Wellspring Women's Center

Wellspring Women's Center is a nondenominational, nonprofit organization founded in 1987 by two sisters of Social Service with the mission to nurture the innate goodness and personal self esteem of women and their children, and to do so within an atmosphere of hospitality with dignity and love. Wellspring started from humble beginnings and has grown to become a trusted neighborhood gathering place that reduces isolation and loneliness.

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Address: PO Box 5728
Sacramento , CA 95817
County or Parish: Sacramento
Primary NTEE: Human Services 
Sub NTEE: Human Services 
Executive Director: Genelle Smith, LCSW, MSW
Contact Email: jodi@wellspringwomen.org
Primary Phone: 916-454-9688 x205
Fax: 916-739-1178
Website: http://www.wellspringwomen.org
Wellspring Women's Center is the realization of a dream from two social workers who regularly saw the common effects of poverty on women - isolation and a lack of basic self-esteem. They created a drop-in center in the Oak Park community of Sacramento where low-income women might be helped to recognize and accept their innate goodness and dignity. Wellspring is a small but formidable force in the Oak Park community, where there is a disproportionately high crime rate and poverty level. Less than half of residents own their own home, while approximately 75% receive some kind of public assistance. Two out of every five households are headed by a single parent. Our drop-in center provides respite and services based on 'hospitality with dignity and love.' At the core of this mission is the philosophy that regardless of status or reason for coming, all women and their children are welcome. There are no eligibility requirements. To ensure this, Wellspring does not seek much government funding that might impose restrictions, but instead depends on financial and in-kind donations from individuals, businesses, foundations, schools, churches and service groups.
We serve nearly 200 women and children each weekday. We receive very little government funding and rely on the donations of individuals, community and service groups, foundations, corporations and local businesses. A donation of $15 provides yogurt for all of our meals for one day. A donation of $25 provides milk for one day at our center or a backpack and school supplies for one of our students. A donation of $50 provides three hours of group counseling or one layette filled with baby items for a new mom. A donation of $100 feeds our guests oatmeal and cereal for a week or provides five hours of counseling. A donation of $125 provides fresh produce for our healthy meals for one week. Items requested for safety net services programming help with tangible needs and support our goal of 'services based on hospitality with dignity and love.' These items include but are not limited to: Feminine hygiene products (pads, tampons and incontinence pads), travel size toiletries (soap, hand sanitizer, lotion, shampoo/conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, small tissue packets, and razors) are items which we provide to guests as available. Food items including low-sugar hot and cold cereals, coffee and tea, and canned beans, vegetables, and fruit, real butter, milk, salad dressing, peanut butter, and jam. We also need paper towels, metal forks and spoons, toilet paper, Kleenex, sandwich bags, brown paper lunch bags, and paper cups and plates. Gift cards are very useful for Wellspring, to art supply stores such as Blick Art Supplies, JoAnn, Michael's, UBeadit, and more. Art supplies are used during expressive art therapy workshops. Other art needs include canvases, watercolor paints, oil and chalk pastels, yarn, scissors, and garment fabric. Diapers, especially sizes 4, 5, and 6 are an ongoing need for our smallest guests. (WIC/SNAP assistance disallows the purchase of diapers/wipes as they are non-food items) as well as baby wipes, baby wash/lotion/shampoo, baby blankets, bottles, and formula like Similac and Infamil. We also give away things like umbrellas and ponchos, warm socks, underwear, gloves, gas cards, bus passes, and grocery gift cards to those that are in urgent need.
Our top needs:
  1. Funding: Unrestricted - We need unrestricted funding to cover the cost of all programming, administrative costs, and to keep the center running year over year.
  2. Funding: Program - Our biggest program need is Women's Wellness which houses all of our counseling, case management, health and wellness, art therapy, transportation, education, and other programs. It makes up for nearly 1/4 of our overall budget.
  3. In-Kind Donations - Please refer to our needs statement for a complete list of our needs. Most of the tangible items given to the community we serve are due to in-kind donations.
  4. Board Members - We are always looking for new board members who know the Oak Park community and understand the needs of our guests. We strongly encourage and seek diversity among our board members.
  5. Volunteers - We function because of our 75+ volunteers. We always need and count on volunteers. Currently, the Children's Corner Program is in need and we are building a Gratitude Commission to work with the current donors and volunteers.
Each weekday morning it is a blessing and my privilege to welcome hundreds of women and children as they enter Wellspring, located in the heart of Sacramento's Oak Park neighborhood. Notable for its colorful interior, bustling and hospitable environment, we've offered tangible, free, timely and practical services to people in need of care, compassion and community since 1987. Wellspring welcomes and serves every woman and child who seeks help here. We are able to do so with the support of individuals, companies, foundations and community organizations which donate time, talent and treasure to make our programs possible. We refer to those participating in services as "guests" to indicate the free-will involvement, as well as to underline and emphasize that they are individuals worthy of dignity and respect. When asked why she came here, one of our guests replied "When you come here, you forget that you're a - what do you call it? There's the haves and the have nots - the people who have things and the people who don't - the people who are successful and the people who aren't. But when you come here, you don't have that status. You're a have. You are a somebody - and people talk to you like you're normal. No one talks down to you. I'm circled in love when I'm here!" I'm often asked what success looks like here. If one person each day knows that she or he is loved, that is success! I'm also often asked what happens here. Services include counseling, expressive art therapy, arts and crafts workshops (glass fusion, wire working, ceramics), nourishing breakfasts and lunches, safety net provisions (children's and adult diapers, bus passes, hygiene kits, new baby products, and feminine hygiene products), children's enrichment activities (culturally competent reading and arts and crafts) in our Children's Corner Program, case management and referrals, health screenings, healthcare clinic, hair cuts, chiropractic care, Zumba and community dance, parenting classes, bilingual services, and so much more. Hope is shared among the community of people who gather here. It is amazing to see our guests support one another through their open sharing of life's trials and triumphs.

Genelle Smith, LCSW, MSW,
Executive Director

"When I first walked in, these people did not judge me by the way I looked, dressed or by my situation," Pam, a Wellspring guest said. "They accepted me as I was. They've helped me with housing. They've helped me feel better. I will come cry on their shoulder. They don't have to be concerned about my situation, but they are. They don't have to care about us, but they do. When you come in here, you feel their love."