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Blog

Telling our story together.

Not Your Average Math Teacher: Jan Dyck

Jan Dyck

As a supporter and neighbor of the Downtown Women’s Center, Jan has found many ways to support the women of Skid Row, as a donor, volunteer and MADE by DWC customer - and most recently, as an advocate, by helping us to expand our reach through our monthly giving program.

We sat down with Jan to hear her story and what brought her to the Center.

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DWC Celebrates National Women's Health Week

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This week (May 10-16) marks the 16th annual National Women's Health Week.

At the Downtown Women's Center, one of our goals is to empower women to make their health a top priority. Through our housing model that recognizes homelessness as a public health crisis, our wellness workshops, and health clinic services, we continue to provide a holistic health program for our community.

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Two DWC Mothers: Elvia & Dana

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DWC Housing Manager Elvia Valdes (left) with resident Dana Harris

Mother’s Day is important at the Downtown Women’s Center.

For many women at DWC, Mother’s Day is not just a reminder of the families they love, but also their journeys to stable and empowered lives. Every year when May comes around, participants and staff alike reflect on what Mother’s Day means to them.

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A Model Partner: Bank of America

For over 20 years, Bank of America has been one of the Downtown Women’s Center’s leading community partners.

In 2007, Bank of America invited us to be a part of their Neighborhood Builders Program, which included a $200,000 grant and opportunities for our leaders to participate in professional development opportunities.

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Denim Day: A Movement

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Downtown Women's Center staff and participants dress in denim to support sexual and domestic violence survivors.

April 29 was Denim Day, a national campaign run by Downtown Women's Center partner Peace Over Violence (POV) in recognition of Sexual Violence Awareness month. 

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Dancing for Empowerment: Shea LeWallen

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Since September 2014, Shannon (Shea) LeWallen has been teaching Shimmy Shape Up! at the Downtown Women’s Center.

Renamed from "RAQSHIMMY," Shimmy Shape Up! is a full-body workout created by Shea that combines belly dance, yoga, plyometrics, and music. Once a week, she leads women in this 1-hour, high-energy fitness experience.

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Working to Reclaim Her Life

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“I want to go back to work. I want to go back to my previous life.”

These are words Alisa S. repeats throughout sharing her story. This mantra has kept her going through the past two years when she first arrived to downtown Los Angeles’ Skid Row area. 

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A Safe Space to Create: Wendy Scholl

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Volunteer Wendy Scholl (left) knitting with DWC resident Tan in a DWC Skills Enhancement Training workshop.

Five years ago, Wendy Scholl considered herself a volunteer “under the radar.”

As an attorney for Bank of America, she had been to DWC to participate in group volunteer projects organized by her work, but had never volunteered on her own. It was during a Christmas donation sorting project that Wendy learned about our Skills Enhancement Training ("SET" to Create) knitting workshop.

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Salma Hayek Visits DWC

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The Downtown Women’s Center was abuzz with excitement when we welcomed international superstar Salma Hayek Pinault to our Center in late March – an unexpected but delightful surprise to DWC residents and staff.


Where I Belong: Bess Byers

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Longtime MADE by DWC volunteer Bess Byers recently left LA to embark on a new business venture in her native Washington state. But before she hit the road, we chatted with her about the volunteer experience at the Downtown Women’s Center.

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