Heather Statz is a board member with Friends of San Lucas and a long-time supporter of the Mission Women’s Center. Read this Q&A to learn more about Heather and why she supports the Women’s Center.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a social worker by trade and absolutely love what I do. I currently work as a case manager for adults with mental health and substance use challenges. I live in Baraboo, WI close to my family and have a lot of fun spending time with my 4 and 6 year old niece and nephew. I am a board member for the Friends of San Lucas and love to visit San Lucas any chance I get!
What led you to support the Mission? How did you get involved?
I originally got involved in the Mission through a service learning trip at the University of St. Thomas. I had the opportunity to go on a 3-week long trip in January 2012 to San Lucas. A few years later after finishing undergrad I was looking for an opportunity to do more volunteer work and personal development. I applied to be a Long-Term Volunteer with the Mission and ended up loving it. I signed on for the job as the Volunteer Coordinator and lived primarily in San Lucas for 3 years.
Why do you care about the Women’s Center?
I have watched the Women’s Center grow and flourish as a program during my time with the Mission. I have seen and felt how much having a space like this means to the women who go there. While there are not easy solutions to a lot of the issues that individuals and families living in poverty face, the Women’s Center provides a physical space to come together and enjoy one another’s company while also learning valuable skills.
Can you share a specific story of the program’s impact that you know of?
I have seen several women come to the center for courses to learn various skills (cooking, baking, sewing, weaving) and use them to support themselves and their families. There are also several women who have taken these skills and have applied them to create and sell out of their homes or in the market, whether that be baking cakes or weaving traditional blouses, huipiles. I have also seen some women grow into more of a leadership role. I remember when Karina started as a young participant and really engaged in all the activities and opportunities the Women’s Center had to offer. Today she is the sub-director and a huge support for other women and young people at the Women’s Center.
What difference are people making when they give to the Women’s Center?
When you give to the Women’s Center you are investing in women and children. You are giving participants not only an opportunity to learn a new skill, which can be a way to economically support the individual and her family. You are also helping to create a space where women can come to be themselves and share with other women. They come together to learn, laugh, and share. Creating community is priceless and that is what the Women’s Center does.
How has this program touched your life personally?
I have been so inspired by all of the women I have been privileged to meet through the Women’s Center. I have been able to participate in many classes and even learned to weave under the guidance of Benita (pictured). The Women’s Center has taught me the importance of having a supportive community and how much a difference it can make to just be present and listen when someone is struggling. I am forever grateful to have had the opportunity to laugh and learn alongside such strong, intelligent, and loving women!
To join Heather in supporting the Women’s Center, click here to make your year-end gift now.