I hope this update finds you healthy and well. I was in the Manatee office last week and noticed a wall calendar that was still on March. It reminded me of how long it has been since we have been working in our “new normal.” In some ways it feels like it has been forever and in others it feels like a minute.

I wonder how many of you are feeling overwhelmed with information, opinions, financial worries, ideas, and maybe a little fear? Personally, I vacillate between feeling overwhelmed and energized…I know that seems odd, but it is true.  What energizes me is the work the team at the WRC as well as so many other organizations in our community are doing to support those who are struggling right now. What overwhelms me is that I know there is going to be more stress put on people as unemployment rates increase and financial supports expire.

Many people are suffering from COVID-related job losses, but the impact has been brutal for women—especially women of color. Typical recessions lead to downsizing in manufacturing, construction and other traditionally male-dominated fields. The pandemic recession has devastated the service sector—a sector where many women struggle to make a living even in good times. At the Women’s Resource Center, we see the collateral damage of the pandemic every day. Even before Covid, a vital part of our mission has always been to help women navigate options during difficult transitions. That has not changed during this crisis and in fact, it’s more vital than ever.

There are going to be monies available from our workforce development and educational partners for trainings and certifications. We encourage people who are looking for a new job to contact us to make an appointment with a Career Coach to explore employment and career opportunities. This may be a chance to access training and start on a new path.

We also recognize it is not just about a job. The stress, whether financial or otherwise, can lead to anxiety and depression. If you or someone you know is in need of someone to talk to, please make an appointment with one of our mental health professionals.

I was also reminded recently that it is not just women who are suffering with the challenges of the pandemic. While our programs are focused on women, we serve everyone at WRC. In fact, 3% of our clients are male and over 28% of those reaching out to us on our Local Resource web page are male.

I want to close by saying thank you. Thank you to the staff and volunteers at WRC who work every day to ensure that the needs of our clients are being met. Thank you to our donors who ensure we have the funds and resources to support our programs. And THANK YOU for being part of the WRC community.

The virus has no compassion. But businesses, nonprofit organizations, foundations, educational institutions and the people across our community do.

Thank you,
Ashley Brown
CEO & President