The Pursuit of Happiness

A note from our Executive Director

Pursuit of Happiness

Women’s Rights Information Center’s primary action is advocacy that eliminates barriers and promotes women’s leadership and advancement.  I like to think of it as the proverbial “pursuit of happiness”.  What makes someone happy?  There are some common answers: safety, housing, a decent job, supportive family and friends.  But there are also some subjective answers to these questions.  So when we talk about barriers, we are really asking what is blocking your happiness.  Is it finding a job?  A loving relationship?  A rejuvenated self-esteem?  These pursuits are universal and yet for women, there are sometimes added hurdles. 

That is where Women’s Rights Information Center comes in.  We want to respond to the whole person’s needs.  We certainly do the job-coaching, resume prep and classes; we work to address housing needs, dress people from our Career Closet, get legal consultations through Women Lawyers of Bergen County, we provide ESL and more. 

But above all that, we need to start with each individual woman and see what her needs are.  What if she’s already skilled enough for a good job, but is grieving the loss of her son, lost to gun violence? What if she was stalked at work and eventually stabbed on her way home from work?  What if she gave up a career and raised children and is now forced back into the paid workplace, with shaken confidence that she can compete in the work world at an “older” age?  Women are disproportionately still catcalled, harassed, abused, sexually assaulted, and told “stay in your place” in many ways.  While some of us have made great progress in pushing the boundaries of these barriers, we are not done yet.  Too many women are still in the shadows of self-doubt and oppression.  WRIC staff works hard to listen to women, their fears, hopes, dreams and give women the pat on the back they need.  Staff offers hope and guidance and practical support to help women feel empowered to make the changes and start taking baby steps towards the pursuit of whatever their dreams are. 

In light of our theme of honoring Community Change Makers, it is with great pride that I can say the staff and volunteers, to a person, are totally dedicated to this process and their commitment has made them community change makers.  It is such a privilege to be part of this organization, helping to inspire and help women; when women are empowered and safe, our entire community is better off for it.  

I want to say that WRIC has been through some amazing changes.  Some of you may recall that there was an awful flood which caused serious damage to the building.  Thanks to hard work and your support, we fixed most of the major damage and we are slowly changing up our ‘look’, from a new carpet to new business cards to a new website.  We hope you will visit our community Women’s Center and say hello.  We are currently offering a 100 hour QuickBooks course, have an art therapy group and Yoga classes among all our regular programs.  So keep looking for those and other changes and expansions.  Check us out on our website and also Facebook…and don’t forget to like our posts!

Ernie Sprance