The Women’s Respite Program (WRP) was founded in 1989 to provide respite to single mothers with low income. The program has since expanded to include retreats for all mothers with low income, grandmothers raising grandchildren, women with cancer, and alumnae of previous retreats. Over the past 30 years, the WRP has welcomed over 900 women to participate in a weekend of rest, relaxation and renewal. The WRP is a part of the Francis Center, Inc. a not-for-profit, tax-exempt corporation.
The Respite Programs take place at Stella Niagara Center for Renewal four times a year. (See the calendar for upcoming dates.) Retreat activities include massage therapy, reiki, reflexology, arts and crafts, journal writing, swimming, discussion groups, meditation, movies, and more. If a woman prefers, she can simply rest all weekend. The programs provide participants with an opportunity to meet other women with similar experiences and to form a support network that extends beyond the weekend. The primary goal is to decrease the stress, isolation, and lack of self worth that many of our participants experience.
The Women’s Respite Program serves women from families of any race or creed. Many of the participants are unemployed, employed in low-paying jobs or receiving public assistance. All are referred by various social service agencies. Those who are determined by the referring professional to be in serious need (especially where the threat of child abuse exists) are given priority in the application process.