Women for Sobriety
POLICY & COVID UPDATES
Dear Competent Women,
I know it’s been a tough week. No matter where you are in the world, I can’t imagine that you haven’t been touched in some way by the current pandemic. As always, WFS and a whole community of 4C women are here to support and encourage you.
Competent Women Getting Stuff Done
Here’s an update on our major service areas and how 4C women have been coming together to keep each other supported during this time:
- Face-to-Face Meetings – Our Administrative Assistant III, Suz C., has created about 40 free G Suite accounts for our Certified Moderators to use so that their local communities can continue to stay connected during social distancing measures – thanks, Suz! The best thing about the meetings being hosted on Google Hangouts Meet is that women may choose to join by video or by phone, which is a great option for those who may not be comfortable with videoconferencing software. We have confirmation that approximately 40% of our in-person meetings are now meeting virtually. Wow! Thank you to our myriad Certified Moderators who are stepping out of their comfort zones in order to continue supporting their local communities.
- WFS Online – Our peer-support forum at https://wfsonline.org continues to provide 24/7 support for any woman with an internet connection. The Certified Chat Leaders rallied this week and held the very first WFS Online Video Meeting on Friday – great job, CCLs! In addition to facilitated Video Meetings, the videoconferencing room is available for informal peer-support whenever a facilitated meeting is not being held. I will also be holding a new morning check-in meeting every weekday for a couple of weeks to help explore the new software. The “Great Start Girlfriends” will meet at 9 am Eastern/8 am Central/7 am Mountain/6 am Pacific M-F for half an hour from Monday, March 23rd to Friday, April 3rd. Join us at https://wfsonline.org for a brief pick-me-up to brighten your day!
- WFS Bookstore – The state of Pennsylvania has ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses to close, but luckily this doesn’t include Electronic Shopping and Mail-Order Houses. This means the WFS online bookstore continues to operate, with shipping frequency slightly reduced to 2x weekly (from normal 3x weekly) due to decreased demand and to reduce travel of valued staff.
- WFS Office – It is deeply important to me that we continue to empower women and not add to the growing number of laid off workers due to the current health crisis. I am so proud to say that no WFS staff have lost any income due to recent events – in fact, we are busier than ever implementing new solutions to keep women connected and supported during this time of increased need!
- Annual Weekend Conference – The WFS Board of Directors has made the difficult but necessary decision to make some changes to conference plans this year. In the interest of everyone’s health and safety, we are postponing our physical event to 2021. I am currently in contact with Hamline University to negotiate rolling our current reservation over to next June – we appreciate everything the local Twin Cities community has done to prepare for the big event, and we want to honor their work by visiting next year. We will follow up again once the new dates are set. The Board also voted to waive the 10% Cancellation Processing Fee for women who already registered for 2020 and do not wish to roll their registration over to 2021 – please join me in extending my thanks to the board for their care and compassion of women who may be struggling financially in these uncertain times.
- Virtual Conference 2020 – We know that many women need support, connection, and inspiration like never before, so we are still going to have conference 2020 but in a new way – virtually! We’re busy contacting our presenters, exploring software, and revising plans to bring the conference experience home to you. I’m optimistic that with a lower registration fee and no travel needed, we’ll be able to reach so many more women. The event will still be held the weekend of June 12-14, 2020, so keep it on your calendar! Please keep your eye on your inbox for more announcements as those plans develop.
Triple Your Donation with a Double Match
I was brought to tears yesterday when an angel donor pledged to match this year’s conference season donations 2-to-1 for up to $40,000 in matching funds! You read that right: for every $1 you donate, they will donate $2, effectively tripling your money. Please help us get the full $40,000 by reaching the $20,000 goal by June 14, 2020. As a bonus, receive an entry in our Teddy Bear & Bunny Drawing by making your donation through the Teddy Bear Challenge. This year, drawing winners will have the option of receiving the stuffed animal personally or donating it directly to someone in need who has been affected by the COVID pandemic. It’s a win, win, win!
Mr. Rogers’ Mom Said to Look for the Helpers…
I realized last night that, for me, spotting helpers is not enough. I am comforted so much more when I am actively doing what I can to make things better. I’m challenging you, too, to take it one step further and be a helper. WFS needs you now more than ever!
- Not struggling with your sobriety during this tough time? Great! Please rejoin your local f2f group (most are meeting online or by phone) or the WFS Online peer-support forum and lend your strength and knowledge to those that need it. You are a competent woman, and you have much to give your Sisters.
- Comfortable with Zoom and/or virtual conference software? The Conference Management Team could really use your expertise as we work toward implementing our first ever virtual conference. Please email [email protected]
org if you are interested.
- Have at least one year of continuous sobriety? Help us expand our online peer-support services by volunteering to lead one of our new Video Meetings. Fill out the Volunteer Application and select 07. Certified Chat Leader. The software is easy to use and we are trying to pair up facilitators so one can run the meeting and one can run the tech.
- Passionate about supporting the fiscal health of WFS? Join the ranks of bear & bunny creators or help promote the Teddy Bear Challenge and other conference season fundraising activities by emailing [email protected]
org. Help us meet our 20k match goal!
- Know something about digital literature or media publishing? With sales of physical items dropping dramatically, we are feeling a new urgency to support the organization by releasing our literature in downloadable formats. If you have experience with converting literature, workbooks, audio, or video materials for downloadable sales (Kindle, iTunes, e-Pub, etc.), please email [email protected].
It is not just about the bears and the bunnies…It is a time of great concern over health and well being for all.
As you read this, the volunteers in WFS are responding with support for you. In posts on the WFS Forum, in Chat meetings, in their response to setup Video meetings in areas that have had to cancel face-to-face sessions.
Rest assured that you have an army of sisters you can reach out to… via the WFS Forum messages or phone or email. If you are having anxiety… take the leap and contact one of us or join a meeting! If you see this message, you can find us! We are Chat Leaders, Certified Moderators, WFS Board of Directors, Phone Support Volunteers, and sisters on the WFS Forum!
Take care of yourself and your family. When you have time, consider a donation to The Teddy Bear Challenge. Funding the services and tools that this volunteer army uses to help the WFS community, in part, comes from The Teddy Bear Challenge.
CLICK HERE to donate to the Teddy Bear Challenge
Hugs and Aloha,
Have a Listen
Check out the latest episode of the SoberSoul Recovery Podcast where Lynn Matti interviews yours truly (I still haven’t listened to it!) about WFS and the upcoming conference. It may be bittersweet hearing about the upcoming event which has now been postponed, but take comfort in the fact that Lynn has already agreed to join us at our Virtual Conference 2020!
A Friendly Reminder
Here are some resources put together by experts to help with difficult emotions during this time:
- CDC Mental Health and Coping
- SAMHSA Coping with Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks
- SAMHSA Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health: Tips for Social Distancing, Quarantine, and Isolation During an Infectious Disease Outbreak
I send you all deep appreciation, care, and love as you move through recent challenges and maintain personal, emotional, and spiritual growth. Again, please join us on our online forum 24/7 or call the office at 215-536-8026 during business hours (9 am to 5 pm US Eastern, M-F) if you need support or encouragement, or to support and encourage others.
Bonded in Compassion,
Women for Sobriety, Inc.