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American Association of University Women celebrates 22 years of the Women’s Center

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Posted: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 3:04 pm

Recently, American Association of University Women’s Be Informed group celebrated 22 years of the Lodi Women’s Center with a cake and a presentation by Joelle Gomez, executive director of the Women’s Center of San Joaquin, and Paula Grech, director of the Lodi office of the Women’s Center.

Gomez and Grech thanked AAUW for all it has done for the Women’s Center over the past 22 years. Pat Robison and Doris McCaughna reminisced about the early days of the Women’s Center.

In 1990, Lodi Branch AAUW began the Women’s Center in Lodi with a national AAUW grant, secured by Pat Robison, Doris McCaughna, and the late Lois Borchardt. Those funds started the Women’s Center whose purpose was to help women experiencing domestic violence. The Women’s Center provided access to community resources, counsel to women in crisis and ongoing group support.

In the early days, the Women’s Center also provided a temporary place to stay, although safe housing is now available only in Stockton and Tracy. Former AAUW President, the late Phoebe Watt, bequeathed $80,000 which is reserved to purchase a Lodi shelter and safe house.

Through the years, many AAUW members volunteered at the Women’s Center in various capacities. At monthly meetings, Lodi Branch still collects sundries and children’s necessities for women who come to the shelter.

In 2012, the Women’s Center expanded its purpose and became the Women’s Center — YFS (Youth and Family Services). Now, the Women’s Center serves victims of sexual assault and runaway youth as well as victims of domestic violence.

The Women’s Center is located at 29 S. Washington Street. The phone number is 209-336-3406. Women who are experiencing violence can call or come to the center where they will find a friendly welcome, compassionate support and practical help.

— Source: Suga Moriwaki

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