helping women build and strengthen support systems and healthy relationships with treatment that may continue through their recovery. WB helps women overcome the key barriers to successful recovery by addressing parenting and family bonding issues, trauma, self-sufficiency, education and job skills, as well as, their addiction. The program also assist clients in linking to permanent supportive housing options in the community.

REACT—An acronym for Respond, Empower, Advocate, Collaborate, Treat and all REACT programs strive to relieve the truama of sexual assualts through crisis intervention and counseling and to prevent sexual assault through education and skill-building. REACT services include: 

• Rape Crisis Hotline-24 hours, seven days a week. Call (260) 426-7273 or 1-888-311-7273.

• Free Counseling for victims of rape, molestation, incest and domestic violence in Allen County.

• A Rural Outreach Clinician provides free clinical counseling and case management in the counties of Dekalb, Lagrange, Noble and Steuben. Assault Education for Teens (AET)—Safe Dates; SAFE; Project C.A.R.E. and Collegiate Primary Prevention (CPP).”

“On Sept. 21, 2013 you can help the Women’s Bureau Inc., REACT Rape Awareness Program, publicly support survivors and raise awareness of sexual assault by walking a one-mile course in bright red high heels. Through community education and awareness, we are able to help survivors and work toward decreasing the number of women and men sexually assaulted each year. Put Yourself in Her Shoes! When: Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013 at Headwaters Park West and registration opens at 8 a.m., the walk is at 10 a.m. Rape affects us all, one in every five women and one in every 12 men in Indiana are victims of rape. In 2012, Allen County and Fort Wayne Police Department reported 52 sexual batteries, 143 child molestations, 112 sex offenses and 119 rapes. Together, we will raise awareness and support the survivors, simply by taking one step at a time, join us.

“Your support and participation are vital in making a change for the better. For more than 32 years, the Women’s Bureau REACT Rape Awareness Program has provided services in nine counties in northeast Indiana. In 2012 alone, the Bureau has, provided 840 counseling and group hours to survivors and secondary survivors of rape and intimate partner violence. Fielded 98 rape hotline calls and provided 7451 individuals with training, seminors and presentations on sexual assault education and awareness. 

“Also, the newest program from the Women’s Bureau is, Dress for Success Fort Wayne, and our mission is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. And, we did it! Thanks to many talented and hardworking volunteers long hours, hard work and much enthusiasm paid off with an incredible grand opening of the Dress for Success Fort Wayne Boutique on Friday May 31, 2013 that’s located in the Cottage House at 2323 Fairfield Avenue, next to the Women’s Bureau and in spite of the rain, we had a great turnout.

“Leslee Hill is a Women’s Bureau Board Member and chair of the Dress for Success Fort Wayne Steering Committee. Since it’s inception in 1997, Dress for Success, has suited more than 650,000 women, through affiliate locations, in more than 13 counties. Dress for Success Fort Wayne is a Women’s Bureau program that is funded in part by Lincoln Financial and Vera Bradley. It is the only Dress for Success program in northeast Indiana and we are very proud to be an affiliate of this international program. 

“For a women to qualify for this program, she must have a job interview scheduled with a potential employer. Then, she will contact us for an appointment and she will be matched up with a personal shopper to meet with her and dress her “head to toe” in preparation for her job interview. When she successfully lands the job, she returns to the boutique for up to one week’s worth of business-appropriate separates. This also includes scrubs for the medical industry and black and white separates for wait staff. 

“Any women in the community can come to Dress for Success Fort Wayne for assistance. The boutique will also serve job-ready women by referrel from non-profit organizations including domestic violence agencies, homeless shelters and job-training programs. In addition, we will initiate a career center that will provide mentoring and job-readiness assistance, as well as, establish relationships with employees in the community and post job opportunities. For more information about Dress for Success Fort Wayne, please visit or the Women’s Bureau website and to donate business attire or to schedule an appointment, contact the Women’s Bureau at (260) 424-7977.”

Women’s Bureau Mission Statement: Advancing women through advocacy, education and economic empowerment. REACT Mission Statement: To relieve the trauma of sexual assault through crisis intervention, counseling and to prevent sexual assault through education and awareness.

So if you, a friend, a loved one or someone who you know has been molested or rapped please don’t hesitate to contact your local police. Also, please contact the Women’s Bureau for you are not alone. Bye, bye, babies.


This article originally appeared in the Sept. 4 print edition.

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