Over the past several months, I have been working to implement the Women’s Independence, Safety and Empowerment curriculum, (originally developed at the Midtown Community Court) here in the Bronx. The groups cover themes of stereotypes and stigma attached to having a prostitution arrest, safety and harm reduction, psycho-education on trauma and trauma reactions, as well as feeling identification and coping skills.
Because the AP-8 population is comprised of women and trans women who may be lacking stability (for example, clients may not have consistent housing from week to week, and are often experiencing ongoing trauma and violence), adhering to a strict schedule can be understandably challenging. In order to help address this challenge, the AP-8 group schedule was changed to be more accommodating to the needs of our clients.
This proved to be highly successful and we were able to have five group members complete all four groups!
We (Kayla Johnson, social work intern and I) got exceptionally positive feedback from group members, who took pictures on their phones of the notes we recorded on the board in order to refer back to them later. A few inspiring quotes: “I feel lifted up after I come here; this is so good for me.” “I learned so much today – I didn’t know that word [dissociation] before, but it explains what I’m feeling.” “I never thought I would say this, but this room in 161 is a safe place for me.”
- Charlotte Weber, LMSW, AP-8 Case Manager