'I Define Me:' An Interview with Tracie Berry-McGhee

 

by Deborah LeeAnn

 

As a speaker, trainer and paradigm-shifter in the area of Authentic and Conscious Leadership, I enjoy meeting and highlighting women who are creating impactful change in our community.

 

When I met Tracie Berry-McGhee, she was shining with a presence and light. Her enthusiasm, high-energy and creative programs and ideas were asking to be shared with a wider audience. Heres a recap of our interview:

 

Deborah LeeAnn: Tracie, I’m honored to have this time to chat with you and learn more about the SistaKeeper organization, the #IDefineMe movement and who you are as the creative genius behind it all.

 

Who is Tracie Berry-McGhee?

 

Tracie Berry-McGhee:Well, first I want to say thank you for allowing me to be a part of your journey and allowing us to connect and understand the value of defining our voices. I just want to thank you for the experience because it allows me to define myself in the same space.

 

I feel that I am my heart. This leads me. I think that I'm constantly walking in and trying to figure out how I can make myself a better person and be a Keeperto my community as well as a Keeper with my Sistas.I say Sister with the “a” because I think that we may have biological sisters, yet we're all Sistas.

 

I'm an empowerment coach for women and teen girls. I'm a mentoring coach for businesswomen and leaders. I believe we dont need to compete. We need to collaborate. And I'm a wife and I'm a mother. I know that if I did not define myself and know the value of walking in my purpose, I could not do any of those things.

 

DLA Yes, women tend to keep a lot of balls in the air. We keep them going, but to progress and create a true movement, we have to have momentum which comes from the daily steps.Would you tell me what Keepermeans to you?

 

TBM: So, in 2002, I started a nonprofit called SistaKeeper. And there was value there for me because my daughters were struggling with defining themselves in a community and a society that definitely tries to define you, through television, social media, radio, or our communities and families. And so I thought, why not have an organization that empowered our girls to lead and to value character in leadership? I will understand my value, be a Sista to myself, but I will also look at the issues that impact my community and value those issues and try to create change. I think that when we teach those values to our girls early on and allow them to define their voice, they don't lose it.

 

If we can find something that allows us to grow and impact the world, that we can be better people. So that's what's SistaKeeper is about.

 

We provide mentoring wellness circles, we're school-based and community-based. We're in different countries as well. And, it just started from a vision of me wanting to make sure that my girls lived in a better world than I grew up in.

 

I'm the product of a teen mom. I grew up in the inner city, first person to graduate from high school, from college, to own a home, to get married and have children, to have a business, and to want to have a nonprofit even, and travel to get outside of my box and into a circle of diversity and see the value of what we can be when we're keepers to each other. My story speaks to me, but it doesn't truly define me.

 

DLA: I would like to talk just briefly about when you had the vision of SistaKeeper. What were all the feelings that went through you? Did you also have doubts and fears going on at the same time?

 

TBM: Well, I think it starts a lot of times with a small voice inside wondering “maybe this is something that I can do that can empower others.” You question, am I enough? What happens if someone does not like what my light looks like? And I had to realize that I like my light and I want my light to shine, I've dealt with self esteem issues. We all do, we feel awkward.

 

I think what fed me most, was realizing that if I had had what I felt we all needed: a circle of girls and women coming together. I knew that other girls needed that.

 

DLA: How did you birth SistaKeeper? You had the idea, but like what did it look like when you first got started?

 

TBM: So it started out with me writing a book. And, I wrote a book because I wanted to share, how you always do when you have daughters or sons, you want to leave that legacy to them, something for them to be in touch with you and understand the value of what was my mom like. I felt like I wanted to write a book of poetry for my daughters to understand the value of loving themselves.

 

Then I did a CD because I love poetry. I love spoken word. I love reading out loud. I love the value of hearing those words come to life. I'm a dreamer, so things that I would dream about, I would write about . And once I started writing, my daughters started listening and hearing it and they started writing. I thought, you know what, let's bring all these girls together and invite their friends to come into a space, a safe space. Because we always need a safe space. I didn't always have safe spaces growing up. The library was my safe space, but I felt that my daughters needed that and their friends needed that as well. And so I wrote the book, I did the CD and then brought in seven girls from our community that I felt we could all impact each other. Their mothers said, “Sure, why not?”

 

I brought them to my basement. We developed a pledge and the girls started talking and sharing feelings and I made sure every girl had a journal. One of my best friends joined with me and she provided healthy snacks because girls like to eat. And it became a safe space for our girls to connect and see that we have more in common than not.

 

Then I wanted to tie it into purpose. Because I feel that early on, if we can attach to a purpose then we won't lose our way so quickly. I knew I dealt with so many struggles around self esteem and saw a million different struggles my daughters and other girls had as well. And I thought this is a way for us to connect them to the issues that impact our community. And those issues I felt needed to be specific to women.

 

Breast cancer, domestic violence, Lupus, sickle cell, teen pregnancy, suicide, all these issues, that if we could just understand and have a clear awareness, then we could be keepers. And it worked. We went from the basement to schools that invited us to do after school programs. To church, different faith based communities, to traveling to different states and different countries that said, “Let's start a chapter here.” And I kept feeling like, okay, this is what I'm supposed to do because it felt effortless.

 

I am a licensed therapist, I knew that I wanted to work with women and teen girls, but I didn't know that I needed it to be prevention, intervention, and awareness. That was that still voice inside of me, it's God saying, "this is what you need to do" and I needed to listen.

 

So I started nurturing that in me. I started walking the labyrinth and consistently writing every day and knew that my voice has value, but I also think it came from me reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and I knew that I could not be caged. My voice could not be silenced. I cannot allow that to happen to my daughters, my daughters' friends, communities, local, national, globally.

 

We had to be keepers for even those who did feel silenced.

 

I also realized the importance of mental health and the importance of having a safe space to share and, and being told that it's okay. So we do prevention, intervention and awareness, and lots of love, love, love, love.

 

DLA: When did you realize that I need to take care of ME first and then I can be there for others?

 

TBM: I love being a keeper. Yet, I have to be a keeper to myself first. I have to understand the value of that. And to be honest, I did not see a lot of women being keepers to themselves. That's not okay, I knew I wanted to be different. My mom always told me that I needed to be a cycle-breaker.

 

DLA: So I'm just curious, how do you work with girls (and women) who are unsure how to be with all their emotions? Especially if they think they're supposed to be positive all the time?

 

TBMAs a therapist, I'm not a big fan of, "Well let's talk about the story and stay in the story." But I am a fan of sitting in the storm and letting it thunder and lightning all around you and being with it so that you can heal it.

 

Yeah, I think it's important. I can sit with it because thats your story. I'm not owning your story. I'm okay with sitting with you and allowing you to take your time to move forward. Because everybody moves at a different pace. I think that's what it means to be client-centered, I'll stand in the gap with you and, and then we can move forward together because you need that light.

 

And, I love the storm, because that's where we grow. I love the rain. That's where we sow seeds.


DLA: What’s next?

 

TBM: Sista Keeper was specifically for girls. We have books at different levels (elementary, middle, and high school) that focus on poetry and journaling and we have a curriculum that is taught in schools all over the country.

 

But for me now, it's all about the I Define Me Movement. We want everyone to sign on and pledge #IDefineMe. The I Define Me Movement of women and girls that are defining their voices and bringing awareness to issues that impact our communities and the world.

 

Tracie Berry-McGhee can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or @SistaKeeperSTL on Twitter or FB, www.IDefineMeMovement.com

 

 

Luminary Leader: An Interview with Karen Hoffman, Founder of Gateway to Dreams
by Deborah LeeAnn Morley


 

Deborah LeeAnn:

 

Today we are welcoming Karen Hoffman, Chief Dream Champion and Founder of Gateway to Dreams as one of the Luminary Leaders in our community. Besides her amazing background of making a difference here in town, I really want to focus on what's going on at Gateway to Dreams as it meets its five year anniversary. Welcome Karen!

 

Please tell a bit about the history of Gateway to Dreams. How did it come about?

 

Karen Hoffman:

 

Wow. It’s a long story, but in short, I had an idea of a nonprofit for our city. A place where we can bring the community together in ways to dream. To create a safe space for people to feel supported.  We invited community leaders and entrepreneurs to brainstorm with us between July and October of 2013 - then we launched in January, 2014!

 

DL:

 

Yes! Can you share a couple of stories of what has happened as a result of women coming together and giving each other permission to dream and making it a reality?

 

KH:

 

One of the very early stories and one of my favorites is of Marian Brickner. She was 77 years young when she shared her dream with me. She's an animal photographer and had been following a story about a family of bonobo apes. Lucy, one of the baby apes, had grown up and was going to have a baby of her own. And Marian wanted to go to France to photograph her, but felt it was financially out of her reach.

 

Now, I have a series of quotes that I believe God has given me. I shared one of those quotes with her:  “When you know your dreams and when you share your dreams, people will help you reach your dreams.”

 

At first Marian wasn't very comfortable sharing. It would have meant receiving from others and admitting, “I don't have money.”  However, I challenged her and asked her how badly did she want to go? So, she started sharing her dream!

 

I don't remember the exact number but it was somewhere around 48 people who gave her from $10 to $400 toward her dream.  Marian went to France and took pictures of this family of bonobo apes! When she came back she was already planning another trip to return to see the baby as it grew older. A few months later she returned to France.

 

In the meantime, the Vallee des Singes had used her photography in their brochure and on billboards on the highway. So now this photographer got to see her art, her work, her life's passion on display.

 

When she returned from France the second time I asked her how she was. She said, “You know what? Even my hair is happy!”

 

What I love about that story is she became vulnerable and shared her dream. She told me when she was in New York, she shared her dream with someone sitting next to her on the subway. He sent her $400!  So you don't know how someone might respond to a dream that you have.

 

There are so many others. Another one that has warmed my heart was Margo Sutter who has a horse rescue farm. Sometimes things align so beautifully. You see, Margo happened to read a story about Gateway to Dreams in a newspaper while ordering take-out next door to a laundromat because her washer had broken. She called our office. I rarely answer the phone due to meetings or whatnot, but I answered the phone that day. We had a delightful conversation and I invited her to one of our events to introduce her to some people. When she arrived at registration, she stood next to the person I was going to introduce her to! They arrived at the same time.

 

You see, Margo was concerned because she felt she was going to have to file bankruptcy and lose the horses she had rescued from slaughter. She began to speak to the dream counselors that are part of our community. They helped her, re-inspired her, and she persevered.  Now Margo has bought the land and the horses are saved. I love that. I love that the people in our community that love the animals stood up and said “We want to help you.”

 

DL:

 

There is something magical that happens in that space - the Gateway to Dreams and Joy of Goals space. You create a safe place for women to think beyond what they normally think they deserve. I'm just as guilty of holding my expectations down as to what's realistic.

 

KH:

 

Those of you at Gateway to Dreams even help me to dream bigger!  One of those quotes that I believe was given to me is, “Judge less, love more.” 

 

I think that the personal dream I have is what we share in that space. Dreams such as, I want our world to be more expansive. I want our world to be less judging of others. I want our world to be more about what's possible rather than what's not possible. Many times people have told me when they walk into our space they feel love.

 

DL:

 

In the course of building anything, especially a dream, you're holding a collective dream...  it's not just for you, it's for the community of St. Louis, isn’t it?

 

KH:

 

I feel like it's for the whole region for me.

 

DL:

 

Yeah and it's a big dream. And what happens is we tend to get in our own way. Can you share what would be an area where you felt like you were up against a wall? Where you asked if you’re still supposed to be doing this?

 

KH:

 

Well I think one of the things I have learned is, in creating a judgment-free, loving community, judgment will still occur.

 

There were times that I have felt like giving up. When people that I love have basically said that I wasn't enough and questioned my credibility. I wanted to take my marbles and go home.

 

I thought that if credibility was a problem then I wanted to find another person to be the leader. This was my dream, but in the moment of having my credibility questioned I looked at myself and considered leaving the organization I had built.

 

I'm spiritual. I believe that there is a God. And I believe that my lesson was not what other people think and their judgment of me, but renewing my commitment in a passion that was given to me. My faith in God has always and will always allow for things to work out. I can’t give up because someone is judging me. I must continue moving forward.

 

And, it came up again. Each time it shook my confidence, but each time I persevered.  You see, I also believe that “We teach that which we most want to learn.”

 

I judge myself harshly every day because there's so much we want to do. And I don't always know how to get it all done. There are so many ways that we can do it because I live in the land of positive possibilities. Together we can overcome anything. And so I get up every day excited to make something happen.

 

But I will say the times I’ve been most challenged there has been a lesson and a gift in the challenge that I needed. So I tell myself, “OK things are really bad, and it means something good is going to happen!”

 

DL:

 

Well you know, “there's always a silver lining.”

 

Let’s take a look at your shadow of perfectionism: This is a shadow I deal with as well.  When listening to that inner critic, which I believe every one has to some level, knowing you’re never going to get it all done, or get it done perfectly, and there is judgment surrounding you, how can you find a gift that inner critic is giving you? What is the gift of wanting more than you can get done in one day?

 

KH:

 

The gift is that I know that the first time I do anything is going to be the worst time. So, for me, I'll try new things because I know I'm going to learn and grow. Trying new things allows me to get more things done. This is how I'm going to make a difference.

If I was someone who wouldn't even try. If I keep saying it has to be perfect before I can even start, I would never get it done. I believe that there's this duality going on. On one had you think: You can make a difference. Just keep going. And then on the other hand: You didn't get that all done but you just gotta keep going.

 

DL:

 

Yes, the bigger the dream, the bigger the vision. The more complexity you are going to need to step up into, handle and manage. And there is a wisdom, I call, the polarities of the inner critic and the dreamer. Those two get to live side by side and we get to play with both of them.

 

I glad to hear your journey, because I believe that when most people with a big dream run into a wall, they stop. You have not stopped. You are the Chief Dreaming Officer of the organization because if you lose your dream all the energy that's holding the structure into place falls apart.

 

KH:

 

The times I've doubted who I am and what I am, I come back to my source which is God, it fills me back up.

 

Another huge lesson for me is finding the balance of letting go but still holding on to the dream. This, coupled with finding my own voice and speaking up.

 

I give away my power too easily when I feel someone else can handle a project or others tell me they can do something better than I can.  I’m persuaded to allow others to do for me. So I let it go. Yet I don’t always agree I should. But, not to make waves I relinquish what I feel I should be doing. However, I’m then reminded of the part of me that's tied to God and the dream.  Our board is comprised of such strong women who have created a safe place that I have been allowed to be very vulnerable. As has our board in sharing our vulnerabilities.

 

DL:

 

It's a beautiful example, because we are each pioneers with our visions. Sometimes we do need to be the ones that help to pave the way for those coming behind to be able to have an easier go of it. That is my dream. So, it does mean that we get to carry some of that on our own shoulders.

 

I have one more thing I want to ask you. What’s next? What's next for you Karen, and what’s next for Gateway to Dreams?

 

KH:

 

Well it's really interesting because one of our board members has started asking, what makes your heart sing? Now to me there's a difference between what's your dream and what makes your heart sing. And, the dream that I have for St. Louis doesn't always make my heart sing. It's a lot of work. Sometimes it's a lot of hours. And so what I want to do for our 2019 is work more on combining what makes my heart sing and what my dreams are.

 

And I do know that surrounding ourselves with people who get our dream and that want to help carry pieces of the dream are lessons for me. We have individuals bringing new programs or events to benefit Gateway to Dreams that are owning those events because they believe in our organization and the community. In the past we have always had people that helped, but now people are stepping up and owning pieces of the dream. That is making my heart sing! Being more out there and helping make those connections makes my heart sing.So to me when I am singing best is when I'm helping others and not necessarily doing the day to day operations, although, of course, I'm willing to do whatever is needed because the dream is bigger right now than my heart singing.

 

DL:

 

It sounds like you're holding both.

 

There’s room for your heart to sing and there's room for Gateway to Dreams to grow. You’re allowing and receiving support. That wasn’t necessarily that way in the past.

 

KH:

 

That’s true. I have been someone more protective of other people than myself. As an example, we knew of a member that would be wonderful to spearhead the Impact Awards, yet I couldn’t bring myself to ask her because I knew she was busy. I got in the way energetically. I got in the way of asking for help and receiving help. But, when I finally called to ask her, she agreed immediately and said she was so honored to do so!  My head was spinning because here I am trying to protect people and they didn't need my protection. And, they want to help Gateway to Dreams. I learned that just because I feel overwhelmed sometimes, doesn’t mean they are. That was a great lesson for me.

 

DL:

 

Isn’t it wonderful to find that when you become less externally focused and you turn that energy back towards yourself, you have more power and your voice gets stronger? We can all hear you and support you even more!

 

It's such a pleasure to work with you when you are willing to let us work with you.

 

KH:

 

And these are big lessons for me because I think a lot of us women are in a role of caregiving. I’m not always good with my boundaries when I love people. I carry what’s going on with them within me. When I love someone I sometimes take on more than maybe that person needs me to.

 

DL:
Yes. And so as you continue to love yourself more you can even love others more. Your capacity needs to be bigger as you step into a bigger vision and a bigger place for both you and for Gateway to Dreams in the coming year.

 

One more quick thing. What do you think Gateway to Dreams could do to change things here in St. Louis?

 

KH:

 

Oh my gosh. I think we can be a catalyst in working with other organizations. It’s bigger than a Gateway to Dreams thing, it's a people thing. We want to take a page from the book, Pay It Forward, about an 11 year old boy who changes the world by doing three significant things in his lifetime to help others. He asks each person he helped to help three other people. And asks that those people ask three more people each to pay kindness forward. It's math and it's doing something significant. And, you only need to do it three times in your lifetime. Simple.

 

My dream is for St. Louis to become a Pay it Forward community. That we become a random act of kindness community. That we become a kinder, more loving community. Then, Gateway to Dreams has not only impacted St. Louis but will impact the world.

 

That’s what we do in our small community. As you know, we already invite all kinds of different nonprofits to share what they're up to so we can all help them.

 

DL:

 

And I've got a cultural shift that I'm working on and that is that we stop the whole term of “non-profit.” And say that we are a community agency.  We're creating community change.

 

KH:

 

What about community change agents?

 

DL:

 

I love that because I feel that when we say “non-profit” it's like, we can't have any money. We need to flip that so that we're constantly resource-generating. It’s frustrating because then we hold back where we most could be growing and expanding  because we feel limited.

 

KH:

 

For example, at the last board meeting I was challenged to go and start asking for more money this month and to raise ten thousand dollars. We are sharing the story of Gateway to Dreams. We are filming a video a day to help the community understand who we are and what we are doing.

 

I’m getting to know many organizations through this. Whether we use the term non-profit or change agent, they are doing great work!  It’s almost an oxymoron that we have a reputation for racial division or high crime statistics because philanthropically, we are one of the top 10 giving communities in the country. It’s time to be integrated because we have separation of color, economic status. So it's a model that needs to break down barriers.

 

I invite and want my friends of color to come to everything I do and I'm going to things and neighborhoods that perhaps I might not have gone to in the past.

 

DL:

 

Breaking down barriers! That’s exactly why I moved from a gated community in to my beautiful integrated neighborhood.

 

So I want to close this interview with you today just by saying thank you for all that you're doing and for being a shining beacon for many of us here who have been afraid to dream big.

 

I'd like to also ask you to put out a call to action. What would you like to ask? If you could ask for something from whoever listens to this now who has moved in any way. How can they be supportive of Gateway?

 

KH:

 

I think in order for us to really make a bigger difference we need to be playing with bigger companies. So, what I would love to ask is, if you work for a company that is maybe one of the best companies in St. Louis to work for and you want to impact our community, reach out to me. We have a lot of things that we can actually do together.

 

And, Joy of Goals is a magical day of dreaming and playing and creating with a collaborative spirit.  Going into different companies and letting them see the model I believe can help St. Louis. We’re getting the ground work started and will be working toward a program in 2019. We have so many people stepping up and saying they want to volunteer that it is going to free me up next year to be able to go out there more. Companies that can contribute resources - money, time, ideas, technological resource. 

 

DL:

 

We’ll also be looking looking at metrics. We’ll capture some of these beautiful stories. Those will go a long way to support us in finding additional funding streams and corporate sponsors. Please let people know how to get a hold of you.

 

KH:

 

First of all, I've been blessed that you're our board president. You've been involved first as a member and then as a volunteer and then as a board member and now as a leader of our board.

 

The people on our board, we know we're not perfect and we're working on it and I love that. And, a big Thank You to Our Community Listens, a program that helped our board members understand the importance of communicating effectively with one another.

 

People can reach me via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 314-503-6376.

 

Another shout out to American Family Insurance. Deborah, you got to experience their Dream Bank in Madison, Wisconsin. They are providing speakers and programs to help people dream!

 

DL:

 

Thank you so much for your time. I really love everything you're doing and I wish you all the best in 2019.

 





 

 Patrice Billings, a former SWAT sniper and retired chief pilot who served in the St. Louis County Police Department Metro Air Support Unit, is running for State Senate in Missouri’s 2nd Senate District in the 2018 general election. 

Billings has a distinguished career of public service, was awarded a Purple Heart, and has been recognized as the first female police officer in the country to become a helicopter pilot for a law enforcement agency. She is currently a jewelry designer and a co-owner of Butterfly & Moon in historic St. Charles.

Billings has seen firsthand the issues affecting disenfranchised Missourians through her involvement with national and local nonprofit organizations such as Zonta International, Safe Connections and the St. Charles Equality Coalition. She is an advocate for women, children, and seniors.

The Women’s Journal recently had an opportunity to interview her.

There has never been a more important time to be a woman. A woman with a voice, a purpose, a mission, and an army of sisters rising with her as she does what she can to heal from the pain she feels, and heal the world at the same time.  

Women coming together in women’s circles – and men supporting this – is the key to a new way of existing together in a future we can be proud of. That our children and grandchildren can be proud of. Women are rising to demonstrate a new way - The way of unity, cooperation, heartfelt and soulful leadership, authenticity, and integrity. You are invited to join us.

Join the Global Sisterhood movement, offering worldwide Sister Circles and a synchronized meditation on March 8, International Women's Day!

Always Best Care Senior Services of Weldon Spring www.alwaysbestcarestcharles.com (636) 329-9030

Caring For Your Loved Ones and For You We Are Providing Community Care Programs: ‘Caring For The Caregiver’ Support Group, FREE RX Saver Program and: ‘Always In Touch (Complimentary Daily Phone Care-Check) -Please Contact Us Regarding These Services American Cancer Society www.cancer.org (314) 286-8100

American Heart Association www.americanheart.org (314) 692-5600 AHA builds healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Go Red For Women is the AHA’s program to make women aware of their risk for heart disease – the No.1 cause of death among women. Arthritis Foundation www.arthritis.org (314) 991-9333 Make a difference in the lives of nearly 46 million people who live with the daily pain of arthritis.

Blessing Basket www.blessingbasket.org (314)272-1250 We exist to eradicate poverty in third world countries by creating sustainable jobs and paying prosperity wages.

Boys Hope Girls Hope www.boyshopegirlshopestl.org (314) 692-7477 Helps academically capable and motivated children-in-need to achieve their full potential, by providing value-centered, family-like homes, opportunities and education.

Bridgeway Counseling Services www.bridgewaycounseling.com (636) 946-6854 crisis hot line (636) 757-2200 A non-profit organization specializing in treatment and services for domestic violence, sexual assault and addictive clients serving clients in eastern Missouri.

Card Care Connection: Card Care Connection is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing sympathetic messages and motivational cards to those who face cancer. The goal is to provide an uplifting message of hope to brighten the day of cancer patients. Through this program,volunteers from all over the United States create handmade paper crafting cards and care packages. The program is distributed free of charge to identified individuals who may benefit from support. For more information: www.cardcareconnection.com or contact Aleeza Granote This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (314) 477-0084.

Center for Women’s Ministries www.help-for-women.org (636) 536-1121 FREE counseling for women Support groups and Bible studies also available Connections to Success www.connectionstosuccess.org (314) 333-4490 Breaking the cycle of poverty one family at a time.

Consolare www.consolare.org (314) 289-5650 - Julie Lawson. A social venture of the Crime Victim Advocacy Center. Emmaus Homes www.emmaushomes.org (636) 534-5200 Lisa Drier, Executive Director Providing person-centered care to adults with developmental disabilities in a variety of residential settings and social/recreational activities for all ages and abilities.

The Ethical Society of St. Louis 9001 Clayton Rd. St. Louis, MO 63117 (314) 991-0955 www.ethicalstl.org Striving to be better people for a better world.

Wedding & commitment ceremonies Nursery & Sunday school. Support & social justice programs. Event & meeting space.

Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition www.foster-adopt.org (314) 367-8373 The Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition is a non-profit agency that strives to create permanency in foster children’s lives by recruiting and retaining foster/adoptive families.

Friends of Kathy J. Weinman Shelter for Victims of Domestic Violence: A non-profit organization whose mission is to raise awareness and support for the Kathy J Weinman Shelter, the only shelter in St. Louis County for survivors of domestic violence. We provide help and create hope for women and children who need new lives free of violence and fear. For more information, call (314) 423-1117 or (877) 402-8797 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.friendsofweinman.org.

Jane Doe Advocacy Center www.janedoeadvocacy.org (314) 329-5339. Jane Doe provides legal services to survivors of sexual violence. Services are open to men and women, adults and children, regardless of income. LaLeche League LLL is an international, nonprofit, nonsectarian, organization dedicated to providing support, encouragement, information and education to women who want to breast feed. LLL of Greater St. Louis (314) 424-3000, LLL of Metro East Illinois (618) 321-6667.

Lydia’s House www.lydiashouse.org (314) 771-4411. St. Louis’ only provider of confidential furnished apartments for abused women and children for up to 24 months. National MS Society, Gateway Area Chapter www.gatewayMSsociety.org

Welcome to our Women’s Resource Page. This page is dedicated to providing information on local women’s groups,

chapters and organizations that would be beneficial to our readers.The Chapter provides comprehensive support services and educational programs to people with MS, their family and friends, and raises funds locally to support the National MS Society’s research initiatives. 1-800-344-4867

Nicotine Anonymous Nicotine Anonymous is a 12-step program, free and available to all seeking recovery from nicotine addiction, based on principals of AA. Weekly meetings at St. Luke’s Hospital, and other facilities. For further information call (314) 822-2066 or visit www.NicotineAnonymous.com

Nurses for Newborns Foundation www.nfnf.org (314) 544-3443 Cynthia Ackins, Development. We support families at risk by helping prevent infant mortality, child abuse and neglect through home-based programs that provide education, healthcare and parenting skills.

Safe Connections www.safeconnections.org (314) 646-7500 Susan Kidder, Executive Director (314) 531-2003 Crisis Helpline Our mission is to reduce the impact and incidence of relationship violence and sexual assault through education, crisis intervention, counseling and support services.

Share Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support, Inc. www.nationalshare.org (800) 821-6819. Our mission is to serve those whose lives are touched by the death of a baby through early pregnancy loss, stillbirth or in the first few months of life.

SCORE www.stlscore.org (314) 539- 6600 ext. 242. SCORE is a not-for-profit national association of active and retired business men and women, offering free business counseling via email, telephone or face-to-face meetings. Our objective is to help America’s small business grow and prosper.

SIDS Resources, Inc. www.sidsresources.org (800) 421-3511. We are a private, not-for-profit network that connects people to programs, services and information relating to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in Missouri and surrounding counties. St. Louis Crisis Nursery www.crisisnurserykids.org (314) 292-5770 - 24 hour HELPLINE (314) 768-3201

The Nursery provides 24 hour short-term care for children, birth through age 12, whose families are faced with an emergency or crisis. Volunteers always needed! Support Dogs, Inc. www.supportdogs.org (314) 997-2325 A national not-for-profit organization that offers dignity, hope and independence by providing highly skilled service dogs to individuals with disabilities and uniquely trained therapy dogs to serve the community.

Susan G. Komen, Missouri Helen Chesnut, Executive Director (314) 569-3900. We are your community contact for all your breast health needs. From outreach and education, to funding life-saving mammograms, we support those affected by breast cancer. www.komenmissouri.org Welcome Club Gateway to Friendship Mary (636) 394-7043 Welcome Club is a social and charitable organization providing fun opportunities to meet new friends, interact with others and support local area charities.

West County Women’s Club -Member of General Federation of Women’s Clubs www.gfwcwestcounty.org. Marla Simons (636) 346-4220. Established in 1990 to foster friendships, and serve our community and Missouri Girls Town through volunteer activities and fund raisers.

Women in Charge www.womenincharge.org (314) 727-5515 Victoria Sharp. Heals the spirit, builds confidence, and educates women in need so that they may provide a better life for themselves and their children.

Women’s Place www.womansplacestl.org (314) 645-4848 Irma Kennebeck, MSW, Director - A safe place for women who have experienced violence. Crisis intervention, support groups, self-growth programs, and community education.

The Women’s Safe House www.twsh.org (314) 772-4535 Crisis Hotline; Sylvia Jackson, Executive Director Safe emergency shelter for domestic violence victims and their dependent children (infant to age 17 male and female).

YWCA Metro St. Louis www.ywcastlouis.org (314) 531-1115 Our mission is empowering women and eliminating racism. We offer transitional housing for homeless women, in-person crisis intervention and counseling for victims of sexual assault, leadership programs for youth, racial justice programs, before-and after-school care and Head Start/Early Head Start.